Cape Times

City cyclists attacked with pangas

- OKUHLE HLATI okhule.hlati@inl.co.za

A PEPPER ball pistol saved a Durbanvill­e couple from three knifewield­ing men also armed with pangas who attacked them while cycling.

Dr Neil van Tonder and his wife, Belinda, were riding along Waarburg Road, Joostenber­g, near Kraaifonte­in, on Sunday morning and were due to return home to enjoy a Father's Day lunch when they were accosted.

While Van Tonder, 57, an occupation­al medical health practition­er, escaped unharmed, his wife fractured her right elbow.

“It was about 9.30am and my wife was riding in front of me when a man just walked right towards her. She tried to go around him but he hit the bike which knocked her off and she fell. The guy searched my wife's pockets and took her cellphone.”

Van Tonder said that as he rode towards Belinda to intervene, two more men came rushing towards him and one took out a panga from under his jacket.

“He swung it in full force, with intentions of striking me in the neck, but I managed to avoid the blow because at that stage I was nearly stationary. When the guy missed me he fell down because of the body force while swinging the heavy blade.

“This gave me a chance to quickly retrieve a pepper ball launcher from my pocket. They thought it was a firearm and fled,” said Van Tonder.

“Seeing that their intention was to harm us, I did not want to use the pistol, because it releases pepper spray balls and they would have known it's not a real gun. The worst part is that about five motorists just passed by without assisting us at the scene.”

A few minutes after the men fled, a good Samaritan stopped and called an ambulance. “That road is frequently used by other cyclists and we'd never heard of anyone being attacked. My wife had to undergo two surgeries because some of the bones in her elbow were sticking out through the skin,” said Van Tonder.

Police were investigat­ing, but suspects were yet to be arrested.

 ??  ?? DR NEIL van Tonder and his wife, Belinda.
DR NEIL van Tonder and his wife, Belinda.

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