Tow truck ‘link’ to rock throwing
April 22 2018
DURBAN metro police suspect two tow-truck operators in Durban have paid desperate people to throw rocks off bridges to cause accidents.
- First published in Sunday Tribune
This was disclosed by Durban Metro police spokesman Parboo Sewpersad following a “rock-throwing committee” meeting involving the SAPS.
The Natal Tow Truck Association is also probing allegations that shady operators in the Kokstad area have in the past filled condoms with oil and thrown them on to roads to cause accidents.
The chairperson of the association, Shane Landers, said while no witnesses had provided any concrete evidence, it was important that the allegations were investigated.
He said he was aware of allegations levelled against two Durban operators ( names known to the Sunday Tribune) allegedly connected to rock-throwing incidents.
Landers called on members of the association to support the police in getting to the bottom of these allegations.
“Dodgy operators are giving the industry a bad name,” said Landers.
Recently, the rock-throwing phenomenon has become a huge issue in Durban, sparking interventions involving the South African National Roads Agency, the Road Traffic Inspectorate, Metro Police and the eThekwini Municipality.
The municipality now deploys people to monitor activity at specific bridges and the SAPS has introduced more regular patrols in areas where rock-throwing remains a threat.
The SAPS and Metro Police have also been holding “rock-throwing committee meetings”.
At one of the latest meetings, a decision was taken that tow-truck operators would no longer be allowed to be stationed under bridges or on nearby pavements.
This followed witnesses alleging two tow-truck operators had paid suspects to throw rocks from some bridges, said Sewpersad.
Deputy mayor Fawzia Peer has urged members of the public to report rock-throwing incidents.
Meanwhile, alleged serial rock-thrower, Nkosinathi Mthalane, 27, is to be sent for psychiatric assessment.
This was ordered by the Durban Magistrate’s Court, where he faces six counts of attempted murder related to three rock-throwing incidents.
When Mthalane appeared in court on Thursday, his recently appointed Legal Aid attorney, Ashika Ramdalary, told the court the accused would not speak to her or an interpreter assigned to assist her.
“This makes it difficult for me to proceed with the case,” Ramdalary told magistrate Sophie Reddy, who then asked Mthalane whether he had been on any medication or seen a
doctor about his mental state.
“Cha (no),” responded Mthalane.
The case was postponed to May 3 for a psychiatric examination to take place. – Nabeelah Shaik and Bukeka Silekwa
- Nabeelah Shaik is a Sunday Tribune reporter. Bukeka Silekwa is a Rosebank College journalism graduate enrolled for training with Roving Reporters in association with the Sunday Tribune.