A Westridge man had to watch in horror from the side of the road as hijackers drove away in his blue Citi Golf, which he had owned for 19 years.
“I survived the attack with no injuries but all I was worried about was my car,” said John Cloete, 57.
Mr Cloete was on his way to work on Friday April 28 at 6am when three men cornered him on Jakes Gerwel Drive.
“I was on my way to work when I realised two men were on my side with a knife and hammer and the third man got inside my car. The three of them took me out. I had to stand on the pavement and watch how they drove my car away,” he said, adding that he was in complete shock.
He walked home after the hijacking and his wife called their daughter who took him to Lentegeur SAPS to open a case.
Mr Cloete’s daughter also put a post about his ordeal on social media and a community leader in Isiqalo informal settlement, off Jakes Gerwel Drive, recognised the car and contacted the family to say it had been abandoned in the informal settlement.
When he went to retrieve the car on Saturday April 29, he found it stripped of the bumper, radio and spare wheel. It has since been impounded by police and Mr Cloete has had to borrow a car to get around in the interim.
“I would like police visibility to increase at this hot spot. As I was standing there I saw many women driving alone. I tried getting help from them but they wouldn’t stop,” he said.
Althea de Wet, 27, from Strand, said her belongings were stolen in a smash-and-grab at the robot on the corner of Jakes Gerwel Drive and the R300 in the early evening of Monday April 24.
“I left my cousin’s place in Rocklands. Out of nowhere, two men with guns banged on both sides of my windows. My body went into shock. I didn’t see their faces. One man broke my window on the passenger side. I opened my driver’s door and the other man pushed himself over me to check for valuables,” she said.
“He could see nothing valuable but spotted the string of my phone cover, pulled at it and took it. I shouted, ‘Jesus’ as he was trying to take my car keys out of the ignition. The robot changed to green and they ran into the informal settlement, Isiqalo, on Jakes Gerwel Drive,” she said.
She was still in shock as she drove off, she said, and drivers hooted at her as they passed.
“A man flashed his lights at me to signal to pull over. I hesitantly pulled over. He asked if I was okay and reported it on the crime groups.
“I am so aware when I’m at a robot. There was roadworks that day, so it was tough to even get out of that situation. We need more police visibility and response times via the camera to get help. It’s not nice for females, for people, and it’s not safe,” she said.
The Colorado Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association (CRRA) say there have been a spike in hijackings over the past few weeks and they have called for more police visibility in Jakes Gerwel Drive.
Jenny Daniels, vice-chairperson of CRRA, said they made their demands known to Mitchell’s Plain SAPS, Philippi SAPS, Law Enforcement, and the City of Cape Town to place vans on either side of the road on the corner of Jakes Gerwel Drive and Highlands Drive.
“This past two weeks we experienced several hijackings, including smash-and-grabs,” said Ms Daniels. “At times the Law Enforcement vehicles will be there for a few minutes and then leave. They’re not treating this seriously. So far no one has been hurt. We’ve been on the scenes with these cases”
A handful of residents from Colorado Park took to the streets and held a placard demonstration on Monday May 1 to raise awareness around the hijackings.
Ward 76 councillor Joan Woodman said she’s made requests for more visibility in Jakes Gerwel Drive which was put in place as from Tuesday May 2.
“I’ve met with some of the residents at one of the hot spots. We’re meeting with the sub-forum and safety structures where the residents will be able to raise their concerns.”
Ms Woodman said the meeting will take place on Thursday May 25 at the Colorado Community Centre, at 7pm.
Lentegeur SAPS spokesperson, Constable Felicia Adams, confirmed that there has been a spike in hijackings in the Colorado Park vicinity and said no arrests have been made.
“The area of Colorado Park has seen a spike in hijacking. e-hailing drivers are booked, and on arrival they’re robbed and have their vehicles taken as well,” she said, adding that the hot spots are Jakes Gerwel Drive and Mandalay.
She said sometimes the attack is so quick, victims cannot give a description of the perpetrators but during one hijacking, on Monday April 10, at 5.30am, a man was able to get a look at his attackers.
The man was sitting in his silver Toyota Avanza when he was blocked off by a bakkie.
Four armed men got out of the bakkie and ordered him to get out of his car. The men then got into the car and drove off.
The station has issued two identikits of the suspected hijackers.
“Cars are targeted in traffic peak hours in the morning between 5.30am, 8am, as well as 5pm, 8pm and 12am. Residents should take caution when approaching any intersection or when stuck in peak hour traffic in Jakes Gerwel Drive, as part of the road is under construction that may cause traffic delays,” Constable Adams said.
- In another unrelated matter, an identikit was compiled of a suspect sought in an armed robbery case, which occurred on Tuesday April 11, at 4pm, in Bond Street, Colorado Park.
Constable Adams said a man was approached by two armed men who robbed him of his cellphone, wallet and a wi-fi router.
The men got into an unmarked vehicle and drove off.
“Don’t leave any valuables in plain sight of anybody that can see into your vehicle.
“Keep a safe distance between the vehicles in front of you, and be vigilant of your surroundings,” she said.