Recent attacks on motorists on the N2 have left motorists who use the road regularly fearing for their lives. Helderberg Crime Watch is calling the road “Hell Run N2” on social media.
“The N2 has long been the cause of fear and sorrow. But over the past few months, criminal activity and protests have escalated at an alarming rate, especially in the Helderberg area. Every second or third day you hear of the stoning of vehicles on the N2; every third weekend the road must be closed due to protesting,” said George Kruger, a member of the group.
“Last weekend we had a murder on the N2, where a motorist was shot five times and stabbed with a knife. Not even 24 hours after that, chaos once again erupted with the stoning and petrol-bombing of vehicles.”
Kruger said It had become necessary to continually warn the community of Helderberg and road users to be vigilant.
“Members of my family have to use this road from Monday to Friday every week to take and fetch their children from school.
“It’s nerve-racking as you wait in fear to hear if they are safe at school or back home after school.”
He believes patrolling the N2 would not help on its own as criminals leave when police patrol and then re-emerge.
Following attacks on motorists, Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz called a meeting on Thursday, which was attended by Western Cape traffic chief Kenny Africa, councillors from political parties, SAPS officials, Department of Community Safety officials, neighbourhood watch volunteers, members of community policing forums, staff of security firms, mediation co-ordinators, and members of homeowners’ associations.
“It was reported that vehicles were stoned, resulting in the injury of two drivers, who were taken to hospital. It was further reported that a petrol bomb was thrown at a car, causing injury. This resulted in the N2 being closed at Broadlands Avenue and Onverwacht Street and at Sir Lowry’s Pass,” said Fritz.
“Amongst the agenda items was a situation report by the Khayelitsha deputy cluster commander and a discussion around mediation as a tool to overcome civil unrest. In the short term, Mr Africa’s office has committed to arrange patrols with law enforcement, including the SAPS, metro police and private security to ensure 24/7 surveillance.
“I call on members of the community to support them in their efforts by reporting any related crime along the N2 to the provincial traffic hotline.”
A suggested medium-term solution was the creation of community safety forums (CSFs) made up of government officials, community safety organisations, and members of neighbourhood watches.
“We have previously seen the successful establishment of CSFs in the Overberg, namely in Grabouw, Hermanus and Botrivier. CSFs will ensure that appointees are trained as first responders and mediators to help defuse potential unrest and protests,” said Fritz.
Some at the meeting said a “critical look at land reform” should be undertaken as part of a long-term strategy.
A meeting will be held on Saturday at which the formation of CSFs in Somerset West and surrounding communities will be discussed.
Mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said criminals operating on the N2 were not being apprehended.
Between July 29 and August 4 metro police officers had assisted 54 motorists who had experienced mechanical breakdowns.
“We renew our appeal to motorists to ensure that their vehicles are roadworthy and that they have enough fuel to get to their destination.
“It’s also important to keep a spare wheel, water, as well as also oil in the vehicle, as these are the most common reasons cited for breakdowns.
“Furthermore, we remind motorists to save the number for the city’s public emergency communication centre on their cellphones, so that they can call for help in the event of a breakdown or an emergency,” he said.