News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Friday December 15th 2017

Cars stoned, road barricaded after Philippi hit-and-run

Sandiso Phaliso

Debri from a blockade on Sheffield Road in Philippi remained an obstacle for motorists on Monday morning. Residents blockaded the road and stoned cars after a teenage girl was injured in a hit-and-run accident on Sunday night. Photo: Sandiso Phaliso/WCNEnraged Philippi residents barricaded a busy road with tyres, cement blocks and rubbish, and threw stones at passing cars, following another hit-and-run early on Sunday evening.

Residents said a ‘cockroach’ taxi had sped off after knocking down a teenage girl who had been walking with friends on the pavement, making this the third such incident in eight days.

The unrest escalated with residents of both Never-Never and Phola Park informal settlements joining the action on Sunday night, saying they were fed up with the number of hit-and-runs that occurred on Sheffield Road.

Motorists were forced to use alternative routes, while cars caught in the barricade were attacked with stones.

One motorist, whose windscreen was smashed, pulled a gun and fired shots, though no one was hit.

Police avoided entering the fray and approached on foot between shacks and opened fire with rubber bullets to disburse the irate crowd.

Phola Park resident, Nomfusi Mkhonto, 34, said she had been about to cross Sheffield Road when she heard loud screams calling for the taxi driver to stop following a collision.

“I saw the Iphela (‘cockroach’ taxi) speeding and people started throwing stones behind it, but it was too late because the taxi had already gone,” said Mkhonto.

She said the taxi had stopped briefly after hitting the girl, but when bystanders approached to question the driver why he had driven on the pavement, he had raced off.

She said the residents had initially started throwing stones at cars to get one to stop to take the girl to hospital, but none had pulled over, which escalated the violence.

“People gathered on the scene of the accident and to show their anger they decided to throw stones at every passing motor. If the driver had stopped and taken the teenager to hospital, this would not have happened. People took their frustration out on other cars,” said Mkhonto.

Never-Never resident, Simphiwe Mbovane, (25) said the teenage girl was walking on the pavement with two of her friends when the taxi hit her.

Mbovane said despite this being the third hit-and-run in the last week, cars still sped.

“We want speed humps and road signs before the cars hit us all. The hitting of the cars was a demonstration that speed on a busy road is not tolerated,” said Mbovane.

Philippi East police station spokesperson Nondumiso Paul had not responded by the time of going to press.

City of Cape Town spokesperson Charles Cooper condemned both the residents for barricading the road and the motorists for speeding.

He said speed humps were not the solution as Sheffield is a major road, and that would create major disadvantages such as slowing police, ambulances and fire trucks during emergencies.

“Instead, traffic lights for pedestrians, an intersection erected, speeding cameras, visible traffic policing and traffic signs could be placed,” he said.

He said if the community felt something needed to be done they should approach their ward councillor “for investigations on what could be done”.

“Resorting to violence is a punishable offence. Parents must look after their children at all times and start teaching them about road rules.

“Motorists must drive very carefully, slow down in areas where there are houses nearby, drive defensively and be extra cautious,” said Cooper.

The teenaged girl, who has not been named, was reported to be in a stable condition in hospital with a broken leg. – West Cape News

Tags: philippi, phola park

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