Nabbed rock-thrower implicates tow truck business people

Durban – Vigilant members of the public have arrested a rock-thrower after witnessing him throwing stones onto passing cars in Amanzimtoti, south of Durban, on Wednesday.

A source who witnessed the arrest spoke to KZNWATCH on condition of anonymity, confirmed the incident.

“The man was spotted throwing stones onto passing cars from the bridge. He was chased down and subdued on the Almond Road Bridge‚ which runs over the N2 freeway‚” the source said.

“Asked why he was doing it, the man said he was just trying to make some money, which prompted the men to interrogate him further.

“When the interrogators pressed on the man said a local tow truck driver promised to pay him R100 if he could cause a crash and subsequently create an opportunity for him,” the source added.

The men, however, failed to get the suspect to divulge the name of the tow truck driver.

“He said that the man told him that if his name came up in any investigation he would kill him.”

According to the source the suspect was taken to Amanzimtoti Saps, however police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbhele could not be reached for comment at the time of publishing.

The apprehension comes after police on Tuesday said they believe there may be a third force behind the rock-throwing incidents, Daily News reported on Wednesday.

Speaking at a multidisciplinary law enforcement meeting on Tuesday, Outer North Cluster head, Major-General Lucas Ngobeni, said the rock-throwing incidents appeared to be organised.

“The people behind these incidents have planned to kill others. I know that our MEC for Community Safety and Liaison is leading a campaign against rock-throwing incidents.

Ngobeni said the idea was to gain the trust of the community around the bridges and work with them to weed out the criminal elements and get information about those behind the rock-throwing scourge.

He said: “Our investigation seems to suggest that these incidents could be orchestrated by certain business operators.

“We want to engage with them and find a way to end these incidents. We know that they know about our efforts and they have moved to other areas,” he said.

He said sub-forums would be established to educate communities near the bridges about the incidents.

Umesh Singh, eThekwini Outer North Cluster Community Police chairperson, said they had found that the incidents started in oThongathi and spread to other areas.

“As the community, in partnership with police, we are trying to create awareness and advise motorists about the issues. We are educating them about what precautions to take when approaching bridges.

“We are also looking at other ways of protecting those who use these roads. We want to get as much assistance from the neighbouring communities and we want to go out and get the perpetrators so the law can take its course,” he said.

Ward councillor Geoff Pullan was present at the meeting and had appealed to Tongaat Hulett, the company whose crops border either side of the bridge, to monitor who walks on it.

“In both directions, there are only informal settlements much further on. So someone who came to throw those rocks could only have come to do so deliberately,” he said.

Ngobeni said patrols would continue along bridges identified as hot spots.

Meanwhile, plans were still in place to erect steel cages and surveillance cameras on bridges in affected areas, said deputy mayor Fawzia Peer.

“This cannot be done overnight as normal council processes will have to take place and this will also depend on funding,” Peer said.

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