The bandits who maim and rob unsuspecting motorists on Gauteng freeways have intensified their reign of terror, and are said to operate in two groups: an advance team that lays spikes on the road and the other that commits crime after the incident.

Amid rising cases, provincial traffic officials have warned motorists that the criminal gangs have become more daring and now even drop sharp objects from overhead bridges at night over the weekends.

This comes as frightened motorists began creating and circulating voice clips to warn each other of the continued criminal trend.

On one clip circulating in Tshwane, a man is heard informing motorists that these criminals travel in two groups.

He said one group would throw the spikes down when a car was about 300m away, and the other would wait 100m down the road to carry out the robbery.

Warning motorists to be vigilant, Gauteng Traffic Police spokesperson Sello Maremane confirmed that the police had, in recent times, noted a rise in incidents of the spikes placed strategically on freeways.

He said these people would also stand on bridges and throw rocks on windscreens or simply hang rocks from above and have a car smash against it.

Maremane said: “Hard objects were in recent times thrown from overhead bridges resulting in motorists losing control of their vehicles, being involved in unnecessary accidents and being robbed of their belongings in the process.”

The police identified several hot spots, some in Tshwane, including the N4 from Mpumalanga to Pretoria between Solomon Mahlangu and Watermeyer off-ramp; the N4 Pretoria to Mpumalanga between Bronkhorstspruit and Balmoral off-ramp; the N1 to Polokwane; and the N4 to Mpumalanga interchange in Pretoria.

These also include the N4 to Rustenburg between the R80 Mabopane Freeway and Brits Plaza tollgate; Golden Highway; and the R21 Freeway from OR Tambo International Airport to Pretoria. Maremane said the modus operandi was that these criminals moved from one area to another where the roads are quiet, “… to rob motorists of their hard-earned cash and other belongings”.

These incidents happen especially on Friday evenings and throughout the weekend, between 6pm and 4am.

Said Maremane: “Never stop your vehicle if you have a puncture while spiked, instead drive slowly to the nearest garage while contacting Gauteng Traffic Police.

If you are stopped by a traffic officer, demand to see their appointment certificate to verify if such an officer is employed by the relevant traffic authority. In case the officer fails to produce his or her appointment certificate,
take down the registration number of the patrol vehicle and report them immediately to the nearest police station.

If your vehicle has had a breakdown, remain in the vehicle with your car locked while seeking assistance.

Do not allow any person to tow your vehicle without written permission.

Motorists were urged to report any suspicious movements at 011 689 3712 or 011 689 3999 or alternatively contact the police at 0800 10111.

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