A crazy scene of abduction and endangerment was reported by prominent estate agent Ms Liz Charles of Vaaloewer,
Her partner Mr Gallie van Rensburg lodged charges of abduction and endangerment with Police following the incident.
Ms Charles reports that she was recently telephoned at about 10:00 by someone who told her a municipal bakkie was removing everyoneΓÇÖs commercial signboards at Vaaloewer.
“Gallie and I rushed there to try to salvage our boards,” reports Ms Charles, “and as we arrived there I called Martin (of Vaaloewer Eiendomme) to ask him to try help us find the bakkie”.
They came upon a municipal bakkie and asked the driver and his female passenger if they had seen speedcops removinbg their boards, which the driver denied.
“So we asked him to try to contact them, which he did without success. Gallie suggested we go to higher ground where (cell phone) reception was better and when we stopped there Martin went behind the van.
“Only when we got out of the cars did we see a whole pile of boards in the back of the bakkie including ours – others included Martins, Pam Golding and Cas Aucamp.
Van Rensburg and Martin asked the driver why he was removing the boards. He only said the boards had already been in the bakkie when he took it that morning.
“Well,” says Ms Charles, “Gallie wanted to see how many of our boards were in the bakkie so we walked around to the back and opened the door. Gallie climbed inside to look.
“Suddenly this driver took off like a maniac with Gallie in the back and the door swinging open. Myself and Martin were so shocked; it all happened so suddenly. I could not leave the car, as Gallie had the keys so I couldnΓÇÖt lock and GallieΓÇÖs phone was with me; he had no way of contacting me. Martin rushed off after them.”
The municipal driver raced through the boom at Vaaloewer and hared at full speed over a high-speed bump. The guard saw the oncoming vehicle and just managed to open the boom in time.
The driver of the bakkie drove all the way to the Vanderbijlpark municipal offices – very fast and never stopping. Mr Van Rensburg at no time had a chance to leap out of the back.
From Vaaloewer to Vanderbijlpark, he was thrown around the back trying desperately to hold the door closed for fear of falling out. The boards were sliding all over and there was nowhere to hold on inside the canopy.
When the bakkie went over the Vaaloewer speedbump Mr Van Rensburg was thrown against the ceiling and extgensively bruised his neck and back.
In Vanderbijlpark Van Rensburg took the driver to his superior and was told the boards were removed because the annual fee had not been paid; however, Ms Charles says some agencies had paid their fees, and their boards were also removed. The driver was removing all the boards, irrespective, she maintains.
When confronted with the driver’s behaviour, the superior simply shrugged his shoulders and apologised on behalf of the municipality.
“We feel that further steps should be taken against this driver who in effect kidnapped Gallie and put his life in terrible danger by driving recklessly and disobeying all the traffic rules,” says Ms Charles.
* Says Ms Charles, “We wonder, is it possible:
– that the passenger was illegally in the vehicle causing the driver to panic?
– that Emfuleni has a grudge against Vaaloewer since the Rates Debacle as we recently lost 24 boards in a short time.
– that the boards are taken away for the value of the frames, since where boards were erected on old steel, the boards were ripped off, and the steel left. The boards in nice frames were removed.
* We have also noticed that the Traffic and Local Economic Development – with regard to by-laws – are both taking away agents’ boards and trailers, but donΓÇÖt seem to communicate among themselves. Neither department seems to know where the boards are taken. We intend to take the matter further.
News source: Mooivaal Media – Vaalweekblad