Highway robbers hit the red light
Western Cape authorities revealed a bold plan yesterday to curb crime on the N2 as official figures show serious incidents such as murder, hijacking and robbery have increased along the city's busiest highway. In the past five months, 48 serious crime incidents have been recorded on the notorious section between Jakes Gerwel [formerly Vanguard] Drive and Macassar."We are talking about serious crime incidents [like] murders, attempted murders, robberies. and then protests," Robbie Roberts, Cape Town's director of law enforcement, told a news conference.One of the most shocking incidents was the murder last month of 50-year-old Warrant Officer Petrus Johannes Holz, who was stabbed after hitting "man-made debris" and being forced to stop.Two men have been arrested.The police, Western Cape government, South African National Roads Agency (Sanral), Airports Company South Africa and community groups are behind the campaign, which is similar to one that ran a decade ago when crime flared on the N2.Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato said a priority committee recently formed by the government stakeholders had already resulted in a reduction in crime on the highway.The plan calls for the increased visibility of metro police and SAPS along the route . To speed up their response they receive instructions from the Transport Management Centre in Goodwood, which monitors cameras on the N2.Police will also have broken-down cars towed quickly to avoid gridlock, while motorists who run out of fuel, possibly causing traffic jams, will be fined.Sanral's Randall Cable said that over the past five years there had been more than 10 500 crashes on Cape Town's busiest highways, 528 involving pedestrians and 44% resulting in death.Sanral spent about R250 000 a month to fix vandalised fences, while thieves also targeted street lights . The 19km of the N2 between Jakes Gerwel Drive and Macassar were lit, and " we still plan to put street lights on the last 7km ".