Ricochet News

Thieves target drivers at stop-and-go's between PE and East London

May 3, 2018
Thieves target drivers at stop-and-go's between PE and East London

Truck drivers waiting at a stop-and-go on the R72 where the South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (SANRAL) is conducting roadworks, have lately been targeted by thieves.

Speaking to RNEWS, Alroy Kietzmann, who owns and operates a leading Port Elizabeth-based logisitics company, Transport 2000, said in the past two weeks, they have had the tarpaulins on their trucks slashed by the thieves. 

"We have had two actual incidents where our trucks were damaged, but there have been numerous reports by our drivers of their attempts to steal from our vehicles.  Our trucks have sometimes managed to pull away from the scene, and in so doing, avoid being cut," he described.

Still, in some instances, the robbers have managed to flee with goods.

Kietzmann said that most of the theft of their customers' stock off of the trucks, has taken place whilst their drivers are at the stop-and-go along a section on R72 between Wesley and Hamberg turnoff.

"It is difficult to determine [the value of the stolen stock] at this stage, but damage to our vehicles alone runs into thousands as we have to repair the tarpaulins even when no stock has been removed from the truck," he told RNEWS.

"The robbers slash the tarpaulins to see what is in the truck first, and if its not something they want they leave it, but the tarpaulins are still obviously damaged, and need to be repaired before returning to Port Elizabeth. 

Kietzmann said that according to a representative from The Tarpaulin Factory in East London, numerous transporters have also been to them over the last few weeks to have their tarpaulins repaired after similar incidents at that same stop/go control.

He said that the incidents have impacted negatively on their operations.

"We have to repair the tarpaulin, and account for loss of customers stock which impacts us financially," he described.

"We fear for the safety of our drivers as the robbers are armed with knives and pangas and are dangerous."

Kietzmann added; "We have been in contact with the site manager of Haw & Inglis (the costruction company who has set up the stop/go) and he has told us that they have been in contact with SAPS to step up patrols, however according to our drivers there is absolutely no police presence on site. 

"We feel that motorists, who use this route should be warned as their safety may be at risk due to these attacks."

RNEWS was yet to get comment from SANRAL and the SAPS over the incidents - and could not independently establish if this is happening at other stop-and-go's in the province.