‘Smash and go’ gang hits Braamfontein

A gang of men have been involved in a number of “snatch and goes” in Braamfontein’s Bertha and De Korte streets over the past two weeks.

Wits Security and Liaisons manager, Lucky Khumela said he is aware of a “gang of men” in the area who are attempting “snatch and goes” on vulnerable targets.

“We have seen a rise of this type of crime where the opportunists will either distract the person and pick-pocket them or just snatch their visible valuables.”

The most recent attack was on Sunday morning when a male non-student was robbed by two men.

“They stole his wallet and cell phone. Our security was informed and subsequently SAPS was called,” Khumela said.

This followed other attacks, the first of which was on August 15 when a a female Witsie was approached from behind by a man t while outside the KFC on De Korte street .

“It was broad daylight. The man snatched my phone from my hands and jumped into a car that had a group of men in it who just drove away,” the woman told Wits Vuvuzela.

Last Saturday, a Wits student’s phone was snatched from her by “a guy who then got into his car that was parked nearby and drove off”.

On Monday, Wits Vuvuzela was approached about attempted car thefts on Bertha street by a security guard who asked to remain anonymous.

The security guard said there was a gang who keep trying to break into cars and steal them while parked in the area next to the Wits Art Museum.

“I tell people who park there to tell the guard to watch their cars and to give him pansela. There have been so many attempted break in’s. These men keep trying to steal the cars and nothing is being done to stop them.”

Khumela said this was the first he had heard of this problem but insisted Campus Control would get to the “bottom of it”.


An accident waiting to happen

The accident hot spot at the intersection of De Korte and Bertha streets has been the site of a second car crash in  one week.

At around 7pm last Sunday, a Wits student and three of his friends were driving through Braamfontein when their car was hit by a vehicle that had allegedly run a red robot.

Titus Masike, 3rd year Nuclear Sciences and Engineering, stood blank-faced on an island in the middle of Bertha Street as he looked at the dented silver Mercedes Benz that had been spun across to the side of the road.

The car he was driving belonged to his mother.

Masike and a friend had fetched  two female friends  from a hair salon in Braamfontein and were making their way back to their apartment in Milpark when the crash happened.

Masike’s friend in the front passenger seat, a Public Relations and Communications student at Rosebank College, said he did not even see the other car approaching.

ACCIDENT ZONE: Firefighters inspect the damage to a Ford Fiesta involved in the crash.           Photo: Dineo Bendile

ACCIDENT ZONE: Firefighters inspect the damage to a Ford Fiesta involved in the crash.
Photo: Dineo Bendile

He vaguely attempted to piece together the events of the crash: “We were just driving normally and we just heard a bang and the car was spinning. It’s weird, it’s hard to … , it’s just weird,” he said, shaking his head.

The students were travelling down De Korte Street when a grey Ford Focus travelling down Bertha Street allegedly ran a red robot and crashed into the driver’s side of their car.

The young nurse who was driving the other car appeared unharmed as she paced around her wrecked car.

On the opposite side of the road, one of Masike’s female passengers sat on the curb, running her hands through her hair and covering her face while being comforted by
her friend.

Nobody in either car was injured.

A metro police officer, who did not want to be identified, said accidents at the intersection were common, particularly on weekends.

“On Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights this intersection is dangerous. Female drivers in particular do not stop at the traffic light because they say they don’t feel safe at night,” he said.

In the previous crash, on July 16, a Luthuli House blue-light vehicle crashed into a government vehicle.  Onlookers stated that the accident was also caused by one driver’s failure to stop at a red robot.

The Mercedes Benz Masike and his friends were in.      Photo: Dineo Bendile

The Mercedes Benz Masike and his friends were in.
Photo: Dineo Bendile