Londiwe Xulu
journalist
3 minute read
23 May 2022
06:03

Warning issued after students robbed by e-hailing drivers in Pietermaritzburg

Londiwe Xulu

The police and security companies in Pietermaritzburg have warned residents to be vigilant when using e-hailing services.

The police and security companies in Pietermaritzburg have warned residents to be vigilant when using e-hailing services. This follows a number of robberies in and around the city that involved cars used by criminals masquerading as e-hailing cab drivers.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson, Sergeant Sifiso Gwala said police are aware of robberies involving a Toyota Corolla and an Etios. He said police are investigating two separate incidents in Scottsville where laptops and cellphones were taken. In one of the incidents a student was shot in the leg.

Gwala stressed they cannot confirm if the drivers were involved in these robberies. He said, based on the statements they received from victims, a white Corolla or white Etios was involved. He warned residents to ensure the cars that pick them up are the ones registered on the app and have number plates.

“If they feel unsafe, they should not use that car,” said Gwala. He added that residents should report suspicious vehicles to the police.

Radley Govender of the RZS Protection Security Services said a lot of robberies that have occurred in the city involved cars that were registered as e-hailing service providers. He added people were also robbed on the streets by people using these cars.

“Student residents are mostly targeted, especially in Scottsville. One of the suspects is armed,” said Govender. He added their security guards were vigilant and on the lookout for suspicious cars.

“I refused to get inside the car and wanted to cancel the ride. They pointed a firearms at me — threatening me to get inside the car. I was lucky because about two cars drove past and distracted them so I managed to run back to the house.”
UKZN student

Another security officer, who asked not to be named, said there were different groups involved in these robberies, with students targeted for their smart phones and laptops.

A student, who asked not to be named, said he requested a ride from one of the e-hailing services and it arrived with two people inside.

“I refused to get inside the car and wanted to cancel the ride. They pointed a firearm at me — threatening me to get inside the car. I was lucky because about two cars drove past and distracted them so I managed to run back to the house,” said the student.

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He added there had been a number of students robbed and they were now scared of using suspicious cars. Attempts to get comments from the e-hailing service companies were unsuccessful.

A Bolt driver, who operates in Pietermaritzburg, said they were aware of people using the app to commit crime. “These people are creating a bad name for us and it’s sad because this is our job that helps us feed our families.

“We hope the police will find them and that they will be arrested before they cause any more harm to the industry,” he said.