Road spiking in Gauteng: ‘Do not remain seated in your car, they will rob you’

The Motor Industry Staff Association (Misa) has raised the alarm over rampant cases of road spiking where motorists are robbed, attacked and raped. File Picture: TMPD

The Motor Industry Staff Association (Misa) has raised the alarm over rampant cases of road spiking where motorists are robbed, attacked and raped. File Picture: TMPD

Published May 14, 2024


Several incidents of spikes being placed on the roads by criminals aiming to damage vehicle tyres and attack motorists has led to a call by the Motor Industry Staff Association (Misa) for increased intervention from police.

The organisation also appealed for heightened vigilance from motorists, especially when travelling at night.

“(We need) more police visibility obviously, as we deal with drug cartels. If we know there is a crime, there are hotspots and we have mentioned three of the most important roads used by commuters, we know the time-frame where this is taking place and it is at night, we can expect the police to increase patrols,” Misa’s Sonja Carstens told broadcaster Newzroom Afrika on Tuesday morning.

She recommended that unmarked police vehicles, augmented by crime intelligence, would be better suited to combat the crime by monitoring activities on the roads.

Spikes are placed on the road to damage vehicle tyres, forcing motorists to come to a halt. File Picture: TMPD

With the considerable spike in cases of road spiking, Carstens said it would be advisable for motorists to avoid driving on the major routes at night.

“If you get spiked, drive as far as possible. When your vehicle comes to a standstill, do not remain seated in your vehicle, that is the one thing police generals are warning us. They (police) say do not remain seated in your car, move across the road to the opposite direction and hide in the field while you are phoning for help,” said Carstens.

“If you are going to remain seated in your car, they are going to rob you.”

Carstens said the modus operandi is also changing. In previous cases, the robbers would place spikes on the road, sometimes covering them with plastic, clothes or paper, and they would hide in the bushes waiting for a motorist to get stuck.

Nowadays, criminals actually have vehicles waiting to follow the motorists who keep driving after their tyres have been damaged by spikes, Carstens warned.

“The modus operandi changed because we have been warning motorists to continue driving for as far as possible (after hitting spikes), the criminals have now realised that the motorist is not going to stop at the scene, so they are following you in a vehicle and then where you have to stop, because you have no alternative, that is where they attack you,” she said.

Some of the hotspots listed by Misa include the N4 in Pretoria between Solomon Mahlangu and the Watermeyer off-ramp; N4 Pretoria to Mpumalanga between Bronkhorstspruit and Balmoral off-ramp; N1 Polokwane and N4 Mpumalanga interchange in Pretoria; and N4 to Rustenburg between the R80 Mabopane freeway and Brits Plaza toll gate.

The Motor Industry Staff Association (MISA) has raised the alarm on the increase in road spiking incidents where motorists are robbed and raped. Picture: Supplied / Misa

The other hotspot listed by Misa is the R21 freeway from OR Tambo International Airport to Pretoria and the R562 in Olifantsfontein.

On Saturday, provincial commissioner of police in Gauteng, Lieutenant General Tommy Mthombeni commended a team of district detectives who worked together with detectives from SAPS Rietgat and FNB security officials to arrest 11 suspects linked to road spiking incidents.

Gauteng police commissioner, Lieutenant General Tommy Mthombeni. File Picture: Timothy Bernard / Independent Newspapers

One of the suspects allegedly charged at the police with a firearm, and the police shot at him. He was declared dead at the scene.

“On Saturday, May 11, 2024, the police received information on the whereabouts of suspects responsible for road spiking incidents on the N1, N4 and R80 in Tshwane district, as well as robberies related to online shopping. The team went to Winterveld at a house which was also used to operate an illegal shebeen where they confronted 10 male suspects as well as the woman running the shebeen,” said Gauteng police spokesperson, Brigadier Brenda Muridili.

Theo Martins Poort on the infamous R80 in Tshwane a listed crime hotspot. File Picture: Jacques Naude / Independent Newspapers

Five of the arrested men, including the deceased, face a number of counts of rape and armed robbery.

Muridili said the woman running the shebeen faces charges of contravening the Immigration Act and operating an illegal shebeen.

“Investigators are under way to link the rest of the suspects with cases of robberies related to online shopping, as well as road spiking incidents,” she said.

During the raid, police seized a replica firearm and the alcohol at the shebeen.