Police failed me dismally: Pretoria woman in road spiking incident says she frantically tried to stop police cars

Pretoria woman, Lucy Tleane hit spikes while driving her Mercedes-Benz along Letlhabile Road, heading to Ga-Rarankuwa and she kept driving from the scene.

Pretoria woman, Lucy Tleane hit spikes while driving her Mercedes-Benz along Letlhabile Road, heading to Ga-Rarankuwa and she kept driving from the scene.

Published May 19, 2024


A Pretoria mother, Lucy Tleane is counting her blessings after her vehicle drove over spikes last month while she was driving at night.

Tleane, a mother of two, was in the company of her sister when her car hit the spikes along Letlhabile Road towards Brits. The two sisters were heading to Ga-Rankuwa at around 8.30pm on April 27.

“As I was driving, I could feel that something was not right and I stopped to check. I realised that it was a spike incident when I saw a huge cut on the front wheel (driver's side), it looked like something had ripped off a piece of a tyre on the side,” she said.

“I got quickly back into the car and drove off slowly. I then called my partner and he advised I drive until I get to the next informal settlement and wait for him there.

Pretoria woman, Lucy Tleane hit spikes while driving her Mercedes-Benz along Letlhabile Road, heading to Ga-Rarankuwa and she kept driving from the scene.

“At some point I could feel that the car was just going to stop, but I kept driving. I was coming from Legonyane village and driving to Ga-Rankuwa, I was supposed to drop off my sister and proceed to Amandasig,” said Tleane.

The seasoned community development practitioner, who works in North West province, said as she was frantically driving from the crime scene, hope flickered for a moment when she noticed a marked police vehicle driving behind her.

“As I was driving, I saw a police car from behind, I tried to stop it by hooting, but it just passed by. I also tried to flick my car lights, signalling at the police, but the SAPS vehicle just faded into the dark.

“There were other police cars that we tried to stop, but none of the police cars stopped. I drove for about 40 minutes, until I headed into one of the gravel roads into an informal settlement,” said Tleane.

“I am very disappointed in the police at this particular point. They failed me as a woman who was desperate for help at that particular time. I am now scared to drive at any time of the day, and when I am driving, I try to shift for any little thing I see on the road, thinking it is some sort of a spike,” she said.

Spikes are placed on the road by criminals seeking to blow out vehicle tyres in order to attack, rob, and sometimes rape motorists. File Picture

Tleane had words of advice for fellow women: “Women drivers should try to avoid driving at night at all costs. If possible, sleep over wherever you are and only leave in the morning. And when you realise that you have been spiked, please do not get out of the car like I did, just drive until the car cannot move.

“Also share your location with your loved ones as much as you can, even if it is every 30 minutes while you are on the road, just share your location,” she appealed.

Speaking to IOL, anti-crime activist and seasoned investigator, Calvin Rafadi said the rise in the crime of spiking roads, prevalent across South Africa, is also targeting cyclists.

“The unfortunate phenomenon is that it’s not easy to recognise some of these spikes when it is dark and more especially when driving your vehicle at high speed,” said Rafadi.

Forensic and crime expert, Calvin Rafadi spoke to IOL on the scourge of spikes on the road. File Picture

He said the criminals lying in bushes have also been reported to attack joggers.

“Those that are cycling or jogging should not be in less numbers when passing through some hotspots,” said Rafadi.

“Motorists should avoid stopping immediately if their tyres burst, but try at least drive for a few kilometres and call police before your vehicle comes to a stop.”

Tshwane has been highlighted as one of the cities which has experienced a major spike in the cases.

In a statement, the Tshwane Metro Police Department (TMPD) said it was aware of the rampant crime.

“The Tshwane Metro Police Department is aware of the increasing crime of spiking vehicles in Tshwane, especially on freeways. The trend is that a vehicle is spiked, and when it stops, criminals rob occupations of their belongings and sometimes assault them.

“The TMPD, together with the South African Police Service (SAPS) and other law enforcement agencies, has increased visibility on freeways by deploying vehicles that will specifically deal with this crime,” said spokesperson Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba.

Tshwane Metro Police Department spokesperson, Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba. Picture: Jonisayi Maromo / IOL

“So far, this method can prevent this crime as several vehicles were assisted before they could be robbed after spiking.”

Furthermore, Mahamba said pedestrians found walking on highways are searched and removed from the roads.

He said the criminals’ modus operandi is varied, but includes blocking the roadway with rocks which ultimately force motorists to divert and fall into a trap; randomly throwing rocks onto the road; throwing sharp objects onto the roadway that may damage vehicle tyres; and putting spikes on the roadway.

Chief of the Tshwane Metro Police Department, Commissioner Yolanda Faro. Picture: TMPD

“Motorists are advised to avoid driving during late hours unless unavoidable. Report all incidents to the police. Should a vehicle get spiked, motorists are advised not to stop and proceed until reaching a safe place, which may be the nearest petrol station or police station,” said Mahamba.

Last week, IOL reported that the Motor Industry Staff Association (Misa) has called for increased intervention from the police amid the rising cases of spiking on the roads.

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

Misa’s Sonja Carstens recommended that unmarked police vehicles, augmented by crime intelligence, would be better suited to combat the crime by monitoring activities on the roads.