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Families of stoning victims on Cape Town’s N2 ‘Hell Run’ are still waiting for justice

Families of stoning victims on Cape Town’s N2 ‘Hell Run’ are still waiting for justice
Illustrated image: Smashed window of a car. (Photo: EPA / Valdrin Xhemaj) | Law enforcement in Nyanga. (Photo: Gallo Images / Die Burger / Jaco Marais) | N2 signage (Photo: Supplied) | The N2 inbound to Cape Town near the Borcherds Quarry exit to Nyanga (Photo: Gallo Images / Die Burger / Jaco Marais)

The families of two victims of N2 stoning incidents in Cape Town this year continue to seek justice for their loved ones. One of the victims died two days after suffering cardiac arrest as a result of the attack.

Five months after Leonie van der Westhuisen’s car was stoned on the N2 in Cape Town on a stretch of road known as the “Hell Run”, her family is still seeking answers after a lack of communication from the police.

Van der Westhuisen (69) suffered a cardiac arrest when a stone struck her head during the attack. She was hospitalised but died two days later.

Gauteng-based Van der Westhuisen and her husband, Gert, had been in Cape Town to celebrate their wedding anniversary when the attack occurred.

Jaco van der Westhuizen, the couple’s 48-year-old son, spoke to Daily Maverick this week, almost six months after the attack. He said his father, who was in the car at the time of the incident, was still recovering from the trauma of the event, which occurred in March.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Husband desperate for justice after stone hurled by robbers kills academic en route to CT International Airport

He expressed frustration that he has to constantly contact the police and ask them for updates. “It feels like I have to remind them how to do their work,” he said.

“It’s always been me who has to contact the police, and every time the answer has always been the same: ‘We don’t have any new updates yet.’ It hurts for me to say this is the worst, it’s just too traumatic to deal with.

“My father is still suffering from the stress of seeing something like that happen. It is really too traumatic for him, with no developments from police indicating any progress achieved.”  

Van der Westhuizen added that there appeared to be a lack of interest in investigating the attack on his parents’ car and trying to find the perpetrators. After the car was stoned, someone reached in and stole a cellphone.

“It’s been five months and communication from their end has been almost zero. We’ve repeatedly urged that they look at the CCTV, but nothing has been done, not even sending someone to interview my father in six months; there is really a problem.”

Western Cape police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Malcolm Pojie confirmed to Daily Maverick that no arrests had been made in the case.

Another police spokesperson, Captain FC Van Wyk, said recent stonings on the N2 were sporadic incidents sparked by taxi strikes or service delivery protests.   

Still waiting for justice

Lucilla Vlok, a 21-year-old Inscape student, had a brush with death almost two months ago after a stone was thrown at her car on the N2 highway.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Student latest victim of N2 rock-throwing incident on Cape Town’s ‘Hell Run’

She was driving to Cape Town International Airport to pick up a friend when a stone was hurled through the car window, injuring her jaw and chin. She kept driving to the airport and lost consciousness in the parking lot. She woke up in hospital with a fractured jaw.

Almarie Vlok, Lucilla’s mother, told Daily Maverick this week that they received an SMS from the police saying the case had been closed because of a lack of evidence.

“We are really disappointed and there is absolutely nothing for us to do. This system of ours is killing us. We just wait in hope that something will happen for us to find justice.”

Pojie said, “A docket will be reopened upon [receiving] new leads. Development in these cases will be communicated directly with the complainants or their next of kin. They may lodge a service delivery complaint with the station or unit commander should they be of the view that feedback regarding the investigation is lacking.” DM

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