Women warned of dangers of hitchhiking following rape incident

A 43-year-old truck driver was arrested in Middelburg for allegedly raping a hitchhiker after picking her up in Kariega, Eastern Cape on Monday. 

Police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu said: “At about 3.40pm, the 23-year-old was in the truck with a few other passengers.”

She said once the truck driver had offloaded the other passengers in Jansenville, the 25-year-old woman’s ride with the truck driver continued. 

“About 30km from Graaff-Reinet on the Jansenville Road at a resting spot, the truck driver threatened the woman with a firearm and then raped her.”

Naidu said the woman was later dropped off in Graaff-Reinet, where she alerted the police. 

An investigation by Graaff-Reinet police’s operational command centre and members of the visual policing unit soon got under way and led to the speedy arrest of the truck driver, who was cornered in Middelburg. 

“The driver was arrested whilst on route to Colesberg. He was detained on a charge of rape,” added Naidu.

Sarah Baartman district police commissioner, Major-General Zolani Xawuka, thanked the the officers for the arrest.

“The SAPS [SA Police Service] would like to warn women of the dangers of hitchhiking as they can easily fall prey to robberies, rape, human trafficking or even murder,” said Xawuka.

“The ride is not always free, and hitchhiking can be dangerous either for the driver who stops to pick up strangers, as there is a possibility that they can be hijacked of their vehicle and belongings.

“Hitchhiking just for a lift can also pose a danger similar to this case. Never hitchhike, as this places your safety in danger.”

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