Alert Uber driver comes to rescue of rape victim in Marine Drive
An Uber driver rushed to the rescue of a Port Elizabeth woman in the early hours of Monday when he spotted her allegedly being raped in the bushes along Marine Drive near Summerstrand.
Viwe Baleni, 24, said he had been driving along Marine Drive at about 3am in search of his next fare, when a parked vehicle made him suspicious.
“When I made a U-turn, I saw that something violent was going on there,” he said.
“I went closer and saw two guys [near the car], and immediately thought to myself ‘something’s wrong’.”
Baleni turned his car’s brights on as he drove closer and the men jumped into the vehicle and raced off.
“That’s when I helped the girl and she got dressed.
“I drove through Central to look for these guys, [and then] we went to the police station,” he said.
Baleni said he did not think his actions were heroic.
“It was terrible. I don’t think anyone would have left that situation and ignored it.”
Police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu said the details around the rape case, which was opened at the Humewood police station at about 4.15am, were sketchy.
She said the woman, 21, from Motherwell, had been coaxed into a taxi at about 11.15pm on Sunday in Western Road, Central.
“It appears that she had visited friends at a block of flats in Western Road [and] she left to catch a taxi cab.
“After walking out of the building, she saw a car standing alongside the road and assumed it was a cab.
“The woman went up to [the two men inside] and queried if they were a taxi [service],” she said.
“The driver and a passenger inside the vehicle confirmed that it was a taxi and that they would drop her off in Motherwell.”
Naidu said that when the men drove off with her, however, they headed towards the beachfront. “She questioned why they were heading to the beachfront and the men claimed that they had to fetch someone from a flat in 10th Avenue, Summerstrand.”
The woman began to panic when they continued to drive along Marine Drive, towards the bushes opposite the Summerstrand Inn hotel.
“They drove into the bushy area off the road where they both allegedly raped the woman inside the vehicle,” Naidu said.
She said both men had been armed with knives and threatened to stab the woman.
Naidu said the woman was traumatised and could not remember all the details of the attack.
Detectives from the specialist Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Investigations Unit (FCS) have taken over the case.
“Detectives have spent the entire day with the woman trying to piece together what happened,” she said.
A case of kidnapping was also under investigation.
The Nelson Mandela Bay municipality has several CCTV cameras along the beachfront, monitored by the municipal control room.
Asked about the cameras, disaster management head Shane Brown – who is spearheading a project to ensure the cameras are functional – said they were in the process of repairing the power to those cameras.
“We are currently working on the issue and can guarantee that they will be operational within the week,” he said.
This comes after issues around the CCTV cameras were raised ahead of the Ironman 70.3 World Championship, which takes place this weekend.
At the time, executive director Keith Meyer said a three-year business plan would be drawn up to replace the CCTV system.