Byline: Nonjabuliso Nhlambo

05 February 2024

Bethal community and surroundings are hereby warned about the increase in robbery cases reported emanating from hitch-hiking.

The increase in such cases caught the attention of the police in Bethal, where in different incidents, victims were hiking to either Middelburg, Witbank, or nearby farms, going to their places of residence, job hunting, or visiting families and relatives.

During such incidents, victims will hike any vehicle driving in the direction they are going, and drivers will stop for them with different motives or intentions of either helping or causing harm to the person hiking.

It was reported that two victims hitch-hiked in Bethal on the Middelburg road going to different places when a white Audi stopped with three male occupants to give them a lift as they were traveling in the same direction.

As they were offered a lift, while outside Bethal Town on the road, one of the occupants shouted, “Action!” and the driver took a different route to the farm, and the victims were instructed to hand over their belongings. The victims were also assaulted in the process, tied with cable ties, and left in the middle of the farm near Bethal.

It is alleged that the suspects are traveling with a card machine or speed point, instructing victims to process payments with their bank cards. One of the victims was in possession of his personal firearm in his backpack, which was taken, and was also instructed to take off the trouser and shoes he was wearing before the suspects could leave them with their hands tied in the farm where nobody could see them.

While the police in Bethal are investigating the matter, they warn the communities about the dangers of hitch-hiking and encourage people traveling to Middelburg, Witbank, and nearby areas or farms to make use of the taxis registered with the Bethal Taxi Association to avoid or prevent incidents of robbery.