Hitchhiking nearly ended Thandeka Mathibela’s life on 25 November, after the 27-year-old, in a hurry to get to her workplace in Trichardt, decided to hitchhike that morning.
According to Mathibela, she was hitchhiking along the N17 highway from Bethal when a white car stopped for her.
She did not notice the car’s make, model, or registration number, but she was thankful when the driver offered her a lift.
Mathibela climbed into the car and the driver took off.
They were near the tollgate when the motorist became aggressive towards her and he asked if she knew who he was.
“I noticed the man spoke English with an accent and I then realised that he was a foreign national.
“I was confused by his threats. He then began to beat me, saying that he was going to teach me a lesson because I do not know him.”
Mathibela began to panic when the man took out a knife while he was speaking to someone on his cell phone.
“I told myself my life was coming to an end,” she explained.
“As we were approaching Trichardt, he asked how much money I had. Because I was scared, I open my handbag and took out R1 200, which was all the money I had, and gave it to him.
“I was trembling with fear. He demanded my cell phone and I gave it to him after he instructed me to switch it off,” said Mathibela.
She was scared because she did not know how her ordeal was going to end.
“He said he will give me back my belongings when we come back from his friend in Kinross. When we passed Trichardt which was my destination, I begged him to drop me off and I apologised for making noise when I was screaming while he was beating me, but my abductor just kept on driving.”
Mathibela realised that she was being abducted, especially when she turned to look at what was in the backseat of the car.
“I saw two buckets containing red liquid which I suspect was blood,” said Mathibela.
At the Delmas off-ramp near the Secunda water reservoirs, the driver slowed down and began to loosen his trousers.
“I did not know what his intentions were, but I thought he wanted to rape me. That was when I decided to jump from the car and to get away,” she explained.
She said after jumping out of the moving car, she rolled and tumbled and went to a nearby farm where farmworkers noticed her.
They rushed her to Evander Hospital, where she was admitted and treated for her wounds.
She sustained many wounds, especially on her legs where the skin was scraped off when she hit the road surface.
After she was discharged from the hospital, she went to Bethal Police Station and a case was opened.
“I want to warn the community, specifically women, that they must avoid hitchhiking because it is not safe. I nearly lost my life.”
Bethal Police spokesman, Const Thomas Mogadime, confirmed that a kidnapping case has been opened, but no arrest has yet been made.
He also warned the community to avoid hitchhiking.
“As police, we want to ensure that women and children are protected.
“We are shocked that this incident took place on 25 November which is the first day of the 16 days of activism for no violence against women and children,” said Const Mogadime.
Anyone with information about the suspect is asked to contact the police at 082 824 6797.
This article was republished from Ridge Times with permission