I have always loved Johannesburg. I think that has come through rather firmly in my musings – although the drivers sometimes leave much to be desired. But it seems these days it's pretty much indicative of most of the country.
However, I no longer wish to live here.
I don't know if it's because of all the stuff that comes to light about government and politicians and corrupt public service works, or people being rude to each other, with no good reason other than they don't happen to be the same. The levels of tension are running so high frankly, I don't even want to leave my house some days.
Especially as there are so many accidents in our little neck of the woods with people paying absolutely no attention to the rules of the road, or stopping where they should, or even knowing how to identify or decipher what road signs mean. Seriously, every day on the social media area groups, people are posting about accidents, children being knocked over, people driving the wrong way down one ways outside schools – it seems never ending.
And I have good reason for not wanting to go out. A few days ago, on a pretty routine trip to the shops, a 4 x 4 Nissan Hardbody came screaming down a suburban road, ignoring not only the speed humps and the 40km/hour speed limit, but the stop street too. If it hadn't been for the fact that I was slowing to turn the corner, I would have been t-boned.
Explaining with gestures after I had slammed my car to a stop that there happens to be a stop street there to the driver of the other car, one would think that he would have shame-facedly apologised and gone about his day, maybe being more aware of stop streets.
No. Not this individual.
He then tried to overtake me – while I was passing a parked car – with a view to forcing me off the road it seems, as although I kept ahead of him, being as there wasn’t actually place to pass. I tried to ignore this blatantly aggressive display and continued on my route. This cretin then attempted to force me off the road again! I managed to slip past him, only to get stopped at red traffic lights at which fortunately changed, as he screamed up behind me and jumped out of his car and started walking towards me as they turned green. I immediately started taking evasive action, driving around and around blocks, hoping he would get bored and go away. But nothing doing. He continued harassing me and chasing me through a busy shopping area, until finally, somebody turned in front of him and I managed to get away. For a while.
I intended going straight through to a police station, but saw a CSS Tactical armed guard vehicle and decided to stop them and ask them if it would be okay if I just hung with them for a while just in case the person who had been terrorising me on the roads caught up with me again. While I was talking to them through my passenger side window, the same guy came careening down the road, screeched to a halt, jumped out of the car and came in our direction.
As he was racing over towards us, I opened my window and asked frankly – “What the F&*k do you think you’re doing?”, whereupon he hit me flat across the face. The two CSS Guards came to my side of the car and pulled him away. Fortunately I had my SmartPhone to hand, and despite hands that weren’t really taking orders that well, managed to take a picture of his car’s registration. I informed him that he had better get himself to the Police Station, as assault is a criminal offence and I was going to be charging him.
This individual, probably realising that it would be better to go to the police station and be arrested there rather than them having to track him down and doing it at work or home in front of friends/family/colleagues, arrived some half an hour after us and was taken away.
I received a phone call while working a couple of days later to advise that I would need to talk to the investigating officer as the cretin had laid a counter charge of assault against me. I have since been advised by an attorney that I should consider adding reckless driving, reckless endangerment, harassment and intimidation to the assault charge.
How such a spurious claim can even be considered by the police or the legal system, God alone knows, even if it is the ‘usual thing’ for someone who has been charged to do. I, a 53 year old single mother of 2 young teenagers, was in my car when I was attacked and harassed, and have two witnesses who saw the whole thing go down. At no stage did I impugn the man’s character, threaten him or try to damage his property. He obviously just didn’t like being told he was in the wrong and instead of apologising for his reckless, careless actions on the road, he decided to go on the offensive. So he has come to the conclusion that committing perjury and wasting police and court time is a far better course of action. Because who the hell was this Woman to tell him he can’t do whatever he pleases.
I am immensely depressed that in this day and age any person – let alone any man – feel they have the right to go and hit anybody, for any reason. This is completely unacceptable behaviour, and conduct unbecoming of any member of the human race.
It is sad that it has become commonplace in this country for women and children to be abused, in any form whatsoever, by men who feel they have been emasculated in some way and the only way to make themselves feel like ‘men’ again is to pick on people smaller or weaker than themselves.
This is the type of behaviour that a concerned group of citizens, who have banded together to start making people more and more aware of the revoltingness that is going on in our society, are aiming to bring to the fore. That it is NOT OKAY for anyone to behave in this fashion. That it is NOT OKAY to abuse anybody in any way. It’s time we all stood up and said STOP. Which is why I am on the Executive Committee of the Noordien Foundation – one that is totally anti women and children abuse….
STOP means just that. STOP. Not pause. Not slow down. I hope this man doesn’t have a child who is learning from him. A daughter who may say stop to a guy, who then goes on to beat or rape her. Or to have a son who is told STOP by a woman, and takes no notice. These are not the lessons we should be teaching our children.
The rules and the law are there for a reason. Be it on the road, or in any other facet of life.
I do realise that it's probably only 10 percent of the population that behave in this despicable manner, while the other 90 percent of us just want to get on with life, trying to abide by the rules while also trying to make life better for all those we come into contact with. That doesn't make me feel any better.
I am saddened. This is not the country I want my children to grow up in anymore……