'We never expected anything like this to happen': July car bomb pair
Two Bloemfontein friends were shocked to find a bomb on the undercarriage of their car as they left the Durban July
A night of horse racing and revelry turned to horror for Thebe Mochochoko after he and a friend became the latest targets in a string of Durban “bombings” on Saturday night.
“It was a very scary situation and we never expected anything like this to happen. Why would they want to put a bomb under our car?” the Bloemfontein man told Times Select on Monday afternoon.
An improvised explosive device had been surreptitiously placed on the undercarriage of their car, which had been parked on the fringes of the Durban July, Africa’s richest horse racing event and a massive day on the country’s social calendar.“I have no idea why they would choose us or our car…this is what we are left asking ourselves now,” Mochochoko added.
As the pair was returning to the car – parked on Gladys Mazibuko [formerly Marriott] Road, just a short distance from the Greyville Racecourse– they saw smoke and flames coming from beneath the SUV.
“Our marquee had closed and when we were walking to the car a carguard had sprung on us saying there was something underneath it. It was fuming and we had no idea what was going on,” he said.
They ventured closer, only to find a cellphone connected to a black section of piping.“Everyone started saying it was a bomb, and we didn’t want to touch it. We called the police and the bomb squad arrived. They held us there for three hours while they examined it and they said it was a bomb,” he said.
The device set beneath Mochochoko’s vehicle had been triggered in concert with another, set on a car parked two city blocks away.
At the time, police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said detectives were investigating a case of contravening the explosives act.The investigation into separate devices, planted at shopping malls and then beneath cars at the Durban July, has now been taken over by the Hawks’ Crimes Against the State unit.
On Thursday two similar devices‚ one planted in the Gateway outlet and the other in the Pavilion‚ were detonated‚ causing fires. The Gateway outlet was evacuated on Saturday when a pipe bomb was found and later defused by bomb technicians.
On Monday, the SAPS explosives unit was called out to a Spar in Wentworth after a suspicious device was discovered. A store manager confirmed the incident, but would not provide details.
Hawks spokesperson Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi confirmed that the crack team had taken over the investigation and that, due to its sensitive nature, more information around the string of devices could not be divulged.
No arrests have yet been made.