Nelson Mandela Bay club and pub patrons have been warned to be on the alert after a George man was stabbed and robbed while leaving popular Port Elizabeth night spot Balizza.
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The police warning follows several recent attacks on sozzled patrons leaving clubs or pubs in the early hours of the morning‚ particularly in the Mount Croix‚ Walmer‚ North End and Central areas.
According to police‚ the attackers are mainly targeting people who have clearly had too much to drink.
In the latest attack‚ on Friday‚ George resident Ulrich Gerber‚ 38‚ who is originally from Port Elizabeth‚ was stabbed three times after leaving Balizza in Walmer and walking to his car. From his hospital bed at St George’s today‚ Gerber said: “As I got into my car and pushed the central locking‚ one person was [already] in the passenger seat‚ another one was behind me and one was at my door. They started stabbing and hitting me‚ and I just fought back. They managed to steal my laptop‚ watch and clothes. I jumped out of the car to fight but could not breathe. I looked down and saw blood all over my top.
“I tried to find people to help me but collapsed. I remember thinking I was going to die‚” he said. “The next thing I remember is looking up‚ seeing people‚ and then waking up in hospital.” Gerber‚ the regional manager of Brandhouse Southern Cape‚ had parked his car behind the Pick n Pay in the Times Square Centre at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Heugh Road in Walmer. Balizza‚ which is part of the ZZ Group‚ is one of the centre’s tenants.
Gerber‚ who was in Port Elizabeth to attend the retirement function of Eastern Cape Brandhouse manager Ray Hitzeroth‚ 60‚ suffered a punctured lung in the attack‚ which he described as a vicious‚ calculated and nearly fatal ambush.
Port Elizabeth Crime Intelligence‚ in an internal letter distributed to police stations about a month ago‚ said police were searching for four Nigerians‚ who drove around in a silver Polo‚ in connection with such attacks. The suspects were believed to have lived in the upmarket suburb of Summerstrand for the past two months.
ZZ Group co-owner Steve Muller said attacks on patrons walking to vehicles was a problem all over the city. “At our club‚ we have stepped up security and put measures in place to curb such incidents‚” he said. “Most club owners are meeting this week to brainstorm how we can work together with the authorities to stamp out this problem.” Police spokeswoman Captain Sandra Janse van Rensburg said patrons and club owners were first warned about a month ago.
“In almost all the cases‚ the victims were intoxicated. The main items stolen are cellphones‚ handbags and wallets‚” she said. “We are following up leads. To curb further incidents‚ patrons are urged not to park far away from the establishments.”