Durban – Four young children screamed in horror as their grandparents’ vehicle was forced off the road and the couple brutally assaulted in a “cowardly” road rage attack.
The 77-year-old driver was punched repeatedly in the chest, despite pleading with his attacker to spare him because he had a heart condition.
When his 67-year-old wife intervened, she was choked and pinned against the vehicle’s bonnet.
The drama unfolded on the R103 on Friday afternoon as the family were heading to Durban from their home in Ladysmith, for the long weekend.
Their assailant, a man driving a BMW with a NKR number plate, is being sought by police.
The traumatised couple are nursing injuries while their grandchildren, aged 5, 10, 12 and 13, remain shaken by the ordeal.
“Our family are furious. They are old and did not harm anyone, but were brutally assaulted,” said a relative.
The family have requested anonymity because they feared further reprisals from the attacker.
“What was done to them was a cowardly act. The children were screaming and crying as they watched this man hurt their grandparents.
“We are now looking for witnesses to help locate him.”
According to the relative, the grandfather was overtaking a truck when the driver of a black or dark grey BMW appeared behind his Toyota Hilux double-cab bakkie and flashed his headlights.
The BMW driver then drove on to a gravel stretch, towards oncoming traffic, in an attempt to overtake the family’s vehicle and the truck.
The relative said the grandfather was halfway past the truck and could not slow down.
The BMW driver sped up in front of their van and flagged them down using hand signals.
Fearing something was wrong, the grandfather pulled over on to the side of the road and walked towards the BMW.
“The driver exited his car in a rage and started swearing and throwing punches,” the relative said.
The grandfather, clutching his chest, tried to tell the driver he had a heart condition but the man failed to listen and continued to punch him.
The terrified grandmother, who was still seated in the car with her grandchildren, began reciting duas (prayers) for Allah to protect her husband.
“When she realised the driver was not stopping, she jumped out of the bakkie and tried to intervene by telling him about her husband’s condition.
“But he grabbed her by the throat, pushed her onto the bonnet and choked her. He let go after a few seconds and drove off.
“Nobody stopped to assist them,” the relative said.
“The grandparents and children still have flashbacks. The children have told us that they thought their grandfather was going to die.”
The couple, who suffered severe external bruising, managed to contact their children, who went to the scene and took them for medical help.
Police confirmed that a case of assault was being investigated and that no arrest had yet been made.