'Kill a biker' row: Journo out in the cold

2014-02-18 10:34

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa - Motoring journalist Thegandra Naidoo has been "asked to leave the employ" of ABR Magazine with immediate effect, after making insensitive comments on social media following a biker’s death in a road rage incident.

ABR Magazine announced on Tuesday (Feb 18) that Naidoo has been asked to leave the employ of the company with immediate effect.

The announcement came after the biking community and the general public expressed their outrage on social media due to Naidoo’s insensitive comments on Facebook on February 14. Naidoo's comments were in regard to a biker who was shot and killed in Johannesburg during a road rage incident with a driver.

Naidoo posted on Facebook: ““I don’t blame the guy that shot the motorcyclist. They are obnoxious and arrogant. I cannot wait for my day to come when I will open my door and a motorcyclist will fly off his bike and hopefully break his neck!”


ABR publisher Graham Erasmus said in a statement posted on Facebook:  “After a day of reflection and consultation, and further investigation into the events around a most unfortunate and acrimonious exchange of views on the social media, a decision has been taken.

“Mr Naidoo has today, with immediate effect, left the employ of aBr. The decision was taken in the cold light of day, and many factors had to be considered in taking this decision, not least of which were the many death threats received, but of course the key determination was based on the unacceptable nature of the comments made, irrespective of the circumstances, of which I shall expand on in an editorial to be published in the next issue of aBr.”

“I wish to once again apologise unreservedly to the family of Mr Pearce; the entire biking community of South Africa; the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists; our valued clients and customers and members of the public.

"I also wish to reiterate that aBr and its staff distance ourselves entirely and without reserve from the comments made by Mr Naidoo, and that we, notwithstanding that Mr Naidoo has now left our employ, are investigating opportunities to make something good out of a terrible set of circumstances, and to show our goodwill towards all motorists.”

Wheels24 readers shared their comments:

Ernie van Biljon said: “A person in his position cannot afford to revert to puerile comments about other people's perceived status in life, least of all to wish them harm because he does not agree with his perception of their lifestyle and morals!

“I hope he doesn't have a family that will be affected by his sick comments, because I cannot see him remaining in his current or related positions in the near future. Better people than him, eg. Darren Scott, had to bite the bullet for a moment of indiscretion and so should he.”

K Simonis said: “Firstly, it was disgusting that someone in no matter what profession can put that sort of karma on any driver, especially related to an incident of someone losing their life to someone’s idiotic anger issues. That’s hatred and will fall on that person for the rest of their lives with or without their apology. Media sites such as facebook are personal but it can be seen ny anyone and everyone.  Some thoughts are best left to yourself in your hateful mind!”

“This is coming from a motorcycle rider. My whole family drives motorcycles. Being a female motorcycle rider, I know what it’s like for us at times. People paint us all with the same brush that we’re ‘arrogant’. How many people actually give a motorcycle driver the time of day?

“It’s dangerous on the roads for everyone these days but even more so for someone on two wheels with all these drivers speeding, pushing in, not using indicators, racing, hooting because they have no patience.”

Gert Botha said: “This journo cannot be allowed another chance on these platforms as he should have known who he represents. He actually placed a death wish on all he represents, and quite frankly, he only posted an apology to save his career – well, that would be over in any case as he would never be taken in the same light as the other journalists.

"These are the facts:

1. Since the e-toll came about, and with the new hikes in petrol prices, I noticed a tremendous increase in road users reverting to two-wheel transport
2. As a fellow biker, working in the corporate world, I have learned not to judge, because the spectrum of bikers, have now spanned even further, from the old “bad” bikers, to Dr’s, Advocates, Bankers, IT developers etc, using bikes to families who started to use this as their only means of transport due to financial constraints
3. Our challenge now is going to be on how to educate these “new bikers” on how to travel safely in peak traffic, and surely we do not need “hate speech” comments from the non-biking community, feuding further antagonism
4. I have been on both the receiving end of a biker driving into my vehicle due to another vehicle opening up their doors at the wrong place, and being bumped by motor vehicles whilst on my motorcycle
5. Journalists have to understand that the apparent once-off incidents mostly happens due to the fact that a few events took place before that, and that a biker is so much more exposed. He is taking a risk, motorists should not add to that risk, if they do not have the guts to ride bikes themselves, they should not attempt to intervene in a bikers route on the road, as the bikers just want to get past an carry on. They have no intention in having a wrestling match with a heavier vehicle.

You should make this an example to other like-minded viewers of bikers as this can become a nasty trend.”

Email us your thoughts and use the Readers' comments below.

  • Blinde Sambok - 2014-02-18 10:51

    Be careful about what you post on social media. It can come back and bite you in the behind big time!

  • Andre Van Straaten - 2014-02-18 11:31

    You cannot Generalize things like bad drivers. You get bad motor vehicle drivers, taxi, truck, and cyclists. That does not mean ALL drivers are BAD.

  • Linda van der Merwe - 2014-02-18 13:29

    A dear friend of mine lost her ONLY son taday a few years ago due to a motorist making an illegal u-turn. He died in theatre. He left behind his beautiful wife, small baby son, Dad, Mom and two sisters. His passing has left a great void in their lives. Up until today the driver of the vehicle has not come forward, but luckily they have an excellent eye witness who stood by them through this. RIP JC Levin.

  • Angelique Norie - 2014-02-18 13:52

    DON'T JUDGE A BIKER!!! I saw you roll up your window and shake your head when I drove by. But you didn't see me driving behind you when you flicked your cigarette butt out the car window. I saw you frown at me when I smiled at your children. But you didn't see me when I took time off from work to run toys to the homeless. I saw you stare at my long hair. But you didn't see me and my friends cut ten inches off for Locks of Love. I saw you roll your eyes at our leather coats and gloves. But you didn't see me and my brothers donate our old coats and gloves to those that had none. I saw you look in fright at my tattoos. But you didn't see me cry as my children where born and have their name written over and in my heart. I saw you change lanes while rushing off to go somewhere. But you didn't see me going home to be with my family. I saw you complain about how loud and noisy our bikes can be. But you didn't see me when you were changing the CD and drifted into my lane. I saw you yelling at your kids in the car. But you didn't see me pat my child's hands, knowing he was safe behind me. I saw you reading the newspaper or map as you drove down the road. But you didn't see me squeeze my wife's leg when she told me to take the next turn. I saw you race down the road in the rain. But you didn't see me get soaked to the skin so my son could have the car to go on his date. I saw you run the yellow light just to save a few minutes of time. But you didn't see me trying to turn right. I saw you cut me off because you needed to be in the lane I was in. But you didn't see me leave the road. I saw you waiting impatiently for my friends to pass. But you didn't see me. I wasn't there. I saw you go home to your family. But you didn't see me. Because, I died that day you cut me off. I WAS JUST A BIKER. A person with friends and a family. But you didn't see me.

      Kyle Farmer - 2014-02-18 15:36

      I wish this could be top comment.

      Shireen Botha - 2014-02-18 20:59

      It is always very sad to read this. I'm a biker and I have the biggest family, my biker family! I love them all!

      Tracy Smith - 2014-02-19 07:31

      What a beautiful piece, it realy bought a tear to my eyes. I have respect for bikers as myself and husband are bikers too. Yes some bikers a little more recless than some but we are the ones taking chances on 2 wheels. Safe riding out there on a machines and remember never judge unless you want to be jugded.To all bikers keeps eyes open and hold your tounges we dont want another inccodent.

      Michael B da Silva - 2014-02-19 09:53

      Outstanding Angelique Norie.

      Hans Hofhuis - 2014-02-19 13:40

      Hi Maam , may I please borrow this to post on facebook .

  • iYesss - 2014-02-18 13:56

    We have more aggressive drivers/riders today due to lack of effective law enforcement. People take more chances because they can, irritating those that still have some ethics and obey the law. Speed camera's is not enforcing the law. This does not catch reckless drivers/riders. Naidoo messed up big time, but I think that him loosing his job is a bit harsh. Suspend him without pay and educate him rather. I certainly don't condone his behavior.

  • Cindy Lee Laing - 2014-02-18 15:35

    I take my Hat off to you Mr Erasmus for taking such a stand.

  • Willem Van Rensburg - 2014-02-18 16:01

    Lots of bikers whish they can do the same to you, but do not because they are civilized. Some thing you only heard of after crawling from your grotto.

  • Wayne Baxter - 2014-02-18 18:56

    While I am a driver, my conscience tells me that bikers can come out of nowhere, they have a right to use the road too. Where I can I move over for them, which is always greeted with a wave from the riders, who i find to be a lot more courteous than some drivers. But in the same sense one should also as a rider be more vigilant of the dangers on the road, a speeding rider is less likely to be seen as he weaves between traffic. So in that respect I do get frustrated with some, but it is no reason to hold a vendetta against them. A simple talk at the next stop (should you see them there) in a calm manner could just be something we need to consider in order to bring the gap closer between riders and motorists. I once had a rider who came out of nowhere that I nearly didn't see. At a garage later on I saw him and just calmly went up and said, "Hey bud, just be careful out there, i didn't see you till the last second and was about to change lanes, if I didn't spot you coming by i might have cut in front of you, please just be careful". He thanked me and apologised. I see think bike stickers all over and wonder why no bikers have a think car sticker. Then I reason with this and wonder why not just have something that should apply to everyone, THINK TRAFFIC... we all use the roads we all want to drive safely... Lets do this and not have to deal with such situations. May the deceased rider rest in peace, and God be with his family in this hard time.

  • Michael B da Silva - 2014-02-19 09:50

    Naidoo you spanner! Most bikers also are MOTORISTS you tool. So glad to hear about your forced career move. The joke's on you.

  • Anselmo Coelho - 2014-02-19 17:15

    No sense just nonsense .......reap what you sow ...

  • Douwlene Breedt van Zyl - 2014-02-19 22:28

    Oh, very well done, I LOVE it! The idiot got exxactly what he deserved!

  • arthur.salvado - 2014-02-20 08:06

    Well done Mr Erasmus.

  • arthur.salvado - 2014-02-21 08:28

    I say again, WELL DONE MR ERASMUS. Good riddance of a fool

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