'Kill a biker' row: What readers say...

2014-02-17 15:42

Wheels24 reported that motoring journalist Thegandra Naidoo was given a leave of absence at Auto Business Review (ABR) for his insensitive comments regarding the death of a biker.

Naidoo, who works for ABR and a web-based radio programme called BizRadio, 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!”

His comments have sparked a huge Twitter and Facebook row.

Many readers shared their thoughts via email. The vast majority were (unsurprisingly) hostile and calls for Naidoo to be fired were made.

Alwyn Vorster said: So, it is ok to shoot off your mouth and then quickly cry, 'I'm sorry', after seeing the number of people taking offence. Would he still have apologised if no outcry against his statement was made? Why is he still employed as a motoring journalist? Sooner or later he will do it again.

"Why is he still employed at all?  Get rid of the man."


Henri Zermatten said: "As much as he has apologised he has displayed a mindset that is positively toxic to say the least.  His opinions are his own but as such a person who's views are widely read, such as a journalist, is not fit to occupy such a position.

"I think he should not be allowed to practice journalism in any form whatsoever and reconsider his choice of career as wherever he works as this incident will tarnish them too. I hope the less tolerant bikers don't find him anytime soon because his apologies didn't hold much water with them."

Paula Marnitz said: "I am a middle aged woman and I used to have a bad attitude towards bikers. However when my husband bought a BMW 1150 GS to work on, it dawned on me that not every biker is a thug or gang member. My husband has an MBA and his fellow bikers are all engineers. I felt ashamed of my initial dislike towards bikers.

"Some are idiots but then again, there are loads of idiot car drivers too. We all need to be more open-minded. I have learned a good lesson. Naidoo needs to be fired from journalism, he is a fool."


Grant van Leeve said: "Mr Naidoo needs a smack against his thick head and what a pathetic apology.I travel everyday via motorcycle to work and back and pray that i make it home to my wife and kid. We share the road with road users and most are law-abiding and the same goes with a few bikers as well."

"Rest in peace to the biker that died and my deepest sympathy to his family."

Some readers believed that the animosity towards Naidoo was unwarranted and that we should focus our attention on safer roads:

Jo-Marie Schoeman said: "Thegandra's remark displays the typical intolerant attitude of many (if not most) road users, which I believe is the root cause of our high-road accident rate.

"Let's not single out Thegandra but rather put the shoe on the other foot and each ask ourselves if I haven't had similar thoughts against a taxi driver, pedestrian, runner, cyclist, that blonde woman in her SUV, etc., and then all change our attitudes towards each other.

"The hate campaign that now rages on Facebook is a step in the wrong direction.

Thabiso Khoncha said: “I think the comments were reckless but at the same time I sense some remorse in the apology letter written. It was really uncalled for because it made me as a rider to feel unsafe and uncomfortable! In any case let's ride safe and with patience.”


Some readers took the opportunity to share their experiences with road rage:

Mongezi Biya said: "I was once confronted by a biker on the R24 West but I didn't react to him because I wasn't sure whether I was wrong. The traffic was crawling at about 20km/h and I was on the bridge that goes over the N12 when I decided to change to the right-hand lane.

"That part of the section is downhill and it curves to the right and that's when the biker nearly crashed into me. I don't know how fast he had been travelling or whether I'd neglected to check my mirrors during the change of lanes but from that day I learned to watch out for bikers.

"I'm still amazed though by bikers who don't adjust their speed when traffic is slow. I've seen some zooming past at nearly Crash Test speeds without considering that someone might change lanes and have collide not because the driver wasn't looking at mirror but because the biker was too fast to be noticed and avoided on time."

  • Tanya Yoko - 2014-02-17 15:57

    I hope this guy looses his job as that biker that was shot was a very good friend of ours and I am a biker and so is my husband and most of our friends to. Even though we are bikers it doesn't mean we need to be murdered. Please open your eyes and realize we have families to. I am a mother and a wife and you people need to realize all of that we are people to.

      Fister Bear - 2014-02-17 16:19

      I've been a biker for 25 years of my Life Tanya. After an incident back in 1995 where a drunk driver didnt like me overtaking him as he was weaving across the road doing 40kmph, then sped up,chased me down and hiting me from behind causing me to almost lose my left foot (7 ops, 2,5 years before able to walk again and a promising rugby career in its m@3R) has made me an extremely carefull driver... I only commute 20km to work every day and back...but at least two or three times per week my life is placed in danger by a stupid cager on his/her sellphone or who's indicators are a "new" feature to them.

      Joey Barton - 2014-02-17 17:27

      @Tanya: There are many bikers who are very arrogant on the road and they give bikers a bad name. They are many that are quick to show the middle finger knowing they can't be caugt easily. This is why this incident happened. Yes, it was very wrong to do so, but we don't know the state of mind the car driver was either.

      Brenden Engelbrecht - 2014-02-17 19:28

      Tanya, he stopped his biked, assaulted a guy with a gun and got shot. Friend or not, what the hell was he thinking? "As jy vir moeilikheid soek, een of ander dag gaan jy dit kry."

      Nelson Poopmore - 2014-02-17 20:13

      Got shot IN THE BACK, Brenden.

      Sheda - 2014-02-18 09:11

      All these excuses .....the facts are a man pulled out a gun and another man then defended himself and shot him. I would do it 24/7 if it happened to me. It has F all to do with biker this or biker that It is about self defense. I am sorry for the dead guys friends and family HOWEVER if he threatened me with a gun I would do the same as the guy who defended himself. My thoughts would not be "shoot to kill" but "shoot to save my life" I am a biker but this is not about a biker. It is about one human being protecting himself from been killed by another human being.

      Tanya Yoko - 2014-02-18 09:25

      I'm sure there are some arrogant bikers out there as there are arrogant car drivers, but most of a bikers arrogance comes from the fact that car drivers are sitting texting on there cell phones while driving, thinking that indicators are an optional extra on cars which most of them choose not to take. As for the claims that he assaulted the guy with a gun that's not true the guy had a cut lip, and the same as he stopped his bike so did that guy stop his car. Everyone's attitude would be completely different if this had happened to your loved ones or friend, at the end of the day no one should have lost their life in this terrible tragedy. All I know for sure is that this world has lost a amazing man who was a awesome friend and a fantastic husband and wonderful father to his little girl and no amount of money can bring him back to his family and friends yet that guy gets to pay R5000 and can be back with his wife and daughters wish that's all it took for us to see our friend again.

      Andre Buxey - 2014-02-18 09:43

      you people? this was a road rage incident, could have happened to a guy in a truck, car or winged unicorn... lol you people..

  • parryvanrooyen - 2014-02-17 16:07

    I think this dude wrote the apology more out of fear than remorse. He and the other idiot (the waste of oxygen who shot a biker IN THE BACK) are going to get whiplash from having to look over their shoulders so often.

      Brenden Engelbrecht - 2014-02-17 19:33

      I do agree with you on the apology - halfhearted at best. But the biker is not much better than the oxygen thief motorist. Who attacks someone with a gun randomly in traffic? And then even more idiotic, stops to go back for round 2. It's so dumb it's stupid :>

      Ahava Shapiro - 2014-02-17 19:35

      This makes you no better than them, idiotic comment.

      Arie Vd Plaats - 2014-02-19 08:04

      @ Brendan Engelbrecht, You very clearly have not ridden a motorbike yourself ever. Some motorist do the stupidest things thereby endangering the life of bikers. Unfortunately this biker got shot dead (in his effort to protect himself). A case of self defense by the killer shooter in this case is out of the question !!! What attack are you trying to defend yourself against if the other person is facing away from you???

  • Rohin Jadin - 2014-02-17 16:24

    sadly you hear comments like this daily - the difference is this guy works in a motoring industry and is relatively a bit less common than joe soap. it will forever be tit for tat - until everyone stops pointing fingers and looking at their own driving habits - NONE of us are perfect - claims of "i've not had an accident in 30 years " - I laugh at that as so often people do things that are wrong, but drive along oblivious of the fact - not realising what near misses or sometimes not misses they leave behind.

  • ravikesh.kalicharran - 2014-02-17 17:17

    He his right these bikers are arrogant mfs

      Mike Beets - 2014-02-17 17:28


      Cindy Lee Laing - 2014-02-18 08:33

      Oh Really Shah Sawar... Doubt that is your proper name... I would love you to tell me I am an arrogant MF to my face, will show what an arrogant MF is.... People like you cause the Rage that is out there...

  • Xoliswa Innocentia Ndwandwe - 2014-02-17 17:58

    Its sad that a life had to be lost. I dont wanna generalise but some bikers are violent. I dont want to go into the number of times my door has been kicked or mirror slammed because a biker felt he had the right to push me of the lane. We see it a number of times where we get terrorised by motorbikers. Has it ever dawned on anybody's mind that both parties involved in this case were a victim of their own road rage had this biker driven off and not draw his gun and hit the other driver maybe this wouldnt have happend. Or had the driver also walked away and not respond maybe this may have been avoided. If we are all less violent to each other maybe incidents like this can be avoided. I am in no way say that the motor vehicle driver was correct to shoot the biker but maybe had this been handled in a better manner all of this could have been avoided.

      Tokyo Rose - 2014-02-17 18:40

      Generally if a biker kicks your door or hits your mirror it is because you have done something wrong e.g. changed lanes without indicating, cut him off, busy talking on your cellphone and didn't see him, and always people like you are not even aware of what they have done and think they are totally in the right. If I wre you mate I would look at myself and my driving. In 30 years of driving I have never had a biker do anything to me or my car, but then my husband is a biker so I am super aware of them on the road.

      Brenden Engelbrecht - 2014-02-17 19:22

      @Tokyo, I can assure you this does not happen when you are always in the wrong. I've almost hit a biker that split lane 80 km/h in a standstill traffic. The chop couldn't think that at that speed it's impossible to see him when you check to change lanes as he's too far back. Narrowly avoided an accident, and the road warrior tried to knock my mirror off before speeding into the sunset. This kind of antagonizing behavior is what rubs motorists up against bikers.

      Zola Fata - 2014-02-18 07:54

      "Generally if a biker kicks your door or hits your mirror it is because you have done something wrong e.g. changed lanes without indicating, cut him off, busy talking on your cellphone and didn't see him, and always people like you are not even aware of what they have done and think they are totally in the right." @Tokyo, so are you suggesting that this justifies bikers showing aggression towards others??? WOW,,,

  • Eidel Bock - 2014-02-17 18:35

    Wonder what spark the incident. Looking at a newspaper photo is look like there was no number plate on the motorcycle.

      Nelson Poopmore - 2014-02-17 20:22

      And you are trying to say...?

  • Morne Nortier - 2014-02-17 18:50

    First, condolences to all affected. Second, I drive in CPT of all places, mostly viewed as placid and chilled. The amount of road offences and a total disregard for the law by ALL is shocking. The day we take the laws of the road seriously, is the day we will see much less of this sort of thing happening.

  • Eidel Bock - 2014-02-17 18:51

    I wonder why so many of the motor cycles loose their number plates? Bet it is the vibration! It must cost the owners a fortune to replace them so often.

  • Nelson Poopmore - 2014-02-17 20:26

    Bikers, cowardly back shooting black cagers, and now cowardly coolies. What a mess.

  • Hester Myburgh - 2014-02-17 20:30

    Give him a bike so that he can break his neck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • ravikesh.kalicharran - 2014-02-18 07:44

    One biker one bullet

  • Nickey Botes - 2014-02-18 07:58

    I like bikes and love the sound it makes and have some awesome friends that use them every day and when you say you want to 'kill' them , it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, clearly Naidu doesn't have biker friends/family ??? I would love to own one but I wouldn't last a day on the road with some of the truck,bus,taxi and car drivers we have ....I know with all things there will always be one 'guy' that will spoil it for everyone else and then we think everyone is like that??? I have just learned from life just to be more tolerant on the road and that it doesn't belong to me !!! as for Naidu, I think he has learned a big lesson with his posts and comments , ''the toes you step on today might be connected to the ass you have to kiss tomorrow''

  • terry.jugdeo - 2014-02-18 09:47

    Mea Culpa It was with deep shock and regret that I discovered that one of our editors, Thegandra Naidoo, had made intemperate comments on his Facebook page. Whilst these comments were made after office hours and by Mr Naidoo in his personal capacity, and apparently in the heat of the moment, I simply cannot condone such behaviour and Mr Naidoo has been placed on leave of absence, with immediate notice. I shall be conducting a full investigation into this incident, and hope to come to a decision about Mr Naidoo’s future participation in Automotive Business Review (aBr) within a couple of days. I wish to make this decision in the cold light of day, rather than from my current emotional perspective, because I myself have a daughter and son-in-law who are bikers. In the interim, I wish to apologise unreservedly to the family of Mr Pearce, a husband, a son, and a father who was needlessly killed in a road rage incident; 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 make it quite clear that Automotive Business Review, and its entire staff complement, distance ourselves entirely and without reserve from the comments made by Mr Naidoo. aBr finds his comments repulsive, unprofessional, and extremely distressing. It is a clear sign of emotional immaturity, which shall be taken into consideration when considering Mr Naidoo’s future. The team at aBr wish to express our sincerest regret at the situation, and we shall endeavour to find ways to atone for the sins of Mr Naidoo. Yours sincerely, Graham Erasmus Publisher, Automotive Business Review Monday 17 February 2014 09h00

  • terry.jugdeo - 2014-02-18 09:53

    I work at aBr truly sad of his actions and pain caused. I love bikes and my deepest condolences to the family on the loss of there loved ones.

  • Deon Pretorius - 2014-02-18 11:08

    Dont fire him. Just give him a bike and force him to ride to and from work for a month.

  • Lisa Marie Kathleen Sandford - 2014-02-18 12:41

    So many words and so much anger.... Anger took this man ....... without the anger it would never of happened......... I feel for both families especially the one who will never see their beloved one again... What a tragedy .... Often there I times i have lost it not only on the road.... taking a look and trying to learn something not only from this senseless loss but to break away from all the aggression..... Anyone posting or reading should ask themselves before saying anything .... was it worth it??? Let it go ..... God Bless those left behind and those dealing with the shock that the person they loved has KILLED someone.... it has come to a time where hardly anyone truley grasps death...... Tragedy beyond words that will bring years of hurt and pain... at births... wedding days.... Matric dances.... all destroyed through anger, maybe we should all forget the anger and try chill... Bikers can voice what they dislike and motorist voice what they dislike nicely so we can both become more aware of each other and instead of teaching our children how to fear teach them how to join hands and live more peacefully!!! <3

  • Barry Eslick - 2014-02-19 12:10

    Those who are not bikers will never understand how hyper we are when riding, especially in traffic. If a car changes lanes or drifts into the next lane, due to inattention (cell phone, texting, changing a radio station, lighting up) we see the threat instantly and we get a massive dose of adrenalin. Then fight or flight occurs. It's a natural reaction to fear and sometimes it's difficult to keep your temper. Some of us may then do something stupid, like kick your door or "remove" your mirror (you don't use it, so why complain). It's not personal,it's survival. Your greater than one ton vehicle will crush us without compunction, so it's no contest. We do not want to fight with you, we are just trying to survive. So, when driving, focus on driving, like we do. It will make the road safer for all of us. Thanks.

  • Paul Blinaux - 2014-02-20 09:37

    Tomorrow is a week down the line since Thegandra Naaidoo made his despicable comment!! The SAGMJ (South African Guild of Motoring Journalists) stated in their press release on the 17/02/2014…..”We would like to assure the motorcycling community that we are in the process of taking the appropriate disciplinary actions, as prescribed by our constitution, to address the matter.” Is this a case of the SAGMJ just hoping that if it sits and twiddles it’s thumbs long enough……the Thegandra Naaidoo matter may just die down….and you as the SAGMJ actually won’t have to make any serious punitive decisions, but a mere little slap on the wrist at most? It’s become abundantly clear through the many comments posted by numerous individuals, through various media channels…that the SAGMJ is perceived as a mere ‘Toothless’ organisation…..that across the board just blow a lot of hot air and pat themselves on the back at every opportunity!! I challenge the the SAGMJ and yourself Christo Valentyn as the representative face of the SAGMJ on this matter……prove the Biking fraternity and the Motoring public of South Africa and in fact the world wrong and actually for once……take a stand that will ensure that NO Motoring Journalist will ever step out of line again!!

      Salushan Pillay - 2014-03-28 16:08

      Blignot, it is spelt Naidoo. Dumb freakin idiot! Shows how much you know about people in your own country, or maybe you choose not to know!

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