A paraplegic, a cancer sufferer and a man on disability, who tried to set a new record walking by wheeling from Pretoria to Cape Town, say their dreams of glory have been dashed by traffic cops.
Paraplegic Basie Barnard, 55, and his party were stopped just 50km from their destination by traffic officers, who apparently told Basie and Bettie Jacobs, who were on foot, that it was too dangerous to continue on his wheelchair.
Basie, Bettie, 54, and their driver, Harry Jordaan, 53, were pulled over just outside Kraaifontein after completing 1 250km of their epic journey.
The three are trying to raise awareness for cancer and people with disabilities.
Bettie suffers from breast cancer, while Basie lost both of his legs due to diabetes.
Harry is on a disability grant because of his leg.
Bettie walks in front of the bakkie Harry drives, while Basie wheels at the back.
The team left Pretoria on 24 June under the banner: “Walking for Cancer and Disabilities”.
And they say they have passed plenty of traffic cops on their way to the Cape, but haven’t been stopped once.
A disappointed Basie says: “We didn’t even get a flat tyre, and everywhere people opened their hearts and homes for us, even buying petrol for our bakkie.”
On Friday, 50km from their final destination, the V&A Waterfront, the trio were told that for safety reasons, they would have to stop their journey and carry on like other motorists.
“When we got to the weighbridge just outside Kraaifontein, provincial traffic officers asked us to stop as they felt the N1 was too dangerous for us to be on the highway,” says Bettie.
“I have breast cancer and the nearly 1 300km we’ve done proves we are not in control, God is.”
She says they were excited about their journey, as they would have been the first in SA to complete it without any sponsors.
Harry says the journey has been the experience of a lifetime.
“We had to take a three-day break when we all got sick in Victoria West, but the trip has been exciting and fun regardless of the hiccup along the way,” says Harry.
The trio is currently staying with friends in Kraaifontein and say they are not giving up.
“We will finish and eventually get to the Waterfront as planned, even if we have to take back roads to do so,” vows Harry.
The traffic department did not respond to a request for comment by last night.