Van Damme brings Cape Town traffic to a standstill

December 9, 2003

The Cape Film Commission has asked the City of Cape Town's traffic department to investigate the closure of the N1 highway.

The highway was closed for more than an hour during the shooting of a big-budget movie starring Belgian action man Jean-Claude van Damme.

The commission believes the traffic authorities are to blame for causing massive traffic congestion. But a senior city official has in turn accused the commission of negligence in the handling of the situation.

The Belgian actor has been filming Wake of Death, a R120-million thriller, in the city for the last month.

The film commission granted a permit to the producers, Lucky Seven, to close the N1 on December 3 for 10 minutes, according to spokesperson Arafat Davids.

Independent Newspapers in Cape Town received complaints from members of the public who wanted to know why the highway was closed for more than an hour at exactly the time when the first performance of the musical Fame ended at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Said Davids: "The permit clearly states that the N1 could be closed for 10 minutes because they were going to film an explosion and we did not want to scare the public.

"Unfortunately a senior officer on duty took a unilateral decision to close the road for more than half an hour and up to an hour which led to traffic congestion. The closing was not according to the permit conditions."

Davids said he had contacted the city's chief traffic inspector, Frank Lock, requesting a "thorough investigation" of the incident.

But Lock replied that he knew "nothing" about the incident and at first refused to comment on the issue.

He did, however, add that "Arafat (Davids) is the issue here and we just need to get this straight. The film commission must sort out this problem."

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