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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Former East Coast Radio traffic guy, Johan Von Bargen has died

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The legendary former East Coast Radio traffic guy, Johan Von Bargen (JVB) has died. News of his death spread like veldfire on social media last night as condolences poured from his followers around the East Coast.

Von Bargen was the longest serving radio traffic guy in the country when he quit in 2017.

Johan Von Bargen was popularly known by his fans and colleagues as JVB or simply the Traffic Guy.

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For 33 years Von Bargen kept thousands of KwaZulu-Natal drivers in the loop on what was happening on the roads. Starting off at the then Radio Port Natal in 1984, he never missed a morning or an afternoon show.

As the “Traffic Guy” Von Bargen warned listeners about hold-ups, traffic jams, accidents, road closures and defective traffic lights.

He warned motorists when peacocks and ducks were spotted on the roads, and told them about geese and their goslings bringing traffic to a standstill while crossing the road.

Once he announced that a pig was wondering in the traffic and a concerned driver stopped and tied the animal to a crash barrier.

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Von Bargen joined the Durban city police (now the Durban metro) in 1970. His first traffic reports were in 1984 – for Radio Port Natal, which he transmitted from a helicopter. When he retired from the city police five years later, he continued to work for the radio station.

Von Bargen also opened Pro Driving Tactics, where he ran seminars on anti-hijacking techniques and taught defensive and advanced driving.

The biggest accident he reported on involved a 54-vehicle pile-up on the N3 at Key Ridge.

“During the same pile-up an ambulance that had responded was hijacked. It just went on and on,” he said.

Details of his funeral will be shared in due course.

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East Coast Radio said in a statement: “JVB had been battling with cancer for quite some time and as the East Coast Radio Family we are devastated by the news. He leaves behind his wife Barbra and we will share more information when the family are ready for us to do so. We ask that you respect their privacy in this time of mourning.

Thank you for everything you did for the people of KZN JVB, we will miss you. Rest well Johann Von Bargen.”

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