One of South Africa’s largest intercity passenger transport services operating in South Africa has once again faced a violent attack on one of its bus drivers. On Sunday evening, 31 July 2022, a driver from Intercape was shot and critically wounded outside the company’s depot in Airport Industria.
Within a space of just 13 months, there’s been over 150 recorded violent incidents, many of which have led to serious injuries to employees and passengers of the bus operators in the long-distance coach industry. Recently, in April 35-year-old Intercape bus driver Bangikhaya Machana died in hospital days after being shot and critically wounded outside the company’s depot.
After many desperate appeals to the national ministers of transport and police, as well as President Cyril Ramaphosa, to urgently intervene but to date, there has been no urgent response, with many commuters probably thinking -how many more incidents must still occur before action is taken?
According to police spokesperson, Warrant Officer Joseph Swartbooi, Bishop Lavis police attended an incident on Sunday at the corner of Morris Close and Montreal Road in Airport Industria at around 6.30pm.
“Upon arrival at the scene, they saw a passenger bus, standing in the road. According to reports the driver and his assistant were on their way to Cape Town to load passengers when two unknown suspects approached the intersection, firing gunshots in their direction,” said Swartbooi. He added, that the motive for the shooting was unknown and the unknown suspects who fled the scene in an undisclosed direction were yet to be arrested.
Furthermore, Swartbooi said one of the victims sustained injuries from gunshot wounds and was transferred to a nearby hospital for medical treatment. The Intercape driver was also rushed to the hospital and underwent emergency surgery after being shot. He is currently in a stable condition, as per Weekend Argus. The incident is under investigation, as Bishop Lavis police are investigating a case of attempted murder, according to Swartbooi.
Intercape CEO Johann Ferreira said that they are grateful to the Western Cape MEC for transport Daylin Mitchell and MEC of Police Oversight and Community Safety Reagen Allen for taking up this issue. However, despite more than 124 cases having been opened with police, especially in the Eastern Cape, there has still not been a single arrest made linked to this campaign of violence, which they find completely unacceptable.
MEC Mitchell condemned the attack and said that the attacks are a result of a violent campaign waged against the industry by rogue taxi associations that seek to force long-distance coach companies out of operating in certain regions and routes across South Africa.
The reported spike in attacks on buses on routes between the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape and Gauteng made Mitchell take steps to ensure that the matter has been brought to the attention of relevant authorities in the security and enforcement environment for the urgent co-ordination of investigations and interventions.
Mitchell said he instructed officials to check and verify all long-distance bus operating licences and to impound all vehicles that are operating without, or contrary to, the conditions of operating licences.
Furthermore, the Western Cape government sent out a warning by saying: “We will not condone criminal acts of extortion and will not negotiate with nor try to appease criminals, and will not allow the rule of law to be compromised.”
Picture: Intercape/ Facebook