Two Golden Arrow and one MyCiti bus were torched in Khayelitsha this morning. A third Golden Arrow bus was hijacked during violent protest action amid a Santaco taxi strike this morning.
Footage of passengers struggling to exit a flaming bus is also doing its rounds on social media.
It is also believed that Eluxolweni Primary School was set alight. There have also been reports of shootings in Khayelitsha and Nyanga.
According to Mayco Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith, a Golden Arrow bus was hijacked, but members from the undercover Law Enforcement Unit were able to intercept the identified bus and arrest the hijacker.
“Additional LEAP officers have been deployed to buses operating on transport routes, with enforcement staff monitoring public transport interchanges,” he posted on Facebook. “The Ghost Squad, the Taxi Ghost Squad and Undercover Law Enforcement Unit are patrolling routes and shadowing buses that are operating.”
Smith added that while every citizen had the right to protest, it was the request of the taxi industry themselves to initiate the strike because of the enforcement action being brought against them, along with the termination of the provincial government’s Blue Dot programme.
“The choice to undermine that constitutional freedom to protest by resorting to destruction, arson and the attacks of competitors along with the threat of commuter safety, makes these criminal acts and must be condemned on all fronts,” he added.
“Our previous warnings will now translate into definite action and increased enforcement will commence in the Khayelitsha area in response to the violent protest action experienced earlier.”
Despite being somewhat quieter than usual, the Golden Arrow and MyCiti bus terminals were mostly open for business by 9am today. Minibus taxis, on the other hand, were conspicuously absent.