- Police Minister Bheki Cele has vowed to meet with long-distance bus services amid concerns of a violent campaign against the industry.
- Cele said more highway patrols were on the cards to protect buses.
- It has been revealed that police have made no arrest in the nine cases reported since 2021.
Police Minister Bheki Cele has vowed to meet with long-distance bus companies amid concerns of violence, extortion and intimidation in the industry.
Speaking to reporters in Athlone, Cape Town, on Monday, Cele said he was planning a meeting with bus companies as well as the taxi industry.
The long-distance bus industry warned that the attacks were becoming increasingly violent and sophisticated.
Cele said the police were considering boosting the number of police officers on highways.
"It's impossible for us to patrol all the roads, but what we want to do is patrol the routes these bus companies drive on because that is very important, especially for the passengers," he said.
The Intercape bus company last week briefed the Western Cape legislature's standing committee on transport. At the briefing, it was revealed that police had made no arrests in the nine cases of violence and intimidation which were reported by the long-distance industry by April 2021.
Intercape said that so far there had been more than 80 attacks in 2022, including 19 shootings and 29 incidents of rocks being thrown. There were 150 attacks in 2021.
In one of the most recent attacks last Wednesday, a driver travelling on the N2 heading to Cape Town Station to fetch passengers was shot and wounded near the Jakes Gerwel Drive turn-off. He tried to take the off-ramp to get away and seek help but was injured, and the bus careened down a slope. The driver was taken to hospital.
A short while later, a second Intercape coach was shot at in the same area. No one was injured, and there were no passengers on board at the time. The coach was taken to the depot. On Sunday, a driver was shot and wounded outside the depot. He was in a serious but stable condition.
News24 previously reported that taxi associations were trying to squeeze bus companies out of the market by threatening their drivers, shooting at them, throwing rocks at buses, and limiting their use of stops in the Eastern Cape, causing millions of rands in damages and losses.
How safe is your neighbourhood? Find out by using News24's CrimeCheck
Golden Arrow Bus Services told the standing committee that 85% of the attacks on its buses and passengers were in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, and the motive was primarily to rob people of money and devices.
Golden Arrow said it had installed drop safes, panic buttons and CCTV cameras, and all buses were tracked live with the help of a joint operations centre. Between January and July, there were 110 armed robberies on its buses.
"While the insights from police and the transport department on this crisis in the transport industry were welcomed, it is apparent that there is a lack of political will from Pretoria to address this wanton violence and criminality," committee chairperson Ricardo McKenzie said.