Three buses, truck torched in Cape Town protest, leaving matric exam writers stranded

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Buses torched  in Khayelitsha.
Buses torched in Khayelitsha.
Supplied, Angus McKenzie
  • Three buses and a truck were torched in Khayelitsha in Cape Town, leaving some matric pupils unable to get to their exam venues on time.
  • The Public Order Police and other law enforcement units were present at what police say appears to be a service delivery protest. 
  • Key roads in the area including parts of the N2 national route have been closed.

Three buses and a truck were torched in Khayelitsha in Cape Town on Thursday, leaving some matrics unable to get to their exam venues on time as protests erupted around the N2.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said the Public Order Police were at the scene of what appeared to be a service delivery protest. 

The attacks on the public transport and the truck were in Makaza, along Baden Powell Drive.

This turned key traffic routes in the area into no-go zones, making it difficult for some pupils to get to their schools safely.

City of Cape Town Traffic spokesperson Kevin Jacobs said these are: 

  • the N2 inbound at Macassar Road; 
  • the N2 outbound at Borcherds Quarry;
  • the R300 link on to the N2 outbound towards Somerset West in both directions;
  • and, Baden Powell Drive between Japhta K Masemola and the N2.

Golden Arrow Bus Service spokesperson Bronwen Dyke-Beyer said the company was thankful that early indications are that nobody was hurt during the attacks on their buses. 

The buses cost around R2.4m each.

READ | Protesters block N2 in Cape Town

"At this stage the motive is unknown, but there was protest action taking place in various areas. We have had to move our services to the old Makhaya terminus as a precautionary measure," she said.

"We condemn this in the strongest possible terms, our passengers need to get to work and the matric pupils making use of our services particularly need to be able to travel timeously and without hindrance."

READ HERE | By-elections: Makhura makes service delivery promises to Soweto residents who blocked voting stations

The Western Cape Department of Education issued an urgent notice to say that, in light of the disruptions to the morning commute, pupils could start writing up to 10:00 and would get the full time for their papers.

If large numbers could not make it in time for the 10:00 start, the department would start discussing the possibility of a back-up paper with the national Department of Basic Education.

ALSO READ | 'It's Eskom's fault' - Umzinyathi mayor after protesters dig up road over lack of electricity, water

There was no space at other exam centres because of social distancing and not having enough extra exam papers on hand.

"We appeal to communities to consider the candidates and their futures. They have been through so much this year, and such actions have extreme consequences for these learners," said spokesperson Bronagh Hammond. 

The attacks were condemned by Angus McKenzie of the City of Cape Town's transport committee. 

"It is critical that [the police] leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of this absolute barbaric thuggery," he said.

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