Intercape bus driver killed as violent attacks on the company escalate

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article

  • A 35-year-old Intercape bus driver died in a Cape Town hospital on Thursday. 
  • The long-distance bus company has come under attack recently. 
  • The company's CEO said the campaign of violent "business capture" or "industry cleansing" is being waged against it. 

A 35-year-old Intercape bus driver died in a Cape Town hospital on Thursday. He was shot and critically wounded outside the company's depot.

The attacks on long-distance bus operators started on Thursday and Friday in Gauteng and have left another two people injured.

In a statement released on Saturday, the company said days after Intercape went public about a violent campaign being waged against the industry by rogue taxi associations, three more of its buses came under attack.

Intercape chief executive operation Johann Ferreira has condemned the attacks.

He said:

We could no longer keep quiet about the extortion and violence directed at Intercape and the long-distance coach industry in this country. We made a public appeal to President Ramaphosa and the government, and this has since resulted in an escalation of attacks against Intercape coaches over these last two days.

Ferreira labelled the campaign of violence, which has included shootings, arson attacks and incidents of rock-throwing, as "business capture" or "industry cleansing", and called for support from the broader business sector, the labour movement, as well as civil society.

The bus company said in the past 13 months, there have been more than 150 recorded violent incidents, a number of which have led to serious injuries to employees and passengers of the bus operators in the long-distance coach industry.

READ | Bus company claims taxi industry is behind 'campaign of terror'

In one incident, the company added one of its buses was travelling from Pretoria to Mthatha and was shot at from an unknown sedan on the M2 highway in Johannesburg.

"A total of three shots were fired into the driver's side of the coach, with the final shot narrowly missing the driver. As the vehicle sped past, the assailants fired another five shots, the first, second and third shots hitting the windscreen and fourth and fifth rounds hitting the coach low on the front left side. The first shot narrowly missed the driver and co-driver who was sitting in the front window seat. The sedan vehicle sped away," it said.

"The Intercape driver managed to keep control of the coach, slowed down, and eventually pulled over safely to the side of the road. Intercape responders were on the scene and were later joined by Johannesburg Metro Police Department and SA Police Service members who took statements and collected and photographed evidence. The passengers were transferred to another coach to continue their journey. A case was registered at the Jeppe police station."

On Friday night at around 19:00, two buses came under attack.

The first bus was attacked at around 19:40 from Pretoria to Mthatha approaching the Geldenhuys Interchange from the M2 to join the N3 Highway.

The Intercape statement said:

Video footage from the bus appears to show a gunman stationed on the bridge who fired two shots at the coach, with one of the rounds striking a passenger in the leg. The driver, despite suffering facial injuries from the shattered glass fragments, drove straight to Germiston where he was met by a police vehicle that escorted the coach to Germiston police station. A Germiston Hospital ambulance arrived and treated the injured passenger and driver.

Also on Friday at 19:45, around 7km before Johannesburg Station on the M2, the occupants of an unidentified car driving in the fast lane opened fire on an Intercape coach travelling from Durban to Pretoria.

"The bullet was fired through the right-side driver's door and exited the left side window, injuring the driver who was struck by flying glass. An ER24 ambulance was contacted to meet the coach at JHB Station where the driver was treated," the company added.

Furthermore, no other injuries reported and passengers were transferred to another coach to continue their journey.

Ferreira said despite there being more than 150 reported incidents in the last year and more than 60 cases opened with various police stations, the majority in the Eastern Cape, there had not been a single arrest to date.

"These gunmen and the murderers of our employee in Cape Town are out there walking freely and brazenly and think nothing of shooting at innocent people," he added.

"How are we expected to operate as a licenced business when there are criminal elements who openly target us? This is anarchy, plain and simple, and unless this is stopped and dealt with decisively our country is on a path to self-destruction.

"Who in their right mind will ever want to invest time and money in an economy which is held hostage by criminal enterprises which operate as a law unto themselves and with complete impunity."

READ | Eight gunmen arrested for taxi violence in Newcastle, KZN, remanded in custody

The company said it had personally written to Ramaphosa and the government pleading for intervention to stop the campaign which it added was aimed at forcing it and other long-distance coach companies out of operating in certain regions and routes.

The company is currently engaging with the police at the National Joint Operational Intelligence Structure level to address the violent attacks.

According to the company, the attacks were mainly centred around key towns and routes in the Eastern Cape as well as in the Cape Metropole and Gauteng as taxi operators appeared intent on forcing companies like Intercape out of business through violent intimidation or extortion.

Some routes in the Eastern Cape have become complete no-go zones for buses as taxi associations seek to drive competition out of the region.

Never miss a story. Choose from our range of newsletters to get the news you want delivered straight to your inbox.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
How do you feel about the impending replacement of the Eskom board?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Finally, time for Eskom's new dawn!
6% - 23 votes
It’ll be new faces, same problems
47% - 188 votes
Great - as long as they keep CEO André de Ruyter
47% - 185 votes
Rand - Dollar
Rand - Pound
Rand - Euro
Rand - Aus dollar
Rand - Yen
Brent Crude
Top 40
All Share
Resource 10
Industrial 25
Financial 15
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.