South Africa

Tshwane bus torched after a week returning to service

A Tshwane bus was left completely charred in Olievenhoutbosch on Friday, November 3.

According to reports, the bus driver was held at gunpoint and ordered to disembark the bus, which was then set alight close to the Shoprite on the R55.

Tshwane emergency services (EMS) spokesperson Charles Mabaso said a call was received at approximately 05:08 that a municipal bus was on fire.

“The EMS arrived on the scene to find the bus fully engulfed by fire.

The bus was extinguished even though it had burned down completely.”

Mabaso said the circumstances surrounding the incident were unknown and subject to investigation by law enforcement agencies.

No injury was reported.

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Screenshot of burning bus on November 3.

This flare-up in violence arrived at a time when the Tshwane bus service had been witnessing attacks from unknown people leaving the service non-operational for about three months.

The cessation in operations was due to lengthy disruptions at the alleged hands of municipal workers embarking on an unprotected strike.

The service however managed to overcome the attacks and started limited operations on October 23, with only 26 buses out of 160 daily.

The return to service had started on shaky ground on October 23, as most drivers refused to work citing safety.

The metro said it has opened nearly 50 cases, ranging from attempted murder to intimidation with the SAPS across Tshwane but remained concerned at the lack of progress in these investigations.

Tshwane MMC for Roads and Transport Katlego Mathebe said the Olievenhoutbosch shift was temporarily suspended until the police finished investigating the cause of the fire.

Mathebe said the metro also condemned the torching of the bus and called for swift action against perpetrators.

“This happened against the backdrop of the metro’s administration taking action against bus drivers who partook in an illegal strike.”

Mathebe encouraged the security cluster to continue to do more to ensure that the perpetrators face the full force of the law to restore order in bus services.

She said 107 of the 160 buses were operating and the metro would further provide necessary support services to the affected bus driver.

Mayor Cilliers Brink said the metro was trying very hard to keep its buses on the road, as well as ensure the safety of both drivers and commuters.

Brink said there had been 24 arrests so far, 19 of which were for public violence in the first few days of the strike action.

“We are fighting hard to keep these Tshwane buses on the road to serve our residents who can’t afford high taxi fares.”

Brink said this as he commuted on a bus to Garsfontein and interacted with passengers on their way from the Pretoria CBD.

“Many of our residents depend on the city bus service to get to work, school, and business. We will not suspend services, we will carry on and work with law enforcement to improve security,” Brink said.

He pledged that the metro would arrest all those who dared to disrupt services.

“I have spoken with a few commuters who have told me how important our services are to them. They have also told me they have spent a fortune in the last three months.”

He said talking with passengers made him more determined to ensure the metro kept this service going.


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*Please note this article has been amended

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