Brett Herron, the mayoral committee member for transport and urban development in the City of Cape Town, believes that criminals are hell-bent on bringing public transport in the Metro South-east to a complete halt.
He was commenting after eight MyCiTi buses were allegedly stoned in Langa, Mitchell’s Plain and Khayelitsha over the weekend. He said this was the highest number of attacks in a single weekend and described them as “senseless”.
Mr Heron condemned the attacks and appealed to residents to come forward with information. He said the stonings could be related to the ongoing suspension of the train service on the Central line. Trains on this line, which includes Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain, were suspended more than two weeks ago after the shooting of a security guard at Chris Hani train station (“Commuters battle train trouble”, Vukani, January 25) . The service has also been hampered by the ongoing vandalism of Metrorail infrastructure.Thousands of commuters have been left stranded as a result and efforts to assist stranded commuters are continuing.The City said it deployed additional MyCiTi buses on the N2 Express routes since December, but cautioned against sabotage of public transport.
“The sabotage of public transport services in the Metro South-east has reached unprecedented levels,” Mr Herron said. “The Metrorail Central line has experienced severe disruptions the past few weeks, and is currently temporarily suspended. It seems that criminals are now also focusing on destabilising the MyCiTi bus service.” At least eight incidents were reported between Friday and Saturday January 26 and 27.
“We have never before had so many attacks on our buses on one weekend. Most disturbingly, one of our passengers was injured and had glass splinters removed from his eyes,” said Mr Herron. He said the stoning incidents happened while the buses were driving along the N2 freeway opposite Langa, along AZ Berman Drive in Mitchell’s Plain, and in Site C in Khayelitsha. “As far as I am concerned, criminals are hell-bent on bringing public transport in the Metro South-east to a complete halt. They are now targeting the MyCiTi service because many rail commuters are relying on our buses to get to work and school,” he said.
He said in the meantime, all enforcement agencies was assisting with the monitoring of public transport routes, and MyCiTi buses are being deviated from potential hot spots as far as possible.
Public Transport Voice media and communications officer, Dalton Ndongeni, said it was unfortunate that there were individuals attacking transport in the city. Mr Ndongei called on all transport stakeholders to have transport commissions where issues could be investigated. He said the attack on MyCiTi was an attack on people who were using trains.
“We discourage these stupid attacks on the buses. These buses are here to serve the community and transfer commuters to their working destinations. We are in a transport crisis and (yet) there are individuals attacking the buses. We all have to condemn this,” he said.
Mr Ndongeni also called for the crackdown on illegal scrap yards which, he said, were the reason that trains are not operating. He said most of these scrap yards operated without a licence. Mr Ndongeni called on transport stakeholders to unite and fight crime.The City has called on anyone with information about these incidents or other suspicious activities to contact the Transport Information Centre on 0800 65 64 63.