Eleven buses were torched in Nyanga and Phillipi on Monday morning, after protest action. The body of a man, said to be a taxi driver, was found behind the Nyanga taxi rank. Two buses were torched at Nyanga bus terminus, eight at Govan Mbeki and New Eisleben and one at Lansdowne road.
Eleven bus drivers were assaulted during these attacks in Nyanga and Philippi East during the morning peak hours, while the passengers escaped unharmed.
A total of seven Golden Arrow buses were torched and completely destroyed, with another four buses extensively damaged by stones and rocks.
The fire and rescue team were on the scene to extinguish the fire. Police are monitoring the area.
“No arrests were made yet and no injuries were reported. We ask commuters and road users to refrain from using these areas and use alternative routes,” said SAPS spokesperson FC Wyk.
A mob of angry protesters set two buses alight at Nyanga terminus, injuring two bus drivers in the process. The protest action spread to New Eisleben and Govan Mbeki where nine more were damaged.
“The angry protesters pulled out two of our bus drivers and assaulted them and proceeded to torch two buses,” said Golden Arrow spokesperson Bronwyn Dyke.
Due to unmanageable conditions, bus services in the Nyanga area will be temporarily out of service. There will be alternative services operating outside Nyanga at the N2 and Manenberg police station until further notice.
“Obviously because we cannot assure the safety our passengers and staff we therefore can not operate in the Nyanga area at the moment,” said Dyke.
“In Nyanga area, the situation is still very volatile,” added Western Cape traffic chief Kenny Africa.
The City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport Councillor Brett Herron condemned the violence, describing it as an “orchestrated attack” on public transport services.
“We are yet to be informed of the reasons for these attacks, but we do know it was an orchestrated effort and that it happened simultaneously at different spots across Nyanga and Philippi East. Importantly, we welcome the fact that our partners in the taxi industry have disowned and condemned these attacks,” he said.
“The City of Cape Town will not tolerate this anarchy and the erosion of the majority’s commitment to resolving differences in a peaceful manner; neither will we allow a small group of thugs to disrupt the lives of law-abiding residents.”
Herron said the cost of this type of destruction on the economy is “enormous and of grave concern”.
Thousands of commuters were either late for work or never reached their destinations at all. Some would have lost their income, and once again the most economically vulnerable among us are the victims of this senseless campaign.”
Golden Arrow is planning to meet up with SAPS officials later on Monday to resolve matters. VOC (Nailah Cornelissen)