From the news desk

Eight held for Mfuleni bus damage

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Eight people were arrested on Tuesday for allegedly setting two trucks alight and damaging a bus in Mfuleni, Cape Town, Western Cape police said.

Batteries and cellphones were stolen during the violent protest, Captain Frederick van Wyk said.

“The suspects are detained on charges relating to malicious damage to property, possession of stolen property, robbery, theft and public violence,” he said.

They would appear in the Blue Downs Magistrate’s Court soon.

Eight buses in total were torched and four others were badly damaged during the protests which began on Monday in the area.

Eleven bus drivers were pulled from their vehicles and assaulted.

Bus company Golden Arrow spokeswoman Bronwen Dyke said while the crowd could have been taxi drivers who were protesting, the company preferred not to speculate and would leave it to police to investigate.

A taxi driver was shot dead during the violent protest on Monday.

The 39-year-old man from Zwelitsha was apparently shot while on his way to work.

Two MyCiti buses were vandalised in the vicinity on Monday. One was stoned on the N2 freeway and another set alight on Mew Way in Khayelitsha.

Golden Arrow buses had been operating on the outskirts of Delft, Mfuleni, and Nyanga since Monday afternoon.

Dyke said bus services resumed in Delft on Tuesday morning.

Due to possible threats to safety, bus services had been pulled out of Samora Machel and were operating on the outskirts of the area.

Van Wyk warned those who were involved in “destroying property and the violation of human rights”.

“The SA Police Service recognises and respects the rights of people to embark on peaceful protests as enshrined in the Constitution of the country, however, if such actions involve violence and infringement of other people’s rights, including the destruction of property, the police are obliged to take action,” he said.

“Nobody has got the right to take the law into his/her hands regardless of the reasons to justify such actions.”

Advocacy organisation Public Transport Voice (PTV) on Tuesday condemned the violent protests in the area.

“Even though PTV condemns any acts of violence that happened to Golden Arrow Buses… PTV calls for calm and an initiation of workable solutions to all parties affected by the violence,” spokesman Zingisani Nkanjeni said in a statement.

He said that despite attempts to overhaul the system, public transport in the country remained unequal.

“[Twenty] years after democracy the public transport system received by working class people in South Africa remains vastly unequal to an extent that some people are losing their jobs, students missing exams, people missing their appointments.

“Public transport system was the foundation upon which inequality was fashioned during the years of apartheid, but unequal public transport system opportunities still remain amongst the greatest obstacles to equality, dignity and freedom in today’s South Africa.” SAPA

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