May 28, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Intercape driver dies as gunmen target long-distance bus company

A 35-year-old Intercape bus driver died in a Cape Town hospital on Thursday after being shot outside the company’s depot.

The death was followed by attacks on the Gauteng bus operator’s fleet.

In a statement on Saturday, the company said the attacks came days after it became known of a “violent campaign by rogue taxi unions against the industry”.

The Gauteng attacks, in which two people were injured, occurred Thursday and Friday evening.

“It came after Intercape, one of the largest and oldest companies in the industry, urged President Cyril Ramaphosa and the government to take urgent action to to stop the violence against the long-distance bus industry,” the company said.

“A 35-year-old Intercape bus driver died in a Cape Town hospital on Thursday after being shot and in critical condition half of the company’s depot.

“In just 13 months, over 150 violent incidents have been recorded, some of which have resulted in serious injuries to employees and passengers of bus companies in the long-distance bus industry.”

The company said attackers in a car opened fire on one of its buses traveling from Pretoria to Mthatha on the M2 in Johannesburg just after 7pm on Thursday.

“ A total of three shots were fired at the driver’s side of the coach, with the last shot narrowly missing the driver,” the statement said.

“As the vehicle sped past, the attackers fired a further five shots, with the first, second and third shots hit the windshield and the fourth and fifth shots deep hit the front left side of the bus. The first shot narrowly missed the driver and front passenger sitting in the front window seat. The limousine sped away.

“The Intercape driver managed to maintain control of the bus, slowed down and eventually pulled safely to the curb. The passengers were transferred to another bus to continue their journey. One case was registered at the Jeppe police station.”

Two other buses were attacked on Friday. The first was attacked at 7.40pm as it approached the Geldenhuys junction from the M2 to join the N3. It also ran from Pretoria to Mthatha.

“Video footage from the bus appears to show a gunman stationed on the bridge firing two shots at the bus, one of the shots hitting a passenger in the leg,” it says the statement said.

“Despite facial injuries from the shattered glass, the driver drove straight to Germiston, where he was met by a police vehicle, which escorted the bus to Germiston Police Station. An ambulance from Germiston Hospital arrived and treated the injured passenger and driver.

“Also on Friday evening at 7.45pm, approximately 7km from Johannesburg train station on the M2 motorway, the occupants of an unidentified vehicle pulled up Cars Too Fast Lane opened fire on an Intercape coach traveling from Durban to Pretoria.

“The bullet was fired through the driver’s right door and exited the left side window, injuring the driver who was by flying glass.

“An ER24 ambulance was called to collect the bus at Johannesburg train station where the driver was treated. No other injuries were reported and the passengers were transferred to another bus to continue their journey.”

Johann Ferreira, CEO of Intercape, condemned the attacks.

“We could to stop hiding the blackmail and violence against Intercape and the long-distance bus industry in this country. We have made public appeals to President Ramaphosa and the government, and this has since led to an escalation in attacks on Intercape trainers over the past two days.”

Ferreira said there were more than 150 60 criminal cases were opened without arrests. He said most of the incidents took place in the Eastern Cape.

“These gunmen and our collaborator’s killers in Cape Town are out there walking free and bold and not thinking about shooting at innocent people,” Ferreira said .

“How are we supposed to operate as a licensed company when there are criminal elements openly targeting us? This is anarchy, pure and simple, and unless this is stopped and decisively addressed, our country is on a path to self-destruction.”

Ferreira described the shootings, arson attacks and stone-throwing incidents as “Business Capture” or “Industry Cleanup”.

He called for support from the broader corporate sector, the labor movement and civil society.

“Who has their right to put time and money into a economy held hostage by criminal corporations operating as a law for themselves and with complete impunity?” he said.

“Today it’s the long-distance bus, mining and construction industries, tomorrow it will there may be other sectors of the economy that simply cannot afford to shed more jobs and they need to create the right climate for investment to stimulate and grow our economy.”

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