STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER: TRANSPORT FOR CAPE TOWN, COUNCILLOR BRETT HERRON
The City of Cape Town is extremely concerned about the devastating consequences that the violent protests and vandalism of MyCiTi stations has on the law-abiding residents of Dunoon.
Over the past six weeks, at least three of the MyCiTi stations along Potsdam Road had to be closed for several days, denying MyCiTi commuters from Dunoon access to essential public transport services to get to work to provide for their families. Furthermore, the Phoenix station on Omuramba Road has been closed since 15 March 2016.
I have extracted commuter statistics for the MyCiTi stations at Usasaza, Dunoon, Killarney and Phoenix to determine how many of our residents have been affected. Today I can confirm that over 3 000 commuters from Dunoon and the surrounding areas have been adversely affected on a daily basis by the thuggish behaviour of a small group of troublemakers who have no regard for the law.The 3 000 commuters have, in all likelihood, bought Mover Points to travel on the MyCiTi service and do not have additional cash available to spend on other forms of public transport because they rely on the MyCiTi service to reach their destinations. Thus, not only are these residents denied from access to public transport, they have also been denied the opportunity to provide for their families.
We are aware of the fact that these thugs intimidated, threatened and prevented MyCiTi drivers residing in Dunoon from reporting for work. We have anecdotal evidence that other residents from Dunoon suffered the same fate.
The damage to two MyCiTi stations along Potsdam Road and the Phoenix station in Omuramba Road collectively amounts to at least R2,5 million.
The details are as follows:
Phoenix station: attacked on 15 March 2016 – protesters placed burning tyres in front of the station entrance, causing extensive damage to the shutter doors, glass and ceiling panels and front of the building
Dunoon station: attacked on 20 March 2016 and 17 April 2016 – protesters threw bricks and stones, damaging the glass panels; and a petrol bomb and burning mattress were thrown into the station building
Usasaza station: attacked on 21, 22 and 23 March 2016 and 18 April 2016 – protesters threw bricks and stones, damaging the glass panels, sliding doors and building; and burned tyres on the bus rapid transport road (red lane) designated for the MyCiTi buses
Due to the damage to the above stations and the ongoing violence over this six-week period, we have closed some of the stations in the interests of the safety of our commuters and personnel:
the Phoenix station is still not operational and has now been out of service for 39 days due to extensive damage
the Dunoon station was closed from 21 to 25 March 2016 and has been out of service since the attack on 17 April 2016, also due to extensive damage
the Usasaza station was closed from 21 to 25 March 2016 and has been out of service since the attack on 18 April 2016, also due to extensive damage
the Killarney station was closed from 21 to 25 March 2016 due to the ongoing violence in the area, and is out of service whenever the violent protests flare up
It will take at least six weeks for the stations to be repaired and operational again. In the meantime it is the local community who suffers the most.
Apart from these attacks, a MyCiTi bus was stoned along Montague Drive in March 2016 and protesters on several occasions prevented our buses from leaving the Stables depot in Dunoon to commence with the MyCiTi service for the morning peak-hour period.
The closure of stations, intimidation of MyCiTi personnel, and the protests at the Stables depot have caused major delays and disruptions to the very popular and busy T01and T04 trunk services from Dunoon, as well as the Table View feeder services for the past six weeks.
I am pleading with the law-abiding residents from Dunoon to please work with us and to report those responsible for these deplorable acts to the Transport Information Centre on 0800 65 64 63 or the local police.
I give my commitment that we will try everything within our means to carry out the repairs as speedily as possible and to keep the MyCiTi stations operational, bearing in mind the safety of commuters and our personnel.
Furthermore, when the situation dictates the closure of stations, we will try to assist commuters with alternative boarding arrangements. For instance, during the past week we have installed a temporary stop on Stables Way in Dunoon for commuters to board the MyCiTi buses manually by tapping in and out.
The local police in Table View are investigating two cases and the police in Milnerton another case relating to the vandalism of the MyCiTi infrastructure. We are eager for the South African Police Service to make arrests so that the perpetrators can be brought to book.
As much as we respect residents’ right to protest peacefully, we cannot allow the disruption of essential services such as the MyCiTi bus service, or for protesters to intimidate and threaten City staff and other residents. The residents from Dunoon and the surrounding suburbs have every right to decent public transport.
I once again appeal to community leaders and political parties to conduct their campaigns peacefully and within the ambit of the law.