STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER FOR TRANSPORT AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT, COUNCILLOR BRETT HERRON
The City of Cape Town condemns in the strongest possible terms the attacks on MyCiTi buses this morning, 18 September 2017, which have left commuters injured and thousands of others stranded. Read more below:
Two passengers, including a pregnant commuter, were injured this morning when a MyCiTi bus was stoned in Khayelitsha. One of the commuters was hit in the face by a flying rock and the pregnant commuter fell during the violent attack near the Kuyasa stop. Both women were severely traumatised and admitted to hospital for treatment.
As at 11:00 this morning, four MyCiTi buses were stoned – in Dunoon, Mfuleni, and Khayelitsha; and one bus was set alight and burnt out in a separate attack that took place on the N2 highway under the Symphony Way bridge.
The Phoenix MyCiTi station, as well as four other MyCiTi stations – Dunoon, Usasaza, Circle East and Killarney – have been closed until further notice.
Apart from the violence, some taxi drivers have been threatening MyCiTi bus drivers who are operating in Imizamo Yethu, Dunoon, Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain. Striking taxi drivers also instructed the MyCiTi personnel at the Woodbridge station in Milnerton to close the station and threatened to ‘come back later and check on them’.
MyCiTi personnel who were being transported in Khayelitsha were forced out of their vehicle, and another shift vehicle was hijacked in Philippi early this morning.I am appalled by the violence and intimidation associated with the strike action by local taxi drivers. There is absolutely no justification for this criminal behaviour by those who prefer stones, threats, and fire to peaceful protest and negotiation.
This violent conduct is shameful and the South African National Taxi Council must take responsibility for their members’ conduct. The South African Police Service must arrest those involved and they must be charged and prosecuted.
The N2 Express service operating between Mitchells Plain, Khayelitsha and the Civic Centre station, as well as the service operating between the Cape Town International Airport and the Civic Centre station have been suspended until further notice.
The very busy and popular T01 trunk route service between Dunoon, Table View, the Civic Centre and the V&A Waterfront was also affected during the morning peak-hour period due to violence and intimidation by striking taxi drivers who were preventing MyCiTi buses from leaving the Stables depot in Dunoon.
Buses operating on the T01 and T04 trunk routes between Dunoon and the Civic Centre and Century City, as well as those operating on Route 109 in Hout Bay and Imizamo Yethu, and Route 261 between Omuramba, Maitland, and Salt River are being deviated until further notice.
It seems that the attacks on our public transport services have been planned in advance and that some of the taxi drivers went out on strike with the sole intention to target our commuters, personnel, buses and infrastructure.
Rumours that the some of the taxi drivers planned to target public transport services such as the MyCiTi service and the Golden Arrow Bus Service surfaced yesterday, 17 September 2017. The City informed the South African Police Service and all of our law enforcement agencies were also on standby to provide assistance.
We will continue to monitor the MyCiTi routes. Route deviations and the suspension of services will remain in place until further notice in the interest of the safety of commuters and MyCiTi personnel.
All of our residents must join us in condemning the violent attacks on our public transport system. It is the communities who are dependent on public transport for their mobility who suffer the most – key among them women and children. Lower-income families spend, on average, up to 43% of their monthly income on transport costs and in some parts of Cape Town the costs are as high as 60%.
We are working day and night to bring down the public transport costs so that Cape Town is more equitable and accessible to those in need.
Those who randomly destroy our public transport infrastructure when aggrieved are depriving law-abiding residents of their right to affordable, accessible and safe public transport.