Saturday, March 25, 2023 | After passenger is shot, Intercape wants to force police to... | After passenger is shot, Intercape wants to force police to escort buses in ECape




A vandalised Intercape bus from last year.

A vandalised Intercape bus from last year.

  • On Wednesday night, a passenger was shot while travelling in an Intercape bus – the latest attack on the company’s buses.
  • The company accuses taxi associations, particularly in the Eastern Cape, of targeting it.
  • It has taken new court action to force government and the police to take action. 
  • For more financial news, go to the News24 Business front page.

Long-distance bus company Intercape has again turned to the court in another attempt to force government and the police to protect it from violent attacks in the Eastern Cape.

This comes after a passenger was shot while travelling in an Intercape bus on its way from Pretoria to Gqeberha around midnight on Wednesday night. The bus came under fire at in the Penhoek Pass on the N6 in the direction of Bloemfontein, Intercape says. The passenger was taken to hospital for treatment.

“How can we allow criminals to shoot up a coach carrying innocent people,” Johann Ferreira, CEO of Intercape, said in a statement.

Also on Wednesday, Intercape says its staff and security were threatened repeatedly by taxi operators in Idutywa in the Eastern Cape, and the N2 highway near Idutywa was blocked off for several hours by local taxi associations.

Earlier this year, one of its buses was stoned near Cradock, while its buses in Butterworth and Idutywa were also prevented from loading passengers.

In September, Intercape won a case against the police and national and provincial transport authorities, which compelled them to come up with an action plan to keep its drivers and passengers safe. This followed up with another court judgment which compelled former Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula to “urgently” address the attacks. There have been more than 150 attacks on Intercape buses, many of them in the Eastern Cape.

But the bus company says there has not been government action and its proposedplan did not comply with the requirements of the court order; it wasn’t comprehensive or rigorous enough.

Meanwhile, Intercape has been targeted by more violence after it returned to “hot spot” areas in the Eastern Cape this year, and accused “emboldened” taxi operators of targeting its operations and passengers. 

It has opened 150 cases with the SAPS in the Eastern Cape, but there have not been any arrests despite “overwhelming evidence of criminality”, Intercape says. The company was forced to spend R1 million on private security in only twenty days earlier this year.

Now Intercape wants the court to force government to revise its action plan, and it also wants at least two armed police officers at every loading point in Cofimvaba, Butterworth, Engcobo, Tshomo and Idutywa in the Eastern Cape, and for the police to escort its buses on “hotspot” routes.

It filed a 44-page affidavit at the Makhanda High Court on Thursday.

“We should never be in a position where this type of violent criminality becomes normalised, and the State does precisely nothing,” said Ferreira.

 “The justice system correctly compels them to act and they just ignore court orders. Are we an irretrievable gangster state? Should we all just give up?”

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