Cape Town – The Golden Arrow bus company has confirmed four suspects have been arrested in connection with recent bus robberies.
It also said at least three criminals had recently been convicted in court for similar offences.
The Golden Arrow Bus Services said these arrests were made with assistance and collaboration from the SAPS and the City of Cape Town’s safety and security directorate, which is augmented by the provincial government’s Law Enforcement Advancement Programme (Leap) officers.
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has also spoken out and shown his support for targeted interventions involving multiple role-players.
“While these arrests are welcomed, we need to look at ways to prevent crime affecting bus services altogether. This requires a co-ordinated approach involving multiple role-players. Some long-distance bus services are also being targeted by criminals and this is intolerable.
“As the Western Cape Government, we will continue to invest – along with our partners – in measures to protect bus commuters and drivers,” he said.
The City of Cape Town’s Mayco member for safety and security, JP Smith, said his portfolio is also committed to making public transport safe.
“We’ve seen an increase in attacks on buses, not only during incidents of unrest, but also robberies. Through the deployment of our resources and a close working relationship with other role-players, the City has helped to safeguard the bus service. We remain committed to doing everything possible to safeguard the thousands of commuters who rely on the service daily,” he said.
Meanwhile, Western Cape Police Commissioner Lieutenant-General Thembisile Patekile said the SAPS would continue to focus on catching “these brazen perpetrators”.
“To ensure the safety of commuters, SAPS in the Western Cape has prioritised the transport industry, with frequent and focused operations being conducted throughout the province to quell the violence on local and long-distance routes and bring to book those responsible for these ruthless attacks.
“Inroads are being made by our investigation team as indicated by recent arrests and convictions in this regard, and we will maintain our strong stance and presence in partnership with other role-players so that we can break the back of criminality threatening the safety and security of the public transport system in this province,” Patekile said.
Golden Arrow’s general manager, Derick Meyer, said the bus company operates in areas with the highest crime rates in the Metropole and these criminal elements do not only target the bus services but also surrounding businesses, motorists and pedestrians.
“We therefore believe that it is very important not to label these criminal acts as a Golden Arrow issue. These individuals and syndicates terrorise entire communities and must face the full might of the law.
“We are grateful to all role-players who have worked tirelessly to take these criminals off our streets. While we believe that more resources are urgently needed to address the scourge of crime, we recognise that there are many dedicated officials who deserve the highest praise for their commitment to making Cape Town safe for all of us,” Meyer said.
Meyer said the successes were as a result of a number of on-board safety features, including cameras, which have been rolled out to more than 80% of the fleet with the other 20% still scheduled for fitment.
“These have been fitted in collaboration with the provincial Department of Transport and we would once again like to assure our passengers and employees that Golden Arrow will do everything possible to ensure arrests and successful convictions.
“We remain committed to assisting the authorities in any way that we can and will continue to lobby for the rights of our passengers and employees,” Meyer added.