Cape Town – A total of 69 violent attacks on long-distance buses took place in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape in the current financial year, national police top brass told MPs.
To date, no firearms have been found, though 80 suspects have been traced.
There are two cases before Eastern Cape courts and four cases of intimidation being probed by police in the Western Cape, where there have been two arrests – one for murder and one for attempted murder.
This emerged during deputy commissioner Lieutenant-General Tebello Mosikili’s presentation of the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure’s stability report before the tourism portfolio committee.
She said bus-related incidents mainly include malicious injury to property, intimidation, assault, attempted murder and murder.
“Statistics show that Intercape is the most targeted company, it accounts for 69 cases registered for 2022/2023. Eastern and Western Cape Provinces have registered 61 and 8 cases respectively,” Lieutenant-General Mosikili said.
These incidents took place despite numerous informal meetings between long-distance bus owners and taxi bosses in both the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape.
“Bus companies were subjected to paying the expenses for the meetings, such as the cost of flights,” said Mosikili.
She said the main issues raised in the meetings were bus fares, limitation of buses travelling between the two provinces and protection fees.
Lieutenant-General Mosikili said Intercape experienced the “more serious shootings” since July.
“It is alleged that the taxi industry has threatened acts of violence should their demands as outlined not be complied with,” Lieutenant-General Mosikili said.
“(There are) allegations of high-profile taxi owners and hitmen instigating the acts of extortion and attacks on long-distance buses. Intercape has reportedly resisted paying extortion fees, resulting in incidents.”
Intercape chief executive Johann Ferreira has lodged a complaint with President Ramaphosa, calling for urgent intervention to stop the violence against long-distance buses.
Mosikili said detectives, crime intelligence and provincial operations co-ordinating committees and visible policing units, bus companies and the National Prosecuting Authority were working together on the matter.
She said Crime Intelligence was working on early warnings and coming up with analysis, while detectives were tracing suspects and prioritising Prevention of Organised Crime Act, racketeering and money laundering cases.
“In the Eastern Cape, the suspects target the buses on the way to various destinations by stoning them, shooting at them or draining the passengers. In the Western Cape, all incidents were shooting incidents at buses in close proximity to the depot in Bishop Lavis,” Mosikili said.
“The suspects place stones on the road, forcing the driver to stop, and upon the stopping of the bus, they throw stones at it. This modus operandi was noted in Cradock in particular.
“Intelligence further indicated that taxi bosses demanded that Intercape pay for the cost of the flights and accommodation when travelling from the Eastern Cape to attend meetings.”
She said the N1 and N2 were hot spots in the Western Cape. Gauteng incidents are sporadic, police said.
Lieutenant-General Thembisile Patekile said provincial police were in constant communication with the Eastern Cape police.