Violent Attacks On Intercape Continue, Three More Buses Shot At

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Three more Intercape buses have been attacked since the coach company first went public this week about a violent campaign waged against the industry by rogue taxi associations.

The attacks, all in Gauteng, took place on Thursday and Friday evening and left two people injured.

It came after Intercape, one of the industry’s largest and longest-standing companies, appealed to President Cyril Ramaphosa and the government to urgently intervene to stop the violence directed at the long-distance coach industry.

A 35-year-old Intercape bus driver died in a Cape Town hospital on Thursday days after being shot and critically wounded outside the company’s depot.

In the space of just 13 months, there have been more than 150 recorded violent incidents, several of which have led to serious injuries to employees and passengers of the bus operators in the Long-Distance Coach industry.
The latest attacks include:

·   On Thursday night at 19:19, an Intercape bus en route from Pretoria to Umtata was shot at from within an unknown sedan vehicle on the M2 highway in Johannesburg.

Three shots were fired into the driver’s side of the coach, with the final shot narrowly missing the driver.

As the vehicle sped past, the assailants fired another five shots, the first, second and third shots hitting the windscreen and fourth and fifth rounds hitting the coach low on the front left side.

The first shot narrowly missed the driver and co-driver who was sitting in the front window seat.

The sedan vehicle sped away.

The Intercape driver managed to keep control of the coach, slowed down, and eventually pulled over safely to the side of the road.

Intercape responders were on the scene and were later joined by Johannesburg Metro Police Department and SA Police Service members who took statements and collected and photographed evidence.

The passengers were transferred to another coach to continue their journey. A case was registered at the Jeppe police station

·  On Friday night at 19:40, an Intercape bus en route from Pretoria to Umtata came under attack as it was approaching the Geldenhuys Interchange from the M2 to join the N3 Highway.

Video footage from the bus appears to show a gunman stationed on the bridge who fired two shots at the coach, with one of the rounds striking a passenger in the leg.

The driver, despite suffering facial injuries from the shattered glass fragments, drove straight to Germiston where he was met by a police vehicle that escorted the coach to the Germiston Police Station.

A Germiston Hospital ambulance arrived and treated the injured passenger and driver.

·  Also on Friday night, at 19H45, around seven km before Johannesburg Station on the M2 highway, the occupants of an unidentified car driving in the fast lane opened fire on an Intercape coach travelling from Durban to Pretoria.

The bullet was fired through the right-side driver’s door and exited the left-side window, injuring the driver who was struck by flying glass.

An ER24 Ambulance was contacted to meet the coach at JHB Station where the driver was treated.

No other injuries were reported and passengers were transferred to another coach to continue their journey.

Intercape CEO Johann Ferreira said: “We could no longer keep quiet about the extortion and violence directed at Intercape and the long-distance coach industry in this country and we made a public appeal to President Ramaphosa and government and this has since resulted in an escalation of attacks against Intercape coaches over these last two days.”

He said despite over 150 reported incidents in the last year and more than 60 cases opened with various police stations, mostly in the Eastern Cape, not a single arrest has been made.

The attacks were mainly centred around key towns and routes in the Eastern Cape.

However, there have been attacks in the Cape Metropole and Gauteng as taxi operators appear intent on forcing companies like Intercape out of business through violent intimidation or extortion.

In some instances, taxi operators in the Eastern Cape have forced passengers off coaches or warned them against boarding.

Some routes in the Eastern Cape have become complete no-go zones for buses as taxi associations seek to drive competition out of the region.

“These gunmen and the murderers of our employee in Cape Town are out there walking freely and brazenly and think nothing of shooting at innocent people,” Ferreira said.

“How are we expected to operate as a licenced business when there are criminal elements who openly target us? This is anarchy, plain and simple, and unless this is stopped and dealt with decisively our country is on a path to self-destruction.”

Ferreira labelled the campaign of violence which has included shootings, arson attacks and incidents of rock throwing, as “business capture” or “industry cleansing”, and further called for support from the broader business sector, the labour movement, as well as civil society.

“Who in their right mind will ever want to invest time and money in an economy which is held hostage by criminal enterprises who operate as a law unto themselves and with complete impunity.

“Today it is the long-distance coach, the mining and construction industries, tomorrow it will be other sectors of the economy which simply cannot afford to shed any more jobs and which need to create the right climate for investment in order to stimulate and grow our economy.”

Apart from writing to President Ramaphosa to alert him of the violence plaguing the industry, Intercape said it was engaging with the South African Police Service at the National Joint Operational Intelligence Structure level in a bid to address the violent attacks.

UNDER FIRE: An Intercape bus is shot at by gunmen in Johannesburg along the M2 highway in Johannesburg on Friday night