Deadly Shootings, Stone Throwing: Under Siege Intercape Pleads For Help

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Intercape long-distance coach company is pleading for urgent intervention to stop the brazen attacks on its drivers and buses.

The latest attack Wednesday night – the third in the same week – the Intercape driver was shot at along Jakes Gerwel Drive as he was joining the N2 inbound near Langa.

Wounded in the stomach and leg, the driver lost control of the bus and crashed through a barrier before going down a steep embankment.

On Friday, the long-distance coach company made a passionate plea for help before the Western Cape Standing Committee on Transport and Public Works, as well as members of the senior provincial police management. 

There have been more than 150 incidents of intimidation, stoning and shootings since January 2021.

This year as many as 141 incidents targeting Intercape have been reported. In April, 35-year-old Intercape bus driver Bangikhaya Machana died after being shot outside the company’s depot.

These incidents include 92 acts of intimidation against Intercape, threatening staff and forcing passengers off coaches at gunpoint or under threat of violence.

However, Intercape said it remains committed to seeking a sustainable solution against the acts of violence and intimidation perpetuated against bus operators. 

Interccape proposed a series of immediate steps which it said will assist in alleviating the issues. They include:

  • Security cameras be installed on the bridge near the Intercape depot in Cape Town
  • That all incidents of violence and intimidation be investigated as crimes under the Prevention of Organised Crime Act (POCA)
  • That arrests be effected based on available evidence
  • Effective co-ordination between SAPS and Government
  • Plea for assistance and support from the private sector

Intercape CEO Johann Ferreira said: “We are a private company operating legally with all the necessary permits, but we have been subjected to a concerted campaign of violence at the hands of rogue taxi associations who are intent on forcing coach operators out of certain regions and from key routes. 

“They are doing this at the end of a barrel of a gun and authorities have done nothing to stop these attacks and prevent bloodshed.

“Instead, there have been attempts to intimidate and persuade us to be party to agreements around pricing structures and routes which amounts to price-fixing. 

“This is a serious criminal offence and Intercape refuses to participate in such acts.”

Ferreira said the campaign waged against the long-distance coach industry began in 2017, with threats and isolated incidents of intimidation. 

He said in the last two years, the number and intensity of incidents have escalated dramatically to the point where attackers now use automatic weapons.

“Intercape faces an incident of violence or intimidation nearly every other day,” Ferreira said. 

“Today it is the long-distance coach and construction industries. Who will it be tomorrow?” 

“We are pleading with the private sector and all right-minded South Africans to stand up and make their voices heard against this blatant extortion and thuggery.”