Harsh punishment waits for those burning MyCiTi buses, says the City of Cape Town, which claims recent attacks on the service have cost the public purse R18 million.
In the latest incident, a bus was torched at the Crassula bus stop along Koeberg Road, in Milnerton, on Wednesday November 21. The driver escaped unhurt but the bus was left a charred wreck.
Three men boarded the bus, according to a City statement, doused it with petrol and set it alight before fleeing.
Later that evening, police arrested a 26-year-old man in connection with the attack. Cellphone footage of the bus on fire was shared on social media.
The video, just under a minute long, shows the bus engulfed in flames. Onlookers watch helplessly as flames burnt metres high.
At one point, there is a loud bang and a plume of black smoke forces onlookers to take a few steps back. The video ends just as Crime Watch arrives.
Transport and urban development mayoral committee member Felicity Purchase said the suspect faced grave charges.
“The arrest was made in terms of the Criminal Matters Amendment Act. This Act, which relates to the damage of essential infrastructure, allows for stricter bail conditions and imprisonment of up to 30 years and a fine of up to R100 million,” Ms Purchase said.
It is not known whether the suspect has links to MyCiTi staff who launched a wildcat strike last month, but, to date, four MyCiTi buses have been damaged or destroyed in petrol-bomb attacks since October 15.
So far none of the attacks has been linked to the unprotected strike that has cost 80 MyCiTi drivers their jobs.
On Tuesday November 6, a bus was torched at Omuramba station in Milnerton. The following day, a bus was torched in Khayelitsha.
Last week, a MyCiTi bus was set alight in Summer Greens. The side of the bus was doused with petrol and set alight, according to Milnerton police spokeswoman Captain Nopaya Madyibi (“MyCiTi bus set alight,” Tabletalk, November 21).
A nine-metre bus costs about R4 million, a 12-metre one about R5 million, according to Ms Purchase.
In a separate incident on Wednesday November 21, a MyCiTi bus crashed into a house in Victoria Road, Summer Greens.
According to Ms Purchase, the driver lost control of the bus when she tried to avoid a car parked illegally on a traffic island.
The bus crashed through a concrete wall and damaged a car in the driveway.
The homeowner said no one had been hurt, but she declined to answer further questions.
The crash was caught on surveillance footage. It shows the bus hitting the car on the traffic island before going through the wall.
Summer Greens Neighbourhood Watch chairman Reagan Croeser said it was the second time a MyCiTi bus had crashed into the house.
Ms Purchase said the front of the bus had been damaged and the incident was being investigated by the vehicle operating company contracted to run MyCiTi buses on that route.