Cape Town roads closed again as protesters hurl rocks and set bus alight

28 September 2019 - 09:42 By Dave Chambers
A MyCiTi bus goes up in flames during unrest in the Dunoon and Joe Slovo areas of Cape Town on September 27 2019.
A MyCiTi bus goes up in flames during unrest in the Dunoon and Joe Slovo areas of Cape Town on September 27 2019.
Image: Twitter/Ricardo Mackenzie

Saturday morning began where Friday afternoon left off near the Cape Town townships of Dunoon and Joe Slovo, with residents stoning cars and a bus set alight.

City of Cape Town traffic services spokesman Richard Coleman said the N7 between Plattefloof Road and Potsdam Road was among several roads closed while police tried to restore order.

Felicity Purchase, the mayoral committee member for transport, said the Phoenix MyCiTi station was vandalised, looted and set alight in Friday’s unrest, which saw the N7 closed several times as stones rained down on vehicles.

“It is a miracle that the personnel managed to vacate the station unharmed. The station will remain closed until further notice,” she said.. “The MyCiTi station at Dunoon that remained closed after it was vandalised a few years ago, was again set alight [on Friday] morning. There is nothing left to vandalise.

“As a precautionary measure, we have closed the Sanddrift MyCiTi station as well, and MyCiTi Routes 261, 262 and 260 are temporarily suspended until further notice. “Commuters are advised that the buses operating on Route T03 are being deviated from Omuramba to Century City via Montague Drive. Further deviations include the T01 and T04 buses which are short-turning at Potsdam station and the Killarney station. Both stations will remain closed until further notice.”

Purchase said repairs to MyCiTi infrastructure would cost millions of rand and take months to complete.

“A criminal case will be opened and we are currently working on identifying these perpetrators on the CCTV footage which could be obtained,” she said.

“Anyone arrested will be investigated in terms of the Criminal Matters Amendment Act, which provides for stricter bail conditions and harsher sentences, including up to 30 years’ imprisonment for those caught and convicted for destruction of essential infrastructure.”

Purchase’s mayoral committee colleague, JP Smith, said on Friday the unrest began after traffic officers cracked down on minibus taxis.

“Taxi drivers and owners believe that they should not be fined or arrested for offences and that the city should engage them first in discussions about these offences,” Smith said.

“This is a preposterous proposal. Public transport operators and owners need to realise that the law applies just as much to them as every other motorist and that they have a larger burden of responsibility than anybody else on the road. Their conduct is a disgrace.”

Dunoon Taxi Association general secretary Frank Qotyiwe distanced his members from the chaos, which has coincided with a taxi strike in the area.

He admitted association members had been illegally operating taxis on a number of routes across the city for seven years, and had suspended services for fear of vehicles being impounded by Cape Town traffic officers.

“We have been trying to engage the city, urging the authorities to give us operating licences for other taxi routes, but they have constantly turned a deaf ear and the only priority for the city is the MyCiTi bus service,” he said.