According to a passenger (whose name has been withheld), one of the men was armed with a gun and the other brandished a knife.
“Both men boarded in town with other passengers at about 3.45pm and one of them got in the seat next to me. But nothing seemed wrong until we got near the robot on Samora Machel and he pulled his gun on me and ordered me to hand over my phone,” said the passenger.
The passenger said that the two men worked their way through the bus and they both alighted at the same stop, where there happened to be a couple of police officers who gave chase after being alerted by the passengers.
However, as the passengers raised the alarm, the bus driver appeared to ignore their cries and continued driving for a while.
She said: “By the time he stopped, the thieves had gotten away and then he said he had heard us shouting but couldn’t understand why, so he kept driving.”
The bus company’s PR manager, Bronwen Dyke-Beyer, confirmed the incident.
“Unfortunately, the driver only became aware of the situation once the passengers had informed him after the perpetrators had disembarked in Samora Machel. The matter was reported to Samora Machel SAPS and the law enforcement team is also following up on leads.”
The passenger said she immediately reported the matter at the Lentegeur police station, where after informing her that she should have reported the incident to the Philippi police as the robbery happened in their jurisdiction, the officer on duty told her that they needed her phone’s international mobile equipment identity number to report it stolen.
Golden Arrow Bus Services (Gabs) on Wednesday appealed for anyone with information to come forward and is offering a R50000 reward for any information which led to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators.
On the issue of compensation, Dyke-Beyer said: “Our conditions of carriage state: ‘While the company will take care to provide its service of conveying passengers, the company does not provide any guarantee or assurance of safety against or prevention of loss, liability, injury or damage of any nature arising, directly or indirectly, to any passenger or his or her property, whether this arises through the provision or non-provision or attempted provision of conveyance by the company.’ These conditions can be found in full inside our buses.”
The daring robbery came a day after the start of an agreement between Gabs and the city’s law enforcement department that paved the way for law enforcement officers to do duty on buses. The service has suffered over 20 robberies on its buses in the last year.
Dyke-Beyer said: “The officers are there to supplement the work of the SAPS ultimately, it is SAPS who are mandated with preventing, investigating and combating crime.”@MwangiGithahu