Department of Transport and Public Works’ deputy director Faizel Williams said there have been 93 armed robberies up till the end of April, and there have been 224 robberies last year with R102 million damage. File picture: African News Agency
Department of Transport and Public Works’ deputy director Faizel Williams said there have been 93 armed robberies up till the end of April, and there have been 224 robberies last year with R102 million damage. File picture: African News Agency

Over 90 robberies have occurred on Golden Arrow buses this year, hears Cape legislature

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published May 12, 2021

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Cape Town - More than 90 armed robbery incidents have occurred on Golden Arrow buses since January.

On Tuesday the provincial legislature’s standing committee on Transport and Public Works was briefed on recent developments to improve commuter safety and the partnership between Golden Arrow Bus Services (Gabs), the Western Cape Government, and the City.

Department of Transport and Public Works’ (DTPW) deputy director Faizel Williams said commuter bus operations and their passengers were unsafe as they have been subjected to increased attacks over the last few years.

Williams said there have been 93 armed robberies up till the end of April, and there have been 224 robberies last year with R102 million damage.

He said most of the robbers boarded buses as passengers, waited for their moment to strike or targeted buses when stationary, and clearly indicated their intent from the off-set.

According to Williams, most of the incidents occurred at Govan Mbeki in Philippi followed by Mew Way in Khayelitsha, and occurred between 5pm and 7pm.

The City of Cape Town's Transport Enforcement co-ordinator Neil Arendse, said Gabs has been experiencing similar safety problems as MyCiTi on their routes causing commuter fear and damages to assets, including buses being burnt.

Arendse said it was against that backdrop that the City, Gabs and the provincial DTPW were considering a joint venture to focus on improving safety on identified high-risk routes.

Gabs chief executive, Francois Meyer, said the outlook was a bit more positive than the last meeting, and commended the work and effort done by the members.

Meyer said robberies have dropped. "The five-week average of eight robberies came down by three at the moment. Last week was the first week in many months that we did not have any robberies."

He commended the provincial DTPW for their willingness to assist them, especially their spirit, and to find the funds to fit CCTV cameras in their buses.

ANC provincial spokesperson on transport, Lulama Mvimbi, said the presentation left a lot to be desired, "as it is not a practical and physical solution to the problems".

Committee chairperson Daylin Mitchell said Gabs in conjunction with the City and provincial DTPW have made great strides in forming proactive measures to improve commuter safety.

Mitchell said surveillance technology and the deployment of Law Enforcement Officers on the buses was currently under way, yielding good progress.

"Other projects also include safer payments on buses and increasing patrols in crime-prevalent areas. Furthermore, the province’s plan for South Africa’s first provincial Transport Authority will support an environment of co-ordination and harmonisation of systems, expected to assist the safety aspect of public transport," he said.

Cape Argus

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