File: MyCiTi bus

Cape Town - The latest statistics on vandalism of Cape Town's bus services MyCiTi, Golden Arrow, and Prasa - the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa - indicate that public transport faces an onslaught, Councillor Brett Herron said on Wednesday.

Herron, a member of the mayoral committee for transport and urban development, said six Golden Arrow buses were set alight between March 2016 and September 2017. 

"The cost to replace these buses was over R12 million, and a further R529,000 was spent on replacing shattered bus windows."

Herron said the buses were damaged by stone throwers stationed along their routes.

"The cost of damage to MyCiTi stations alone due to vandalism and protest action from July 2014 to September 2017 amounted to nearly R4 million," the Councillor said.  

Bus stations at Dunoon and Usasaza were damaged at the weekend. Protesters attacked the infrastructure with bricks, stones, and burning tyres. 

Herron said Metrorail reported 668 incidents of vandalism and other attacks on its rolling stock in the Western Cape in the 2016/17 financial year. 

"This reflects an increase of 533 incidents, or 400%, from the 2014/15 financial year when 135 incidents were reported. The majority of these incidents happened in Cape Town," said the Councillor.

"In addition, the number of incidents related to the vandalism and theft of other urban rail infrastructure in the Western Cape has increased from 197 in the 2014/15 financial year to 312 in the 2016/17 financial year." 

He said the cost to repair vandalised traffic signals across Cape Town, as well as the cost of replacing stolen road infrastructure was about R6,6 million for the period from July 2015 to September 2017.

He warned that vandalism could collapse the public transport system. 

"Worryingly, only 26 arrests were made in connection with the 312 incidents that were reported to the South African Police Service in 2016/’17." 

Herron called on the South African Police Service and the National Prosecuting Authority in the Western Cape to address the matter urgently.

"Commuters, our local businesses and economy, as well as all other road users, are suffering the consequences and those responsible for the service disruptions and delays are getting away with it," Herron said. 

African News Agency/ANA