Taxi operators stop bus with mourners from proceeding to home of slain coach driver - Intercape
08 May 2022
Bangikhaya Machana, 35, was shot outside the Intercape depot in Cape Town on 25 April
Taxi operators stop bus with mourners from proceeding to home of slain Intercape coach driver
CAPE TOWN, May 7 – A coach filled with mourning family members of the Intercape bus driver who was shot and killed in Cape Town last week, was on Friday morning stopped by taxi operators who refused to let them proceed to his hometown of Idutywa in the Eastern Cape for his funeral.
The latest incident has prompted renewed calls for President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Ministers of Police and Transport to respond to the crisis engulfing the long-distance coach industry.
Bangikhaya Machana, 35, was shot outside the Intercape depot in Cape Town on 25 April. He died in Tygerberg Hospital three days later.
A memorial service was held for Machana of lower Crossroads on Tuesday at the company’s depot in Airport Industria. He leaves behind a wife and two daughters, aged 3 and 6.
Intercape laid on one of its coaches to take more than 50 members of the extended Machana family and friends from Cape Town back to his hometown of Idutywa in the Eastern Cape for the funeral which was due to take place on Saturday.
Intercape CEO Johann Ferreira said: “On Friday morning when our coach that was transporting the family members of Bangikhaya, the Intercape driver who was murdered, entered Idutywa, it was chased away by the taxi operators.
“The coach went to the local police station to try and offload the people there. The taxis followed them and one of our drivers went inside the police station to get help. The police did not want to come out to help.”
The coach had no choice at that point than to leave and go to Mthatha, more than 80 kilometres away, because of “fears for the safety and wellbeing of family members”.
The coach with mourners eventually returned to Idutywa on Friday afternoon under police escort after Intercape appealed to senior provincial police to intervene.
Ferreira added: “These taxi operators have absolutely no shame, stopping and preventing a grieving family from visiting their hometown to lay to rest a son, husband and father who was so cruelly taken from them.”
Ferreira questioned how local police could simply stand by and let thugs act as a law unto themselves.
“This amounts to a mafia state and the authority of the State has been completely undermined and given over to criminal enterprises,” he said.
“There has not been a single word uttered by President Cyril Ramaphosa despite us having written to him pleading for urgent intervention, or the Minister of Police or Minister of Transport about the ongoing attacks and intimidation directed at Intercape and the long-distance coach industry.
“It is as if they do not care or are afraid to act against these lawless elements,” he added. “When innocent and grief-stricken people are not even allowed to attend the planned burial of their murdered loved one in peace, then we have reached a new low as a country.”
The Long Distance Coach industry is facing unprecedented levels of violence, including shootings and incidents of rock throwing by rogue elements in the minibus taxi industry. In the space of just 13 months, there have been over 150 recorded violent incidents, a number of which have led to serious injury of industry employees and passengers on the Long Distance Coach industry.
Statement issued by Corporate Image on behalf of Intercape. 7 May 2022
Intercape buses come under renewed attack from gunmen
Three shootings in Gauteng hours apart leave two injured; calls for support from government and broader society
CAPE TOWN, April 30 – Days after well-known long distance coach company Intercape went public about a violent campaign waged against the industry by rogue taxi associations, three more of its buses have come under attack.
The attacks, all in Gauteng, took place on Thursday and Friday evening and left two people injured.
It came after Intercape, one of the industry’s largest and longest-standing companies, appealed to President Cyril Ramaphosa and government to urgently intervene to stop the violence directed at the long-distance coach industry.
A 35-year-old Intercape bus driver died in a Cape Town hospital on Thursday days after being shot and critically wounded outside the company’s depot. In the space of just 13 months, there have been over 150 recorded violent incidents, a number of which have led to serious injuries to employees and passengers of the bus operators in the Long-Distance Coach industry.
In the latest incidents:
- On Thursday night at 19:19, an Intercape bus en route from Pretoria to Umtata was shot at from within an unknown sedan vehicle on the M2 highway in Johannesburg. A total of three shots were fired into the driver’s side of the coach, with the final shot narrowly missing the driver. As the vehicle sped past, the assailants fired another five shots, the first, second and third shots hitting the windscreen and fourth and fifth rounds hitting the coach low on the front left side. The first shot narrowly missed the driver and co-driver who was sitting in the front window seat. The sedan vehicle sped away. The Intercape driver managed to keep control of the coach, slowed down, and eventually pulled over safely to the side of the road. Intercape responders were on the scene and were later joined by Johannesburg Metro Police Department and SA Police Service members who took statements and collected and photographed evidence. The passengers were transferred to another coach to continue their journey. A case was registered at the Jeppe police station
- On Friday night at 19:40, an Intercape bus en route from Pretoria to Umtata came under attack as it was approaching the Geldenhuys Interchange from the M2 to join the N3 Highway. Video footage from the bus appears to show a gunman stationed on the bridge who fired two shots at the coach, with one of the rounds striking a passenger in the leg. The driver, despite suffering facial injuries from the shattered glass fragments, drove straight to Germiston where he was met by a police vehicle that escorted the coach to Germiston police station. A Germiston Hospital ambulance arrived and treated the injured passenger and driver.
- Also on Friday night, at 19H45, around seven kilometres before Johannesburg Station on the M2 highway, the occupants of an unidentified car driving in the fast lane opened fire on an Intercape coach travelling from Durban to Pretoria. The bullet was fired through the right side driver’s door and exited the left side window, injuring the driver who was struck by flying glass. An ER24 Ambulance was contacted to meet the coach at JHB Station where the driver was treated. No other injuries reported and passengers were transferred to another coach to continue their journey.
Intercape CEO Johann Ferreira said: “We could no longer keep quiet about the extortion and violence directed at Intercape and the long-distance coach industry in this country and we made a public appeal to President Ramaphosa and government and this has since resulted in an escalation of attacks against Intercape coaches over these last two days.”
He said despite there having been over 150 reported incidents in the last year and over 60 cases opened with various police stations, the majority in the Eastern Cape, there had not been a single arrest to date.
“These gunmen and the murderers of our employee in Cape Town are out there walking freely and brazenly and think nothing of shooting at innocent people,” Ferreira said.
“How are we expected to operate as a licenced business when there are criminal elements who openly target us? This is anarchy, plain and simple, and unless this is stopped and dealt with decisively our country is on a path to self-destruction.”
Ferreira labelled the campaign of violence which has included shootings, arson attacks and incidents of rock throwing, as “business capture” or “industry cleansing”, and further called for support from the broader business sector, the labour movement, as well as civil society.
“Who in their right mind will ever want to invest time and money in an economy which is held hostage by criminal enterprises who operate as a law unto themselves and with complete impunity.
“Today it is the long-distance coach, the mining and construction industries, tomorrow it will be other sectors of the economy which simply cannot afford to shed any more jobs and which needs to create the right climate for investment in order to stimulate and grow our economy.”
Intercape has written personally to President Ramaphosa and government pleading for intervention to stop the campaign which is aimed at forcing it and other long-distance coach companies out of operating in certain regions and routes. The company is currently engaging with the South African Police Service at the National Joint Operational Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) level in a hid to address the violent attacks.
The attacks were mainly centred around key towns and routes in the Eastern Cape but has also seen attacks in the Cape Metropole and Gauteng as taxi operators appear intent on forcing companies like Intercape out of business through violent intimidation or extortion. In some instances, taxi operators in the Eastern Cape have forced passengers off coaches or warned them against boarding. Some routes in the Eastern Cape have become complete no-go zones for buses as taxi associations seek to drive competition out of the region.
Statement issued by Corporate Image on behalf of Intercape. 28 April 2022
Intercape bus driver dies after shooting linked to campaign of violence
Over 150 incidents in last year; Intercape appeals to President Ramaphosa to intervene
CAPE TOWN, April 28 – An Intercape bus driver has died days after being shot and critically wounded outside the company’s Cape Town depot as part of a campaign of violence and extortion against the Long-Distance Coach industry by rogue elements within the minibus taxi industry.
The murder of the 35-year-old male employee from Lower Crossroads is the latest and most tragic incident in a litany of violent attacks, including shootings, arson attacks and incidents of rock throwing, directed at the long-distance coach industry in South Africa.
The victim leaves behind a wife and two daughters.
In the space of just 13 months, there have been over 150 recorded violent incidents, a number of which have led to serious injuries to employees and passengers of the bus operators in the Long-Distance Coach industry.
See a video of a number of incidents involving attacks on Intercape buses and employees.
The death of the Intercape employee comes as the company has pleaded repeatedly for urgent government intervention to stop the campaign of violence.
The Intercape employee was shot on Monday 25 April as he was exiting the company’s depot. He was shot three times and rushed to a nearby hospital in a critical condition where he underwent emergency surgery in a desperate bid to save his life.
CEO of Intercape Johann Ferreira said on Thursday: “We have been pleading with authorities to act urgently before innocent people are killed. Now it is too late and we at Intercape have been left utterly devastated to learn of the passing of our colleague. Our thoughts and our prayers are with his wife and two children at this incredibly difficult time. Where do we go from here?”
Intercape, one of the industry’s largest and longest-standing companies, has been subjected to repeated attacks on its buses and employees as part of a campaign of violence and extortion to force it and other long-distance coach companies out of operating in certain regions and routes.
Ferreira said: “The long-distance train system in South Africa has been systematically burnt, and infrastructure destroyed and stolen by thugs and thieves and certain criminal elements within the taxi industry. The taxi industry is now busy with neutralising the long-distance bus operators, specifically in the Eastern Cape, and thus forcing passengers into the minibus taxis. This is called business capture or industry cleansing.”
“We have been engaging with the South African Police Service locally and there have also been talks with representatives of the taxi industry itself, but the attacks continue unabated and have intensified. We have now commenced engagements with the SAPS at the National Joint Operational Intelligence Structure (NATJOINTS) level and hope that this will bring about change.”
Ferreira confirmed that Intercape has also written to President Cyril Ramaphosa personally and included the video in a desperate bid to address the targeted attacks aimed at Intercape and the Long-Distance Coach industry.
The attacks are mainly centred around key towns and routes in the Eastern Cape as taxi operators appear intent on forcing companies like Intercape out of business through violent intimidation or extortion. In some instances, taxi operators have forced passengers off coaches or warned them against boarding.
“The situation is completely intolerable, and we are pleading with the President, police and the government to intervene as a matter of urgency,” Ferreira said.
Intercape has called for at least the following:
that President Cyril Ramaphosa intervenes to address the crisis;
that the Minister of Police orders police escorts for its coaches on all Eastern Cape routes until there is a guarantee that the environment is such that coaches can operate safely again;
for an undertaking from the Minister of Police that the Eastern Cape SAPS will actively investigate case dockets in a bid to identify and arrest perpetrators of the attacks;
that the Minister of Transport urgently addresses local taxi associations to bring an end to the violence; and
that the President and Ministers of Police and Transport acknowledge the problem and undertake to deal with it urgently and comprehensively.
According to various industry sources, the taxi operators, through the violent attacks, are “sending a clear message” to the bus companies like Intercape to get out of the Eastern Cape and are operating like a law unto themselves.
The attacks pose a “clear and present danger to innocent lives and property,” Ferreira said.
“We have valid permits to operate on those routes, but it means absolutely nothing in the face of these attacks which are designed to push [Intercape] out.”
More than 100 cases have been opened with the SAPS but the attacks have continued unabated at key pick-up points along routes and on the road, as well as outside Intercape headquarters in Cape Town where there have been two brazen shooting incidents, the latest of which was fatal.
An Intercape long distance coach driver who did not wish to be named out of fear for his safety said: “Every time we travel along those routes, we are taking our lives in our hands. You see the attackers standing by the side of the road and the next minute you hear the gunshots ring out and the glass shattering.”
“It is the most terrifying thing you can imagine as you duck to avoid the bullets and try to keep the bus under control as the passengers behind you scream with fear.”
Some routes in the Eastern Cape have become complete no-go zones for buses as taxi associations seek to drive competition out of the region.
“We have seen in other industries such as construction how localised business forums extort or seek to push legitimate companies out of business,” Ferreira said.
“In March, President Ramaphosa hosted South Africa’s fourth investment conference and announced new investment commitments of R332 billion, bringing the total to date to over R1 trillion. But what message are we sending out to the world when attacks such as these are tolerated and normalised?”
“What do we as law-abiding businesses do when such blatant aggression and violence is directed at innocent people and property?” Ferreira asked.
“We are pleading with government and the law enforcement agencies to act urgently and decisively to stop these targeted attacks.”
Statement issued by Corporate Image on behalf of Intercape. 28 April 2022