Still no arrests for burnt buses in Rustenburg’s protest action

Despite three commuter buses being set alight in broad daylight in Rustenburg, police had not arrested anyone by the weekend.

Capt Adele Myburgh confirmed no one was arrested for the arson, which followed protest action by passengers angry about the shortage of buses.

The Rustenburg bus terminus was turned into a battleground when commuters desperate to get home could not be serviced. Scores of passengers demanding to be transported home blocked the entrance to the terminus in protest.

The chaos erupted after several buses belonging to the Bojanala bus company, owned by the Mvelaphanda group, were impounded by the municipal authorities for not having valid permits.

About 59 buses have been impounded in a clampdown that began in March. According to the Rustenburg municipality spokesperson Butler Matlapeng the aim of the ongoing campaign is to uphold laws of the road.

“We found that there were buses with expired permits. If such a bus is involved in an accident victims will not be paid by insurers because of the expired permit,” said Matlapeng.

But angry commuters, many of whom with long-term tickets, were not concerned with insurance, as they set three buses alight on Thursday afternoon. Commuters chanted slogans demanding the bus company to explain why it was struggling to transport them.

Mofaone Morubisi, 16, of Sunrise Park and a pupil at Rauwane Sepeng High School in Tlhabane, told The New Age that they began having transport problem last Tuesday.

“We would be transported without hassles in the morning but in the afternoon we ended up hitching for rides home. On Wednesday afternoon we were given a bus that did not use the normal route. The driver told us that he was avoiding traffic officers, and this happened after they increased their fares,” she said.

Tsholofelo Matame, 43, said he was disappointed with Bojanala as he bought monthly tickets for his two school-going children so they did not struggle with transport.

“My children have been arriving home late from school. Why is this happening, after I have bought their monthly tickets in advance?” said Matame.

Bojanala bus company operates in the greater Rustenburg area, transporting people to villages around the city. The monthly ticket for workers costs R600 while the scholar ticket is R280.

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