Intercape is now going to drag Bheki Cele, minister of police, to court because of the police’s “failure” to stop the wave of attacks on his buses.
Intercape recently turned to the High Court in Grahamstown (Makhanda) regarding the ongoing attacks on its buses, especially in the Eastern Cape. This after he had obtained court orders on several occasions to force the police and the national and provincial traffic authorities to pay attention to the violent attacks on his bus drivers and passengers.
The operator claims in his latest affidavit – of 112 pages – that the police and other relevant investigative authorities have failed to stop this “calculated campaign of criminality” for three years.
Johann Ferreira, CEO of Intercape, says he reported the first attack on one of his buses on 4 March 2020 and that since then a further 167 cases have been filed.
In the past six weeks, there have been nine separate cases where Intercape buses in the Eastern Cape have been pelted with stones, passengers and drivers have been intimidated and even shots have been fired at buses.
At least three people have been wounded by shots fired at Intercape’s buses since March and two more have been severely assaulted.
“Yet, as things currently stand, there are no arrests and no pending prosecutions,” says Ferreira.
Intercape listed Cele as the first respondent in its application, followed by National Police Commissioner Fannie Masemola. The bus operator also names the provincial commissioners of the Eastern Cape, the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and North West, together with the head of the Hawks, the national director of public prosecutions and the head of the investigation directorate in the summons.
Intercape says it was forced to follow this route again due to the “staggering lack of action by the Minister of Transport and the MEC for Transport and Community Safety in the Eastern Cape” in response to the crisis.
The bus operator argues that the police and the Hawks have the power to investigate the cases brought by Intercape on an individual and collective level, but that they are failing to do so.
Intercape hopes that the court will find that the police and the Hawks failed to prevent and investigate the attacks against Intercape when they occurred.
The bus operator asks, among other things, that the court order that a report be submitted to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) within 60 days in which all steps taken and progress made with the investigation of each of the cases that have been opened, as well as the status of each investigation are detailed. This will enable the NPA to coordinate the investigations and prosecution of the crimes.
Intercape further wants the court to compel senior police officers to report directly to the national head of the Falcons about the pending cases.
Intercape says the risk of serious injury or even death to its drivers and passengers is greater than ever.
“Intercape itself has no way to prevent this,” says Ferreira.
“Unless and until those responsible for orchestrating these acts are put behind bars, and a clear message is sent that this type of organized crime will not be tolerated, the risk of injury and death will continue.”
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