Hijackings, stoning incidents force Putco buses off the road

Public Utility Transport Corporation (Putco) has suspended its bus operations following stoning incidents, intimidation of bus drivers, and hijackings in some parts of Gauteng.

According to Lindokuhle Xulu, spokesperson for Putco, the incidents were reported by the bus company’s operations teams as the EFF-led nationwide shutdown got under way on Monday.

“Soweto buses were stoned and damaged in the Braamfischer area. Passengers were forced to flee and the bus was abandoned. However, it has since been recovered,” said Xulu.

“In Eldorado Park, staff buses couldn’t access the Vaal areas for driver pick-ups. As a result, buses from Nancefield depot couldn’t operate. A Putco sub-contractor bus was also stoned by protestors in the same area.”

In Soshanguve, Tshwane a female driver was intimidated by the protestors who hijacked the bus.

“The bus was then used to block the road in Dennilton, however, the police found it and it has been taken back to the local depot.”

Xulu said the Tshwane and Mpumalanga routes have been blocked and are unsafe to use, including Moloto road, which is the main route between the two provinces.

“Protestors also demanded that buses be made available to transport them to their rally and our security personnel acted swiftly and prevented them from entering the depot.”

Xulu added that Putco has logged these and many other incidents to the command centre established by the government.

“All the operations teams are on high alert and monitoring developments.”

On Friday, Putco said it will be business as usual on Monday.

This after the company said on Thursday that it will park its buses for fear that the EFF-led nationwide shutdown will turn violent and pose risks to its workers and property.

It said an urgent meeting was held with senior government officials and Southern African Bus Operators Association executives on Thursday, who assured that it will be safe for the company to operate its buses.

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