Bus company Intercape has welcomed the arrest of a suspect – who is believed to be linked to attacks on their long distance buses.

Several vehicles were attacked earlier this year including one incident in which a driver sustained fatal gun shot wounds.

Police on Saturday arrested a suspect in Klapmuts as part of their investigations, and he is due to appear in court on Monday where he will face charges of murder and attempted murder.

Intercape says they hope that this breakthrough leads to further arrests and the successful prosecution of the perpetrators behind a series of violent attacks, including shootings and stone-throwing, as well as other acts of intimidation.

Mobility MEC Daylin Mitchell also welcomed the arrest.

The suspect was sought in connection with the murder of Intercape bus driver, Bangikhaya Machana (35) who was shot in April 2022. Another attack occurred in March where shots were fired at another Intercape bus.

In a recent meeting of the Western Cape Parliament’s Standing Committee on Transport and Public Works, I made the point that these recent brazen and targeted attacks on long distance buses are criminal and that the hitmen as well as their paymasters must be brought to justice.

I am grateful for this breakthrough and progress made by SAPS in the investigation. The Western Cape Government has adopted a whole society approach to support South African Police Services and law enforcement in whichever way possible to bring perpetrators of crimes to book. We will track this case in court and continue to follow up with SAPS until there’s a successful conviction.

Provincial Traffic will continue to monitor bus operations and, with the support of SAPS, be on the lookout for any ‘patrol vehicles’ that illegally stop and extort busses and other vehicles along key routes between the Western Cape and neighbouring provinces.

I have a responsibility to ensure that all commuters are transported in safety and dignity and that all road users are safe while using the Western Cape road network.

Read more: Attacks on Cape Town bus commuters also on the increase

The Western Cape Department of Transport says it is not only long-distance buses that have experienced an increase in attacks but also buses that transport commuters to and from work here in the Mother City.

Chief Director for Transport Regulation in the Western Cape, Yasir Ahmed appeared before Standing Committee on Transport and Public Works on Friday and said passengers on especially Golden Arrow buses have also been the target of robberies.

Ahmed says these robberies are well-planned by perpetrators.

He says hot spot areas, where these robberies occur, have been identified by authorities.

He says the Western Cape Department of Transport says it has worked closely with the Golden Arrow Bus service to install cameras on its buses to help reduce the number of attacks on commuters.

Ahmed said more than 700 Golden Arrow buses now have on-board cameras to deter criminals.

He says the cameras help create a sense of safety and security among commuters.

Access the full provincial parliamentary briefing here.

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The long-distance bus company, Intercape, says it has recorded more than 80 attacks on its buses in 2022 alone.

The company says the attacks started in 2019 and have, since then, gradually increased.

Intercape’s legal representative, Jac Marais, appeared before the Standing Committee on Transport and Public Works earlier today.

Marais says the company has to, on a regular basis, deal with its buses being stoned, and shot at.

Marais says there has also been an increase in incidences of extortion and intimidation.

Three of the company’s buses were attacked in Cape Town this week.

On Wednesday, one of its buses came under fire on the N2 highway near Nyanga, just before the Jakes Gerwel off-ramp.

The driver was shot and wounded, Intercape said in a statement.

A short while later, a second Intercape coach was shot at in the same area.

No one was injured and there were no passengers on board at the time.

The attacks came after a driver was shot and wounded outside the depot on Sunday. The driver was in a serious but stable condition in hospital.

In April, 35-year-old Intercape bus driver Bangikhaya Machana died in hospital days after being shot outside the company’s depot.

Follow the Standing Committee on Transport and Public Works sitting here.

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