Wednesday, 22 June 2016

BURNING & LOOTING ... Zim bus torched, passengers robbed in SA mob attack

A MOB allegedly burnt an Eagle Liner bus transporting 21 Zimbabweans from Bulawayo to Johannesburg in South Africa yesterday and robbed them of their valuables.

The unruly crowd was allegedly protesting the ruling ANC’s decision to field Ms Thoko Didiza as the party’s mayoral candidate for Tshwane in the forthcoming local government elections.

Didiza was nominated to replace the incumbent and protesters’ favourite candidate Mr Kgosientso Sipulta Ramakgopa.

Sources from the bus company told The Chronicle the demonstrators attacked and robbed the passengers on the Johannesburg-bound bus at about 3.30AM.

Unruly elements allegedly joined protestors and looted property from motorists and shops in the neighbouring country.

“The protestors had blocked the road, about 40km out of Pretoria along the N1 Highway.

‘‘They were burning vehicles and throwing stones,” said a source who asked not to be named.
Zim bus torched, passengers robbed in SA mob attack
“One of the passengers sustained minor injuries when he was hit with a stone by the protesters as the bus made a u-turn in front of the charging mob.”

Passengers, said the source, lost cash, cellphones, IPads, cameras and other property.

“They are traumatised after their scary brush with the hostile mob,” the source said.

Eagle Liner director Mr Dhalib Ishemeal said the victims have taken refuge at Hammanskraal police station since the situation was still volatile.

“All the 21 passengers are safe and we’re waiting for the police to calm the situation. We also heard that there was another bus from another company that was burnt as well. That’s very unfortunate,” said Mr Ishemeal.

Sources in Tshwane said some haulage trucks and other vehicles which use the same route were burnt near Zebediela.

Media reports from the neighbouring country reveal protestors burnt about 22 buses.

South Africa’s national police spokesperson Brigadier Mashadi Selepe was not available for comment yesterday.

Zimbabwe’s Consul General to South Africa, Mr Batiraishe Mukonoweshuro said police in that country had contained the situation along the N1 highway and that traffic movement had returned to normal.

“We’ve contacted the security cluster commanders in Tshwane East and Hammanskraal area and they’ve assured us that the road is now clear for traffic. They’ve contained the situation in the area.

‘‘We want to urge the travelling public to always travel during the day and avoid using the R101 highway which has no tollgates and has less security personnel,” he said.

There was no need for people to panic, he said, as the situation was now under control but advised that they should be very alert to the happenings around them.

Mr Mukonoweshuro dispelled rumours which were doing rounds on social media that all tollgates along the N1 had been closed due to the violence.

“The tollgate near Hammanskraal area was only closed to clear the barricades on the main highway. We haven’t heard any reports of people who were harmed except a minor incident where one person sustained a minor wound during the skirmishes. The person is out of danger,” he said.

He added that no disturbances were reported at the Bosman Bus Terminus where most Zimbabwean cross border buses picked up passengers.

He said Mr Ramakgopa had moved around the city urging the protestors to calm down.

The consul general said the host government will completely contain the situation.

He said in isolated cases the mob had burnt local (South African) public transport vehicles in the high density suburbs.

The N1 highway is one of the busiest roads in South Africa as it links that country to the rest of Africa.