Suspension of service is indefinite

Pumza Fihlani

Pumza Fihlani

Thousands of commuters will be left stranded today after Metrobus indefinitely suspended its services at the weekend after the brutal murder of two of its bus drivers.

The two Metrobus drivers were killed last week in Kagiso, west of Johannesburg.

A weekend newspaper reported that the two were burnt to death after the bus they were travelling in was hijacked and set alight.

The driver of the burnt bus had gone to the area to collect other drivers for an early morning shift.

Police found the bus near the entrance of a local cemetery and the charred bodies of the two drivers, aged 42 and 60, were found inside the burnt bus.

"The decision to cancel all buses was taken in the best interest of city commuters and employees of Metrobus," said Mavela Dlamini, a Joburg city manager.

Metrobus yesterday put up a R50000 reward for information about the killings. Anyone with information is asked to contact Sergeant Mbowane on 082-313-2596.

This is the third act of violence against bus drivers since the beginning of the Metrobus strike earlier this year.

It is unclear whether the violence is related to the union's continued strike. Since the beginning of the strike, non-striking bus drivers have been victims of attacks.

South African Municipal Workers Union spokesman Dumisani Langa said: "We distance ourselves from all the acts of violence and strongly disagree with the practice of pointing fingers at Samwu members.

"Our members have no reason to resort to acts of violence because they know our strike is protected by law," said Langa.

"They also do not feel threatened by other drivers who are not on strike."

Langa said he hoped that "whoever was responsible for the murders should be brought to book".

He said Samwu was going to meet with Metrobus today and "hoped that an agreement would be reached".

Metrobus drivers went on strike after a dispute over "accrued sick leave". The dispute emanated from an old collective agreement allowing employees to accumulate sick leave over their period of employment. Such leave could be converted to yearly leave or be paid for. But Metrobus did away with the agreement.

Metrobus has a fleet of 460 buses servicing mostly Johannesburg commuters.

Police yesterday said that no arrests have been made.