19 buses torched in strike

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

The Ethekwini municipality says the burning of 19 buses at the Ntuzuma depot on Friday will not have a major effect on the operation when the strike is over.

Municipality manager Mike Sutcliffe said the municipality has bought a large number of buses to increase its fleet and the loss of the torched buses would not cripple services after the strike.

"The incident will not have a major impact," said Sutcliffe.

Workers are concerned about their jobs since bus company Remant signed a deal with the municipality, which will buy many of its buses.

On Thursday the unions, representing about 1 000 drivers, were expected to brief their members on the agreement.

South African Transport Allied Workers Union secretary Justice Xaba confirmed that this meeting was to take place but refused to reveal the agenda before then.

All union leaders involved and Remant Alton management have been tight-lipped since the torching of the 19 buses. The buses were valued at R35 million.

On Friday Sowetan was refused entry to Remant Alton premises.

Police spokesman superintendent Vincent Mdunge confirmed that the buses were petrol-bombed at about 4am on Friday morning.

"The police are investigating a case of arson," he said.

A condition of a deal, which stipulates that Remant Alton will be retained as operator and the council will not employ its staff, led to hundreds of drivers striking two weeks ago. The illegal strike last week led to the dismissal of 800 drivers.