Torched bus sparks police probe

Sipho Masombuka

Pretoria police are investigating a case of malicious damage to property after a bus belonging to the Atteridgeville Bus Services was set alight yesterday morning.

Police spokesman Inspector Daniel Mavimbela said the bus was set alight next to the Attlyn shopping complex in Atteridgeville.

The torching of the bus follows a week-long bus boycott in protest against the 30percent fare hike implemented on January 1.

A group of commuters agreed during a meeting held on Sunday in Saulsville that the bus service would be boycotted and prevented from ferrying commuters. Police had to rescue cashiers and a security guard from an angry mob who stoned the ABS ticket office in Saulville on Sunday.

Provincial chairman of the Gauteng Commuters Organisation provincial chairman, James Mothupi, said while they respected commuters' rights to voice their grievances, they did not condone the use of violence and intimidation.

"We did not agree on violence and intimidation, we agreed on stopping other commuters from buying tickets and stopping the buses from operating."

The bus company's chief executive Pule Pule told Sowetan there was "nothing" they could do because the fare increase was about running costs.

He said damages to the company were estimated at R800000 - excluding costs because of the disrupted service.