19 February 2019

South Africa: Commuters Left Shaken After Myciti Buses Stoned in Cape Town City Bowl

"I heard a loud bang, followed by shattered glass flying over our faces."

What started as a peaceful commute for Mahmud Fredericks on Tuesday morning soon descended into chaos when a pedestrian stoned at least two MyCiti buses in Cape Town's City Bowl.

The buses were travelling in opposite directions on the Civic Centre-Camps Bay route along Kloof Nek Road, which often has slow-moving traffic during peak times.

Fredericks hopped onto the bus to town around 07:45, took his usual seat at the front, and placed his bags on the floor. Four people were sitting at the back of the vehicle.

Barely two minutes later, he heard a loud noise and saw shattered glass.

"I just heard from the back of the bus, the passengers shouting 'just stay down!' The next stone hit the right hand side window behind the bus driver," he recalled.

"Thankfully, the paraplegic rail against the window prevented the rock from coming through the window, but just shattered it. The rock was lodged there."

He saw a man on the pavement, and guessed he must have picked up rocks from the ground.

Fredericks wanted to get out, but the driver advised him to stay inside. He managed to get photos of the alleged suspect.

"The guy who threw the stone said to the driver, 'You are playing with my job'," he said.

The driver told him it could be an ex-bus driver who had lost his job after the recent MyCiti strikes, or just someone who was angry with the company.

'I am really grateful that the bus driver remained calm'

"I started shivering. It just happened so fast. A rock hit the bus driver behind the neck. He said it didn't hurt him that badly and [the rock] fell down to the ground. He had no idea what was happening."

They managed to alert a passing police van and eventually ended up safely at their destination.

"It was a very eventful and frightening morning, because I wasn't expecting rocks to fly around in Tamboerskloof," said Fredericks, who added that he would be giving the bus a skip for a few days while his nerves recovered.

"I am really grateful that the bus driver remained calm and that there were guardian angels who protected us on the bus."

Mayoral committee member for transport Felicity Purchase confirmed that two buses had been stoned.

One bus suffered windscreen damage and the other, two broken windows. No injuries were reported.

She said it was not clear why they were stoned, but that it could be vandalism.

Purchase said she would be releasing a statement.

Western Cape police have not yet indicated whether they are investigating the stoning.


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