“Two petrol bombs came in through my windscreen window and the bus caught fire.” With this terse description, devastated Intercape bus driver Dennis Moyo explained how a blaze started in his bus that killed two passengers and injured 32 others, some seriously.
On Tuesday night the bus, which was carrying 43 passengers from Mthatha in the Eastern Cape to Cape Town, was travelling down Onverwacht Road in Strand when all hell broke loose.
Moyo said he couldn’t drive away after the bus was attacked because the fire spread very quickly.
“I tried running away but the bus caught fire (quickly). I also heard… the petrol bombs hitting the bus… I stopped so I could open the doors for passengers to get out, and I saw three men running away after (the petrol-bombing).”
Moyo said striking workers at Intercape had been making life difficult for those who were still working since the strike started last month. He believed the three men who ran away were part of the striking group and the ones who threw the petrol bombs.
“I have over a year working for this company and it’s not the first time a bus I’m driving has come under attack.
“Last month we were shot at while driving from Cape Town to Mthatha. I fear for my life now,” he said.
Intercape told the Cape Argus it was investigating on Tuesday night’s incident.
“The motive for this horrendous attack is not yet clear. There appears to have been no unrest in the area at the time,” it said.
Police spokeswoman Constable Noloyiso Rwexana confirmed that the incident occurred at about 19.45pm on Tuesday. She said cases of murder and attempted murder were under investigation. No one had been arrested by mid-morning.
ER24 spokesman Werner Vermaak said two passengers were killed and 32 people were injured last night when what some patients described as “petrol bombs” were thrown at the bus.
There were children on the bus, but it was unclear whether any were injured.
Vermaak said emergency services joined forces to set up a local triage area to treat the injured.
Four people were seriously injured and were rushed off to nearby hospitals for treatment.
Twenty-eight others were treated for minor to moderate smoke inhalation and burn wounds and two people, both believed to be men, died in the fire.
National Union of Metalworkers of SA provincial secretary Vuyo Lufele confirmed that some of their members who work for the bus company are on strike.
“We do have some of our workers working for Intercape and are on strike, but to say they are involved in these violent attacks is not true.
“We have been making headway in our negotiations with the company, and our members are happy with the progress.”
He said for the past three weeks members had been calm because management had been briefing them regularly about the negotiations. “We can’t link these attacks to our members until it is proven; the law must take its course.”
Mayco member for transport Brett Herron said the City of Cape Town grieved with the families of the deceased and condemned the criminal act in the strongest terms.
“I would like to appeal to residents to come forward should they have any related information which could lead to the arrest of those responsible for this criminal act.”
Western Cape MEC for Community Safety Dan Plato also condemned the attack, saying he trusted that police would conduct a thorough investigation so that those responsible would pay for their crimes.