National shutdown: Putco forced to suspend operations
The suspension comes as members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) took to the streets in their national shutdown on Monday.
Public transport operator Putco has temporarily suspended some of its bus operations following the national shutdown. Photo: Supplied
Public transport operator Putco has temporarily suspended some of its bus operations on Monday due to “intimidation during the national shutdown”.
The suspension of the public transport comes as members of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) took to the streets in their national shutdown on Monday.
The red berets are demanding President Cyril Ramaphosa step down and are protesting against the constant bouts of load shedding that South Africa has been experiencing.
Some areas across the country have already been hit by the planned national shutdown, which has affected public transport.
Putco spokesperson Lindokuhle Xulu said there are a number of incidents that have been reported.
“Our staff buses were the first to encounter blocked roads and intimidation from demonstrators taking part in the national shutdown as they attempted to collect bus drivers aiming to report for duty in the early hours of Monday.”
Affected bus depots
Xulu said buses were stoned and damaged in the Bram Fischerville area. “Passengers were forced to flee and the bus was abandoned. The bus has since been recovered.”
He said staff buses also couldn’t access the Vaal areas to pick up drivers. A bus belonging to a Putco subcontractor was stoned by protestors in Eldora Park.
Xulu also said a bus was hijacked, the female driver was pushed out of the bus and it was used to block a road in Dennilton.
“Police quickly recovered it and it was taken back to the local depot. Protestors also demanded that buses be made available to transport them to their rally and our security personnel acted swiftly and prevented them from entering the depot.”
He said routes between Tshwane and Mpumalanga have been blocked and are unsafe to use.
“This includes the Moloto Road, which is a main route between the two provinces of Gauteng and Mpumalanga. One staff bus from Mountain View (Pretoria) had to take refuge at the KwaMhlanga Police Station.”
Xulu said there were no passengers at most bus stops.
“The area is relatively peaceful, and police are patrolling the area. Putco has logged these and many other incidents to the Command Centre established by the government.”
Police Minister Bheki Cele on Monday confirmed that 87 people around South Africa were arrested in connection with the national shutdown.