Zim bus torched in SA protests

HARARE - A Zimbabwean bus was torched and another stripped by protesters in Tshwane but that did not deter hard-pressed Zimbabwean cross-boarder traders from continuing to flock to South Africa despite the violence there.

The mob set over a dozen buses alight and blocked the main entrance into the township with rocks and burning tyres.

Protests flared up in South Africa’s political capital over the African National Congress (ANC)’s decision to put forward Thoko Didiza as its mayoral candidate.

Eagle Liner and Pioneer were believed to be the buses caught up in the cross-fire, with one torched and the other robbed as over 21 vehicles were torched in Hebron and Atteridgeville.

But when a Daily News crew visited one of Zimbabwe’s biggest bus park stations, Roadport yesterday, it seemed business as usual with some touts boldly stating “hazvitimise basa” (that won’t stop us from doing our job).

A First Class bus official who cannot be named because he does not have authority to speak to the media said “as you can see we haven’t been affected by what is happening in South Africa.”

A cross-border trader who identified herself as Mary, seemed shocked when the Daily News approached her asking if she was aware of the violence flaring in parts of South Africa.

“I don’t know what you are talking about,” she said. “I have orders and there is no way I can change plans now.”

A message yesterday circulated on social media warning travellers to postpone their travel arrangements due to the political tension.

“Two Zim busses robbed, the other one burnt to ashes, we almost fell victims, we thank God for our brave driver, as I speak we have been stuck for more than five hours, they are burning tyres right on the road, be warned.”

Efforts to get comment from officials at Roadport were fruitless.

The protesters are apparently unhappy with the nomination of Didiza as the ANC’s mayoral candidate for Tshwane.

The Tshwane Metro Police Department said they suspect criminal elements are involved in the chaos in the capital city as protests spread to other parts of the metro.

“When we woke up this morning, now some other parts of the Tshwane area have also joined in,” the Tshwane Metro Police spokesperson Isaac Mahamba told South African media yesterday.

“We have a serious situation currently in Hammanskraal whereby most of the streets are barricaded, but what we would like to mention is that all the streets that are leading into the CBD have been blocked with burning or barricaded objects.

“I can mention that streets like Molefe Makimpa and R101 in Hammanskraal have been completely closed and somewhere in Stillwater area leading to the CBD again we have just received reports that two buses there have also been burnt . . .”

Comments (1)

Most of the protests that South Africans stage are not justifiable. They are always looking for the slightest reason to begin violent demonstrations that in all cases involve looting shops, especially those that belong to foreigners, an easy target since the chain giants are sometimes not within range. No reasonable cause at all.

Misitadete - 26 June 2016

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