WC Shutdown: DA calls for special prosecuting unit to deal with attacks on public transport infrastructure

Issued by Ricardo Mackenzie, MPP – DA Western Cape Spokesperson on Transport
22 Nov 2022 in Press Statements

Attention broadcasters: English and Afrikaans audio clips attached.

The DA in the Western Cape calls on the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Minister of Justice, Ronald Lamola, to take into consideration the establishment of a specialised prosecuting unit that will be responsible for prosecuting acts of violence and destruction of public infrastructure.

For far too long, criminal elements have wilfully destroyed crucial public sector infrastructure during their protest actions which have cost the country billions of rands to repair. Yet the prosecution rates for these crimes have remained significantly low.

This week the South African Taxi Council (SANTACO) embarked on a shutdown in the Western Cape to protest the suspension of the Blue Dot taxi programme. The supposed peaceful strike quickly took a violent turn as Golden Arrow and MyCity buses were set alight, passengers fled burning buses, private vehicles were pelted with stones, and learners and workers were prevented from commuting to school and to work.

Yesterday, we witnessed the brazen, targeted and senseless destruction of public transport infrastructure. These are clear acts of economic sabotage and intimidation and they need to be dealt with without fear or favour.

Minister Lamola and the NPA are, therefore, urged to set up a prosecuting unit devoted to the issue of public infrastructure destruction and vandalism in order to reduce criminal activity, not only within the public transport industry, but beyond. The alarmingly low prosecution rates of these crimes only serve as an encouragement for criminals to continue their attacks on critical public infrastructure such as bus and rail services.