Tafelsig commuters are hopeful that Mitchell’s Plain police officers will continue to patrol bus trips in and around the area to Town Centre in the morning, especially during the festive season.
The Plainsman joined the Eastridge station’s proactive team on Monday December 13 at 6am, as they were patrolling bus routes in and around Tafelsig to Town Centre, and boarding the bus to ensure no rowdiness, alcohol or drugs are consumed and to foil robberies or assaults.
Along the route walking bus and neighbourhood watch members were stationed ready to assist pupils to school and pedestrians to work.
Commuter Cheryl Rodgers, from New Tafelsig, said having members of the proactive team on Golden Arrow Bus Services (GABS) vehicles were needed when schools and businesses were closed.
She says she has never been a victim of robbery or crime on the bus.
“The minute I feel unsafe I get off and just take another bus,” she said.
Ms Rodgers said she is grateful for the police visibility and presence on their commute to Town Centre in the morning.
Bus driver Jongiziwe Cuba said robbers had boarded his bus once on Spine Road, stole commuters’ belongings and got off at the next bus stop.
Commuter Vincent Hendricks, from Hyde Park, said it is good to have police on board because commuters would not know which bad elements get on the bus.
He said in winter it is dark in the early hours of the morning and that it is not safe to stand alone at the bus stop.
Mr Hendricks said once a bus was held up on the R300.
“There were three men, one in front, in the middle and at the back.
“The one in the middle had a gun and the people were panicking. It was chaos.”
He said without the trains running, a bus commute was cheaper and safer.
Zubeida de Villiers, from Lost City, said it is important to have familiar faces on the bus and that the presence of police made her feel safer.
She said now in December it was important to have police officers on the evening route home.
Mitchell’s Plain police station spokesman, Captain Ian Williams, said the proactive unit was ready for action and that operations would continue throughout the festive season.
He said the team included eight crime prevention members deployed to cover transport route hotspots, on foot and boarding either buses or taxis, able to do random checks.
“The proactive team is working tirelessly to combat crime and render service delivery by protecting the community and bus drivers from any crime.
“Crime prevention measures are a priority in these operations,” said Captain Williams
In October GABS general manager Derick Meyer confirmed that 15 alleged robbers were arrested within 24 hours.
This came after a close collaboration between the City of Cape Town’s safety and security directorate, SAPS and GABS.
“Both of whom have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to locate and arrest the suspects,” he said.
It was also the direct result of the safety features GABS had rolled out.
The on-board camera systems fitted in collaboration with the provincial department of transport were instrumental in these successes.
“We would once again like to assure our passengers and employees that Golden Arrow will do everything possible to ensure arrests and successful convictions. Let this be a warning to anyone who considers targeting our operations – you will be caught,” said Mr Meyer.
On Wednesday October 13 at 5.20am, a complainant was waiting for a bus in Eighth Avenue, Tafelsig, when a man approached him and asked for a cigarette.
He then noticed a second man crossing the road towards them.
The man then held the commuter at gunpoint, stole his cellphone and ran off.
The Mitchell’s Plain crime prevention unit members busy with early morning patrols along the bus routes, were stopped by the commuter and immediately followed all information about the robbers, who were immediately arrested.
The cellphone was returned to its owner and police confiscated an imitation firearm.
Two men, aged 31 and 32, appeared in Mitchell’s Plain Magistrate’s court on charges of robbery with a firearm two days later.