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National shutdown: Putco forced to halt operations after reports of intimidation

A number of incidents were reported by Putco early on Monday morning, ranging from intimidation to attempts at violence.

FILE: Putco buses at a depot. Picture: Putco/Facebook

JOHANNESBURG – The Public Utility Transport Corporation (Putco) has opted to temporarily suspend all operations, owed to intimidation.

This despite a statement released by the bus operator on Friday assuring commuters it would be business as usual.


On Monday morning, the day of the Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) planned national shutdown, spokesperson Lindokuhle Xulu said Putco’s staff busses were the first to encounter blocked roads and demonstrators while trying to pick drivers up to report for duty.

He said operations teams reported buses stoned and damaged in the Braamfischer area in Soweto. Passengers were forced to flee, and the bus was abandoned, but has since been recovered.

In Eldorado Park, satff busses were unable to access the Vaal areas to pick drivers up, which meant Nancefield depot buses were unable to operate. Xulu said a bus belonging to a Putco subcontractor was also stoned by protesters in the area.

Violence met commuters in Soshanguve, where a bus was reportedly hijacked, and a female driver pushed out of it. The bus was then used to block a road in Dennilton, but police recovered and returned it to the local depot.

Protesters then reportedly demanded that Putco buses be used to transport them to their rally, but Xulu said Putco security personnel intervened, and demonstrators were prevented from entering the depot.

In Tshwane and Mpumalanga, routes were blocked and deemed unsafe to use, including Moloto Road, a main route linking Gauteng and Mpumalanga. Xulu said one staff bus from Mountainview sought refuge at the KwaMhlanga police station after intimidation was reported.

“All operations teams are on high alert and monitoring developments,” Xulu said.



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