Bus commuters welcome deployment of law enforcement on buses

Muggings on buses are common in Cape Town and other metros around the country. Photo by Sinethemba Cawe

The City of Cape Town has deployed auxiliary law enforcement officers to improve the security of commuters on buses.

Golden Arrow Bus commuters have welcomed the move by the City of Cape Town to deploy law enforcement officers on buses to ensure the safety of passengers. Announced earlier this month, the officers, according to the statement by JP Smith, the Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, will “conduct stop and search operations, including random searches, at predefined bus stops and shelters.”

For the longest time, bus commuters have been victims of violent muggings on buses and have taken to social media to report these. The City’s Acting Executive Director for Safety and Security, Wayne le Roux, said that the officers will be visible at terminuses and on the buses.

“Officers will be present on buses, at bus stops as well as at the terminus and officers will be working on the buses and their presence will serve as a deterrent to possible criminal activity,” said le Roux.

This Elitsha reporter went to Bellville bus terminus to speak to commuters about whether they have been victims of criminals on buses and whether they have seen these law enforcement officers.

Philiswa Sixolo from Nyanga said that she is happy that Golden Arrow finally acted to ensure their safety even though she has not seen any officers. “I am happy because sometimes it is not clear whether the people getting on the bus are criminals or not so sometimes it turns out that people are only there to rob passengers,” said Sixolo.

Anelisa Jadezweni from Kuilsrivier said she welcomes the move but has an issue with having people go through her belongings: “I am happy because now we will be safe from the criminals but I hope the officers will have a metal detector to search with but I haven’t seen these officers.”

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Avuyile Luthi from Samora said she is happy and welcomes the officers: “The officers must come and do their job.”

Golden Arrow Bus Service (GABS) spokesperson, Bronwen Dyke-Beyer, said commuters will not know which terminus or bus stop the officers will be at so that criminals won’t be aware, “We will not be giving advance warning as to where the officers will be as the element of surprise is necessary. The officers will conduct stop and search operations, including random searches at predetermined bus stops and shelters,” said Dyke-Beyer.

She added that GABS hopes that commuters will work with the officers and they hope that the presence of these officers will stop criminal acts on buses. “It is our sincere hope that the presence of these auxiliary law enforcement officers will serve as a deterrent and that the information gathered via the programme will lead to arrests and convictions. We appeal to our passengers to give these officers their full support and remain committed to playing our part in the fight against crime,” she said.

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