STATEMENT BY THE CITY’S MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER: TRANSPORT FOR CAPE TOWN, COUNCILLOR BRETT HERRON

The Western Cape High Court, on Wednesday 25 May 2016, granted the City of Cape Town a final and permanent interdict against violent protesters, among them the Govan Mbeki branch of the South African National Civic Organisation and members of their executive, preventing them from disrupting the MyCiTi service or conducting any protest action at the MyCiTi stations along the T04 trunk route.

I am very relieved and grateful for this final order by the Western Cape High Court.

The City cannot allow protesters to vandalise and damage our infrastructure, inconvenience our commuters, and disrupt the MyCiTi service which is providing a vital and important service to the communities of Dunoon and Joe Slovo. Vandalism and the destruction of City property, coupled with intimidation and threats to our personnel and law-abiding citizens, is unacceptable.

There is absolutely no excuse or justification for this criminal and thuggish behaviour and with this final interdict the court drew a line in the sand.

The Western Cape High Court found that the City of Cape Town ‘has a clear right to protect its property, as well as to protect its officials and employees, and the commuters who make use’ of the MyCiTi stations and service.

Furthermore, the court ruled that the City ‘has the right to prohibit individuals from unlawfully damaging stations’ and that the City ‘has an obligation to ensure that it provides a safe and secure public transport service’.

The court also stated that irrespective the respondents’ complaints, they cannot ‘take the law into their own hands’.

As such, Ward 4 of the South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) and its executive members are interdicted from interfering with the MyCiTi operations, in particular the T04 trunk route operating between Dunoon and Century City. They are also interdicted from interfering or threatening City officials and contractors performing their duties.

On 23 March 2016 the City applied for and was granted an urgent interim interdict following a week of violent protests at MyCiTi stations along the T04 route in Dunoon and Joe Slovo, during which MyCiTi infrastructure was damaged and services disrupted. Further threats of attacks, and the intimidation of City personnel and contractors, and commuters wanting to make use of the service, prompted the City to apply for relief from the court. The interdict was served on 11 named respondents, among them the Govan Mbeki Branch of SANCO and illegal minibus-taxi operators in the Joe Slovo area, by the Sheriff of the Court on 24 March 2016.

A copy of the final order granted by the court will now be placed on notice boards at the entrance to each of the MyCiTi stations along the T04 trunk route.

The order is interdicting and restraining the respondents from intimidating, threatening, harassing, assaulting or in any way interfering with City employees, contractors, councillors, commuters and law enforcement operations at the following stations: Usasaza, Dunoon, Killarney, Potsdam, Refinery, Montague Gardens, Turf Club, Omuramba, Phoenix, Sanddrift and Century City, as well as the Stables MyCiTi bus depot.

The respondents are interdicted from:

  • entering the stations for the purposes of conducting any protest action or disrupting the MyCiTi service
  • preventing the free movement or access to the MyCiTi stations by City employees, officials, contractors, councillors, commuters or Law Enforcement officials
  • coming within 300 m of the MyCiTi stations mentioned above
  • intimidating, threatening, harassing, assaulting or in any way interfering with operations at the MyCiTi stations, or any commuters utilising or intending to utilise the stations and service

The cost of the damage to the Dunoon station in Potsdam Road, the Phoenix station in Omuramba Road and the Usasaza station is approximately R1,1 million.

Nearly three months later these stations are still not operational following the violent attacks:

  • Buses along the T04 trunk route are still diverted via Bosmansdam and Koeberg Roads
  • Commuters at the Usasaza station are still tapping in and out of a bus parked in Stables Way
  • Commuters from Dunoon still have to walk to either the Usasaza or Killarney stations to board a MyCiTi bus

It should be clear to everybody that we cannot allow a small group of protesters to cause so much harm and inconvenience to commuters who rely on the MyCiTi service. It is nearly three months on and the service can still not operate as it did before the attacks. The final court order is an important victory for the City who must protect its assets and residents.