Bus company Putco has announced that it will now operate its fleet on Monday, despite having taken a decision earlier not to operate amidst the national shutdown called for by the EFF.
BUS COMPANY Putco has announced that it will now operate its fleet on Monday, despite having taken a decision earlier not to operate amidst the national shutdown called for by the EFF.
Putco spokesperson Lindokuhle Xulu said the decision to operate on Monday was reached after an urgent meeting with Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga.
“This follows an urgent meeting between the Minister of Transport (Chikunga), her deputy, senior government officials and the executives of the Southern Africa Bus Operators Association (Saboa) … during which bus operators were urged to treat Monday as a normal business day and to provide public transport services as usual,” said Xulu.
“The minister implored Putco and other bus companies to operate and assured them that sufficient security measures were in place for the safety of passengers, staff, and the general public during the planned national shutdown.”
Xulu said government has provided assurance that “all efforts” have been made to ensure that law and order will be maintained on Monday so that economic activities will not be affected.
“Furthermore, President Cyril Ramaphosa also asserted to the media during a State visit by Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan at the Union Buildings yesterday that security forces would take measures to protect those who are not part of the protest action and want to go to work,” he said.
Given the assurances, Xulu said Putco will operate a normal service “as far as possible” on Monday.
“We assure our passengers and staff that we will monitor the situation closely and should it become unsafe, services will be suspended immediately,” said Xulu.
On Thursday, Putco had announced that it has decided to suspend its bus operations on Monday, due to safety concerns.
“The company conducted a safety and risk assessment following the widely announced national shutdown. The in-depth analysis uncovered threats of intimidation and a planned interruption of economic activities by disrupting road networks to prevent trucks and buses from operating,” Xulu had announced that time, before Chikunga’s intervention.
“As a precautionary measure and due to safety concerns for passengers and staff, Putco will not operate on March 20th, 2023. There will be reduced services on Tuesday, March 21st, 2023 and full service will resume on March 22nd, 2023. Putco urges all passengers and staff to remain vigilant.”
Last week, EFF leader Julius Malema vowed that unless Ramaphosa hands in his resignation, there was nothing that could stop the planned national shutdown set for Monday.
The EFF has planned to mobilise tens of thousands of its supporters, citizens, and other organisations to demand an end to load shedding and for Ramaphosa to resign.