Metrobus driver shot dead

A Metrobus driver was shot and killed while driving in Mooi Street in Faraday on Monday morning, Johannesburg emergency services said.

Spokesperson Chief Superintendent Malcolm Midgley said the man lost control of the bus after he was shot at about 6.30am.

“The bus overturned and landed on the embankment.”

Rescuers used the Jaws of Life to remove the man’s body.

The driver was alone in the bus at the time of the accident, said Midgley. Metrobus named him as 51-year-old ME Mdlalose.

The incident followed another in which a 52-year-old Metrobus driver was shot in the abdomen in Kensington last week and was rushed to hospital.

East Rand police spokesperson Captain Cheryl Engelbrecht said at the time that it was not clear whether he was shot by a passenger from inside the bus or by someone outside the bus.

Metrobus managing director Bheki Shongwe said it was possible that the shootings were linked to the ongoing Metrobus strike, which started on January 31.

“At this stage we cannot say for sure that there is a link, but we are gathering facts in both cases,” said Shongwe.

South African Municipal Workers’ Union (Samwu) spokesperson Dumisani Langa said the union did not have anything to do with the shooting.

“The union distances itself from the incidents because we do not promote any form of violence, assault or intimidation,” said Langa.

He said most Samwu members were not working on Monday morning as there were demonstrations at Metrobus offices in Braamfontein.

“Our members are disciplined and would never force anyone to join our strike action when they do not want to participate.”

Langa said the union was meeting with Metrobus and representatives from the City of Johannesburg “to try and put an end to the strike”.

The workers are in dispute with the employer over accumulated sick leave.

He said workers were told in 2005 that they stood to lose sick leave accumulated over 15 years if it was not taken within 30 days.

This was after Metrobus took over the service from the City of Johannesburg.

“When members were transferred to Metrobus they said all the same terms and conditions would apply, but then when they came across, Metrobus said they would do away with accumulated sick leave,” said Langa.

Metrobus, however, denied knowing what the strike was about, according to a statement issued on Monday afternoon.

“We are still unable to determine from Samwu the real issue this strike is about because a conciliation process was put in place to ensure that all issues of concern raised by labour were resolved.”

In November last year, the union asked that workers be paid out and cancelled a planned strike.

“We want this resolved as quickly and peacefully as possible,” said Langa.—Sapa