Bus company Intercape said a coach with family members of a slain driver was prevented by taxi operators from traveling to his home in Dutywa in the Eastern Cape for his funeral which was due to take place on Saturday .
Bangikhaya Machana, 35, was shot outside the company’s depot in Cape Town on April 25 and died in Tygerberg Hospital three days later.
Intercape CEO Johann Ferreira said the incident happened on Friday when Intercape’s coach with mourners was “chased away” by taxi operators.
He said the coach drove to Dutywa police station to try to offload the mourners but was followed by taxis leaving them no choice but to go to Mthatha.
“The coach with the mourners finally returned to Dutywa on Friday afternoon under police escort after Intercape asked the senior provincial police to intervene.”
Ferreira said the long-distance coach industry is facing unprecedented levels of violence, including shootings and rock-throwing incidents by rogue elements in the minibus taxi industry.
He said that in the space of just 13 months, more than 150 violent incidents have been recorded, a number of which have resulted in serious injuries to industry employees and passengers.
Responding to an inquiry, Eastern Cape Police spokesman Brigadier Tembinkosi Kinana said “no complaints have been made to the police about the threat of violence from taxi drivers”.
He said the bus driver “only became suspicious when approached by taxi drivers” who allegedly denied there was a problem but wanted to see the bus.
Kinana said that was when he made the decision to drop people off at the police station. He said there was no suggestion of a “threat of violence directed at the buses at the time”.