Drivers and passengers attacked as Metrobus strike continues


Zodidi Mhlana

JOHANNESBURG- Thousands of Metrobus commuters were forced to use alternative transport on Thursday morning as bus drivers belonging to the Democratic Municipal and Allied Workers Union of South Africa downed tools this week.

The Democratic Municipal and Allied Workers Union of South Africa has disrupted bus services and prevented drivers not part of the strike from working.

Metrobus spokesperson Goodwill Shiburi on Thursday said that six of their drivers and two passengers hospitalised after being attacked this week.

“We are unable to protect our drivers; one driver was seriously injured. Those who were not taking part in the strike have been threatened and by meeting with the union, we are trying to avoid violence,” he said.

Shiburi also said that some of their busses had been stoned and damaged during the strike that began on Tuesday.

He said that talks between the Democratic Municipal and Allied Workers Union of South Africa which is not recognised by Metrobus were ongoing on Thursday.

“I’m hopeful that we are going to be able to find each other during the talks. We don’t want violence. The main thing that the union is demanding is to be recognised. But, we’ve explained to them that they don’t meet the requirements that can ensure their recognition,” Shiburi said.

He said that the unrecognised union is also demanding that Metrobus pays salary progression for inexperienced drivers.

Metrobus has been beset by problems lately, three weeks ago angry commuters blocked buses from operating in and around Gandhi Square complaining about late and unreliable buses. Commuters used dustbins and other objects to block buses from entering and exiting Gandhi Square claiming that Metro buses were often delayed or not arriving at all.