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MyCiTi claims EFF is behind bus strike, seeks court interdict

As the MyCiTi Bus strike continues into its fourth day, the company has made an official statement on behalf of the City of Cape Town, announcing that it’s seeking an interdict from the Western Cape High Court.

“The City of Cape Town will, within the next few hours, apply for an urgent court interdict to protect MyCiTi personnel, passengers, and assets against those participating in an unprotected strike that has turned violent,” said the statement, which was posted on Facebook.

According to the post, Wednesday’s protests saw two female bus drivers held hostage, buses stoned, and bus keys stolen to prevent drivers who were working from doing their jobs. Passengers were also reportedly chased out of stations.

MyCiTi claims that the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) was behind the illegal strike.

“The EFF is using the unprotected strike to drive their political agenda — this is a deplorable agenda centred around chaos, violence, disruption, sabotage, and self-interest,” said the rapid transit service.

No official statement has been made by the EFF itself, however IOL reported that the party’s provincial secretary Andrew Arnolds was one of the EFF members who had joined protests on Tuesday.

“We are here to support workers. And to escalate this demonstration. We are asking why can’t these workers be employed by the City?” he explained to the publication.

It’s believed that striking drivers no longer want to be employed by external companies. MyCiTi however, claims that the issue of outsourcing workers is a misinformed one.

“The MyCiTi service was rolled out in Cape Town in May 2010 after the City entered into long-term operational contracts with Vehicle Operating Companies (VOCs) to run the MyCiTi routes,” it explained.

This means that, while drivers are employed by external companies, they are part of the MyCiTi contracts with those companies and therefore not outsourced.

“Importantly, the bus drivers are represented by trade unions and their conditions of employment are the subject of a collective bargaining agreement,” MyCiTi noted further.

Cape Town’s Councillor for Transport and Urban Development, Brett Herron, expressed his frustration with the situation on Twitter. He claims that he suspected the EFF all along.

“Yesterday I suspected the #EFF were behind this strike,” he said in one tweet.

“Deeply frustrating to see our residents suffer the consequences of a politically opportunistic strike,” he had also tweeted earlier.

While there is no word on when the strike will end, MyCiTi has stated that those customers with Monthly Passes will be reimbursed for the number of days that they could not use the bus service.

In the meantime, customers are still being advised to make alternative arrangements as most routes remain suspended.

Feature image: MyCiTi via Facebook

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