South Africa
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Fifteen arrested for spate of Cape Town bus robberies

A crime streak on Cape Town’s Golden Arrow bus service saw hundreds of vulnerable commuters being targeted by gangs of thugs who preyed on people returning home from a long day’s work.

But on Friday the law finally caught up with the alleged offenders when police arrested 15 suspected robbers.

Trains used to be a favourite target for armed thieves who would rob commuters during the morning and afternoon peaks, as previously reported by the Sunday Times.

But the demise of Cape Town’s Metrorail train services to large parts of the city coincided with a major increase in the targeting of buses, the last remaining mass transit system to the city’s poorest areas.

A News24 article in May reported stats from a Western Cape government standing committee on transport and public works briefing which showed last year there were 224 robberies on Golden Arrow buses, and an additional 93 in the first four months of this year.

According to a Golden Arrow statement on Friday, the suspects were arrested as a result of close collaboration between the bus company and the SA Police Service in the city “both of whom have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to locate and arrest the suspects”.

“We are grateful to all role players who have made these arrests possible. These breakthroughs are the result of intensive work from our side and from the SAPS officials involved,” read the statement.

It said the arrests were the direct result of safety features Golden Arrow has been introducing to its buses.

These include on-board camera systems fitted in collaboration with the Western Cape transport department. The footage from these cameras, said Golden Arrow, was instrumental in the apprehension of the suspects.  

“We would once again like to assure our passengers and employees that Golden Arrow will do everything possible to ensure arrests and successful convictions. Let this be a warning to anyone who considers targeting our operations — you will be caught.”

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