Intercape South Africa chief executive Johann Ferreira has confirmed that the bus service are hiring heavily armed private security guards to safeguard passengers over the festive season.
“We deploy our own security. We also employ private security firms to help us. So, we provide the security where the police should be providing. They are armed to the teeth with automatic rifles and they have the instructions to protect at all costs,” Ferreira told South African radio station Capetalk yesterday.
Intercape has popular local routes across the country, with stops including Keetmanshoop, Mariental, Oshakati, Oshikango and Swakopmund. It also has cross-border routes between Namibia and South Africa.
The Namibian Intercape branch transport did not respond to questions sent by The Namibian yesterday regarding whether these security measures would also secure its local and cross border routes.
This decision comes as Intercape has incurred R50 million in damages from 176 attacks in the last two years.
Ferreira said the company has been paying out of pocket to safeguard transport operations during the festive season, especially in the Eastern Cape province which is the crime hotspot area targeting the company in South Africa.
As the masses travel across Intercape routes for the holidays, Ferreira also said the company has a contract with their clients to ensure safety.
“We have to protect. We do not have a choice in the matter, we commit when someone buys a bus ticket, safety from point A to point B. This includes accidents, breakdowns and attack,” he said.
The attacks that Intercape has suffered are believed to be orchestrated by organised criminal syndicates.
The company has routes that travel between the Namibian and South African borders twice a week.
Intercape is the largest intercity passenger transport service operating in South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
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