Three men were arrested by the Pacaltsdorp police last week after stoning a GO GEORGE bus in Delville Park, damaging its back window and resulting in temporary service suspension of the Pacaltsdorp community route. This was one of three incidents of stone throwing at buses on Friday.
Vandalism to GO GEORGE buses and infrastructure has been a major challenge ever since the bus service rolled out and became even worse since the installation of bus shelters with operational information applied on the inside. These, as well as broken glass panels, are being replaced constantly at huge cost to the Municipality.
James Robb, GO GEORGE Manager, says people don’t understand the consequences of this kind of behaviour. “We need everybody to realise that malicious damage to municipal property is a very serious matter; it is a criminal offence and will lead to a criminal record when convicted. The same goes for people throwing stones at the buses – we have had three such incidents last week and five during January alone. Last year, 18 incidents of stone throwing and damage to buses were reported.
“Moreover – instances of vandalism, including stone-throwing, put the lives of passengers and bus drivers at risk, and inconveniences passengers waiting at shelters, unnecessarily enduring harsh weather conditions (wind and rain) due to shelter damage. These senseless acts of vandalism are costing a fortune to keep replacing and repairing, and for no good reason. In the case of damaged buses, we need to take those vehicles out of service to repair, sometimes for several days, causing delays and capacity problems with fewer buses on route.”
According to Dr Michele Gratz, Acting Municipal Manager, the three men were apprehended by the Municipality’s Rapid Response Unit within minutes after receiving the call and were handed over to the Police. “The Municipality has a zero-tolerance approach to criminality and will work closely with the SAPS to address these matters. Vandals must be warned that every effort will be made to ensure their arrest and successful prosecution.
“We call upon the George community to take hands and help protect GO GEORGE vehicles and municipal infrastructure. Please report any acts of vandalism and especially help prevent such acts,” she said.
Members of the public are requested to report people tampering with, painting or damaging GO GEORGE infrastructure or buses, while it is taking place and with as much information as possible, by phoning George Municipality Law Enforcement on 044 801 6350 or 044 801 6300 (after hours), or the GO GEORGE Call Centre on 0800 044 044.