Mozambican Bus Companies Interrupt Route To Durban
Maputo, 30 Jan (AIM) – Mozambican bus and minibus companies that operate the route from Maputo to the South African city of Durban on Sunday decided to interrupt their activities temporarily following mob attacks against Mozambican vehicles on South African roads.
On Saturday, the rioters, none of whom seem to have been arrested, set fire to six vehicles owned by Mozambican citizens, including a passenger bus that was carrying about 35 people to Durban. The attack took place about 90 kilometres from Ponta d’Ouro, on the border between Mozambique and the South African province of Kwazulu-Natal.
In addition to setting the vehicles on fire, the assailants also stole property, including cash, from the passengers.
An official of the Mozambican transport operators’ commission, Jonas Fumo, told AIM that operators who use vehicles with Mozambican number plates have opted to suspend travel on the Maputo-Durban route because of the latest violence.
Fumo said that by midday Sunday there were only three vehicles, all owned by South African companies, who were operating the Maputo-Durban route. “Transporters with Mozambican number plates are afraid to travel to South Africa via the Ponta d’Ouro border”, he said.
One Mozambican operator who used to drive passengers to and from Durban, Joao Mondlane, told AIM that he was lucky to escape from the Saturday attacks. “Vehicles are on fire, people are dying, and I escaped by just 300 metres”, he said.
The driver of a vehicle travelling in the opposite direction warned him of what was happening. Mondlane escaped with his vehicle intact, but he did not return to Maputo by the same route. Under normal circumstances, he would have returned on Saturday – instead he came back on Sunday, taking a huge detour via Eswatini.
Since the Maputo-Durban road is no longer safe, Mondlane urged the relevant authorities to intervene and ensure a return to normality.
Fear of travelling to Durban affects passengers as well as bus operators. The bus drivers say the terminals in Maputo “are empty because nobody wants to take the risk”.