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Fikile Mbalula’s appeal in Intercape case fails, CEO Ferreira wants Bheki Cele to finally act

Fikile Mbalula’s appeal in Intercape case fails, CEO Ferreira wants Bheki Cele to finally act
A long-distance bus that came under fire on 31 July 2022. (Photo: Supplied)

Intercape CEO Johann Ferreira wins the case and hopes the courts will force Minister of Police Bheki Cele to protect his long-distance buses from violent attacks, particularly on Eastern Cape roads.

The CEO of Intercape, Johann Ferreira, has urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to find a replacement for Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula as soon as possible to restore stability to the sector and improve the safety of dangerous routes for long-distance buses, particularly in the Eastern Cape.

Ferreira’s request comes after Judge John Smith dismissed Mbalula’s appeal against a court order compelling him and Eastern Cape MEC for Transport, Xolile Edmund Nqatha, to develop a comprehensive action plan to stop the attacks on Intercape’s long-distance buses.

In his appeal, Mbalula argued that the court erred in requiring him and Nqatha to act jointly in circumstances where the Transport Act of 2009 does not allow them to do so.

However, the court found that — while Mbalula and Nqatha must each decide whether circumstances exist that require them to exercise powers vested in them — there was nothing in the Transport Act prohibiting them from acting jointly to facilitate the effective implementation of any measures to achieve the act’s objectives; in this case, the preparation and implementation of an action plan.

Mbalula needed to persuade the court that his appeal had a reasonable chance of success, or that there was some other compelling reason why it should be heard.

mbalula intercape

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula. (Photo: Gallo Images / Beeld / Deaan Vivier)

The application for leave to appeal was heard on 14 December 2022. In delivering judgment on Tuesday, Smith found that the appeal had no reasonable prospects of success. 

Mbalula is expected soon to be replaced as transport minister after being elected as ANC secretary-general at the party’s recent 55th national conference. President Ramaphosa is likely to announce a Cabinet reshuffle in the coming weeks.

The court order compelling Mbalula and Nqatha to compile an action plan was issued on 30 September 2022 after Intercape sought urgent relief from the Eastern Cape High Court to allow safe passage for its buses through the province.

Eastern Cape no-go zone

Parts of the Eastern Cape have been a no-go zone for Intercape buses because of the company’s refusal to give in to extortion and threats from certain sectors of the taxi industry.

At the time of the initial hearing, more than 150 shootings, stonings and other acts of violence and intimidation directed at Intercape bus drivers and passengers had been reported to police in Gauteng and in the Eastern and Western Cape between January 2021 and February 2022.

Intercape’s Johann Ferreira resorted to legal action after one of his drivers, Bangikhaya Machana, was shot outside the company’s depot in Cape Town on 25 April last year.

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Murder of long-distance bus driver part of ‘campaign of violence’ against industry, says Intercape boss

Judge Smith said Mbalula’s “resistance to cooperation with provincial authorities is rather surprising, particularly given that our constitutional dispensation is founded on the principle of cooperative governance”.

The judge also noted that an action plan was already in the works, and that its finalisation and implementation were imminent. This meant that by the time an appeal was heard, the action plan would have been finalised and, most likely, substantially implemented. Smith concluded that the appeal would have no practical effect.

Responding to the judgment, Ferreira criticised Mbalula for “wasting time and valuable state resources, including legal costs now running into millions of rands. 

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“All this legal action and associated costs would have been totally unnecessary, if only Minister Mbalula had done his job.”

Ferreira said it was time for Ramaphosa to appoint a competent transport minister; someone capable of bringing order, stability and accountability to the portfolio.

However, Intercape’s battle is far from over. According to Ferreira, the company now plans to take legal action against Police Minister Bheki Cele, to force the police to intervene.

Ferreira says he is perplexed that nearly 150 cases have been opened with the police in the Eastern Cape with no arrests or convictions, despite Intercape providing “mountains of evidence of criminality”, including acts of intimidation and extortion.

“We are going to hold the minister of police to account for this unforgivable failure to uphold law and order, which enabled anarchy to take hold,” he said. DM


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Timothy Fearnhead says:

    about time Mbalula did something useful !

    • Jeremy Doveton-Helps says:

      At a recent business function to which Fickle The Great was the guest of (dis)honour, his ‘rider’ was issued to the organisers in advance of his deigning to attend and included two cases of Vilafonte Series C red wine (at almost R2000 a bottle). When we enquired as to whether any other red wine would suffice (we had a wine sponsor), the blissfully unashamedly arrogant reply was:
      ‘It’s the only wine the Minister will drink.’

      Nero’s fiddle…

  • Jannie Rossouw says:

    Mbalula to do something usefull. Not possible other thsn to leave/retire

  • Katharine Ambrose says:

    Hm fighting off a demand that he protects road users. Quibbling over cooperating with a comrade(I assume) to do this. Thank goodness he’s off the roads and in the layby of ANC high office where all that bombast and noise will melt into the other sound and fury…

  • Patrick Devine says:

    Even when a judge orders a cadre to ‘do their job’ – they use our taxes to appeal.

    Cadres just wanna loot…. That is all!

  • Paddy Ross says:

    Why did Intercape have to go to court to achieve what would be normal practice in any other country with a functioning police force? I have already accepted what the likely responses to my question will be!

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    I still don’t understand why the minister is fighting it in court at all.

    Does he maybe own a few taxis?

  • Chris 123 says:

    Only in the ANC would you get promoted for incompetence, maybe Mbalula should pay some of the legal costs out of his own pocket for wasting taxpayers money.

  • John Weaver Weaver says:

    Appointing Mbalula as ANC Secretary General is an EFF plot to finally destroy the ANC.

  • Gordon Bentley says:

    Has the fat cat in the hat become an untouchable? For this issue and the issue of investigating the attempted murder by poisoning of Andre De Ruiter? No Report or results mentioned to date.

  • Ian McGill says:

    Here’s an idea, all those folks who want nationalisation, nationalise the Taxi Industry. Then the ANC can trash it, just like everything else!

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    These are people who everyday mouth service to the people with their lavatory mouths but have no care about the poor who use buses as commuters. Recently he was talking about Ministers sleeping on the job who ought to be fired. The donkey is very ignorant of the fact that the law is there to protect the poor against the strong. It was the appeal also against Section 27 on the Komape case that one concluded that when you are dealing with ANC you are dealing with very heartless people who do not care about the poor. Commuters are being attacked in these buses by criminal syndicates and the court after failure to deal with the matter intervenes on behalf of society. At the slightest opportunity this lavatory mouth would be mouthing democracy, rule of law and service to the poor when he daily undermines democracy and the rule of law and fails the very poor he says he serves even with PRASA. These clowns have to be called for what they are, charlatans with no conscience. You even hear a thug and thief talking of democracy and human rights including those who joined the struggle to pay themselves through looting of public resources.

    • Jeremy Doveton-Helps says:

      Well said Sir! The only time ‘the donkey’ ceases mouthing these platitudes is to take a sip of his R2000 a bottle Vilafonte – by his own admission, ‘the only wine he drinks’ (see my comment above).

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