IPTS buses back on the road

IPTS buses in Stanford Road, Helenvale. File picture
IPTS buses in Stanford Road, Helenvale. File picture
Image: Eugene Coetzee

IPTS buses linking the northern areas to the Port Elizabeth city centre were back on the road on Thursday after being at a standstill for 10 days.

Spectrum Alert CEO Trevor Harper said only a handful of workers had failed to report for work.

“A majority of the workforce arrived. We will be assessing those who failed to arrive [on Thursday] and they will be fired,” he said.

The buses came to a standstill almost two weeks ago as workers refused to work until they were paid their wages.

The workers, who have been paid intermittently for several months, were finally paid on Tuesday after Spectrum Alert, which runs the IPTS system on behalf of the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, received its money from the city.

The late payment by the municipality was due to its computer systems being down in December.

There are about 250 drivers, security, support staff and cleaners who operate the buses and feeder taxis to the system.

Harper said there had been an issue on Thursday but this was dealt with quickly.

“About 30 workers set tyres alight in a street close [to the depot] but our security dealt with it before the police arrived,” he said.

“I am just glad this is over. Our customers were suffering because of this,” he said.

Police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu confirmed a group of people had blocked a street near the depot with tyres.

She said the group had left and gathered outside the Lillian Diedricks Building in Govan Mbeki Ave, where they prevented a bus from travelling.

“Stun grenades and teargas were used to disperse the crowd. One person was arrested,” she said.

Satawu shop steward Sandile Adam confirmed some of the remaining workers had scuffled with police.

“One of the people was hit with a stun grenade in the chest. We were there because they [Spectrum Alert] employed new people.”