Elderly woman stranded in Queenstown

A 75-year old woman from Sea Point was stranded in Queenstown for a month after she missed her stop in Gqeberha. Dawn Williams slept on the IlulaBus and when she was woken up she had to disembark in a city nearly 400 kilometres from her destination.

Theo Redelinghuys and Dawn Williams at the vehicle they live in, in Sea Point.

Ms Williams says she could not get a bus back to Cape Town on September 7 as it was fully booked and had to stay in Queenstown for a month..

“The driver, Mackie, asked me to get off the bus. I didn’t know where to go or what to do, I don’t know anyone in that town and the people at the bus office couldn’t assist me. I then went to a police station and they took me to a shelter,” said the tearful pensioner.

“I was in Queenstown for a month until I could get my next pension and book a bus ticket back home. The shelter took good care of me. I was stressed out and didn’t feel well but they (the shelter) assisted me, they took me to a clinic and to a doctor and my pension money was spent on medical treatment. It was a traumatic experience,” she said.

Her partner, Theo Redelinghuys, 66, says he thought the worst as he did not hear from her for nearly a month. Ms Williams returned to Cape Town on October 7 and they both live in a car parked in Sea Point.

“She was supposed to go to a friend of ours in PE, to stay there and possibly get a job. But because we could not get hold of her that opportunity passed,” he said.

“I only heard from her the day that she returned and I was surprised, happy. But when I heard her story I immediately went to their offices in Cape Town and the lady at that office was shocked to hear about this. She gave me an email address and a number for a Mr Bloem and I contacted them, he said he would get back to me about wanting to be reimbursed,” Mr Redelinghuys said.

The IlulaBus chief operating officer, Charles Bloem, said that they are aware of Ms Williams’ experience and promised to compensate her.

“I have spoken to Theo about this. He told me what happened and I was and still am disappointed at this occurrence. I have spoken to the bus driver about this and he recalls this incident, this passenger clearly, and I must say he is a professional driver,” Mr Bloem said.

“We have spoken to Theo and he asked us, in lieu of the bad experience that Ms Williams had, that we consider refunding her. The management of the company have agreed to compensate Ms Williams and to apologise for this situation.

“We are investigating what happened in Queenstown and this is something we take seriously. We don’t know why it was not rectified on the day and we are looking into it. She is an elderly person and we value our customers and this should not happen. We will work on putting in measures to ensure that this does not happen to our passengers.”