The ANC yesterday announced that the provincial department of transport and public works had spent a transport subsidy of R700m, which was meant for poor people, on buses for affluent communities.
ANC provincial chairperson Marius Fransman and the secretary Songezo Mjongile, held a press conference in light of the recent violent taxi strike and the public transport system.
“This DA-led government has no commitment in providing transport to poor people in the Western Cape. But they are using taxpayers’ money to transport the wealthy from the airport to the Cape Town central business district,” Mjongile said.
He added that the City of Cape Town and provincial government “spent R700m that was given by national government for an integrated transport system to also benefit the poor in rich areas”.
The transport system should have included the taxi industry but this never transpired. The Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) systems should have operated between Khayelitsha, Mitchells Plain and Gugulethu. The idea was that it would have made travelling to work far more simple for poor people, who spent many hours every day on the road. The BRT was working “beautifully” in Soweto, Gauteng.
“In the meantime the MyCiTi buses are standing empty in Cape Town and Blaauwberg. These buses are on routes where people who can afford air plane fares and cars live. So, in effect they have moved a transport subsidy which was meant for poor people to wealthy areas. The DA has a disregard for poor people, who have a right to safe and reliable public transport.
“Robin Carlisle (MEC for transport and public works) is displaying a condescending attitude and is agitating to divide the taxi industry. He has no regard for a legitimate structure such as the South African National Taxi Council (Santaco). Where is the premier (Helen Zille) while the violence in the taxi industry is occurring? We are wondering what she would have done if this was happening in Constantia or Claremont.”
On Tuesday evening, the Minister of Transport, Sibusiso Ndebele, announced that the strike had been called off. He also said that a joint working committee had been established and that the parties agreed to look at resolutions to the impasse.
Meanwhile, Santaco had a mass meeting yesterday to inform taxi operators whom the message had not reached, that the strike has been called off.