While millions of Rands will be spent on celebrations across Gauteng tomorrow in honour of Workers Day, the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG) has dealt workers in the province a serious blow by not ensuring the sustainability of public bus operations.
Inefficiently utilised bus subsidies granted directly to Gauteng by the National Department of Transport (NDOT) has forced PUTCO to suspend its operations in the province.
This will negatively impact the 80 000 commuters who use these buses every day.
Gauteng Premier David Makhura
When asked what steps the GPG had taken to provide affordable and efficient alternatives, Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, stated in an official written reply that alternative means of transport were already established to accommodate commuters.
These included mini-bus taxis, metered-taxis, metro-rail and the Gautrain.
Premier Makhura has indicated that extra steps will not be taken to assist stranded commuters, as the above mentioned alternatives will be able to pick up where the busses have left off.
While these forms of transport exist, and are used by many, the thousands of commuters who make use of PUTCO’s services, and not the alternatives do so for the following reasons:
· Mini-bus taxis are often unreliable, do not service all areas and are not as cost effective as busses;
· Metered-taxis are extremely expensive and impractical;
· Metro-rail often experiences delays due to cable theft, rolling stock is outdated, always loaded beyond capacity and is notorious for incidents of crime.
Gauteng Workers Interests
While the GPG under Premier Makhura’s leadership attempts to make right noises, it is clear from the everyday experiences of workers that this administration does not have their best interests at heart.
A key focus of this administration is to redress Apartheid social and geographic planning by bringing those who were once forced to the periphery closer to economic nodes.
How is this to be done when one of the crucial mechanism to do so has been completely disregarded?
The people of Gauteng are being held back from economic inclusion by a government unwilling to accommodate the challenges to prosperity.
The DA will continue to champion this fight on behalf of the workforce of Gauteng.
Dr Neil Campbell MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport
082 387 2540