Ineffective bus subsidies bring Gauteng’s workforce to a standstill

Ineffective Bus Subsidies

As of tomorrow, 1 July 2015, many of the 80 000 commuters who make use of PUTCO bus services across Gauteng could awake to the possibility of being left stranded as a result of the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport’s (GDRT) inability to effectively utilised bus subsidies.

While GDRT MEC, Ismail Vadi announced yesterday his department had made arrangements with Autopax, a subsidiary bus company of Passenger Rail Agency South Africa, to take over these routes – this move may be too little too late, as PUTCO has warned since the beginning of the year that it had been running at a loss and could no longer sustain several operations in the province.


The flaw lies in the mismanagement of the bus subsidy which GDRT receives from the National Department of Transport (NDOT). If funded and administered directly from the province, greater control could be exercised over its expenditure rather than the ad hoc manner in which it has been dealt with to date.

More should have been done by MEC Vadi to ensure this was done to improve and provide certainty for Gauteng’s bus commuters.

Economic Exclusion

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.

For many, economic exclusion is still a reality.

How are the ills of the past to be undone when one of the crucial mechanisms to do so has been completely disregarded?

The DA will impress on MEC Vadi the urgency of this matter and how it must be dealt with sooner rather than later before another mode of transport in the province becomes untenable and negatively impacts the lives of residents.

Media enquiries:

Dr Neil Campbell MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport

082 387 2540

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Gauteng commuters at risk of being left stranded

The DA calls on Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi to engage with Transport Minister Dipuo Peters and ensure that Gauteng commuters will not be left stranded from 1 April.Campbell-Dr-Neil1

Yesterday afternoon, Putco bus company distributed letters to commuters informing them that routes from Mamelodi to Pretoria’s CBD as well as southern, northern and eastern suburbs would be suspended as of 1 April.

Bus services in Kathorus (Ekurhuleni) and Meyerton (Midvaal) will also be affected.

Click here to view the letter.

Putco has been receiving government subsidies for decades to provide affordable transport to the people of Gauteng along predetermined routes.

Over the years, government’s subsidies did not keep pace with operating costs and route expansions, nor did they provide Putco with contractual security by only renewing contracts for one year in certain instances – or on a month-to-month basis in others.

The upshot of this was that Putco undercapitalised in new vehicles, with a detrimental effect on commuter and road safety.

The fact is that government slowly caused Putco’s demise, and will be forced to face the wrath of thousands of angry commuters less than 20 days from now.

MEC Vadi’s proposal to use municipal services as a stop-gap measure may provide short-term relief, but the poor state of repair of those vehicles will only escalate commuters’ dissatisfaction.

While it remains critical that commuters are not left stranded, MEC Vadi and minister Peters need to meet with Putco, discuss routes and costs associated with their operation, and hammer out new contractual agreements and their subsidies in as short a time as possible.

Gauteng’s economy cannot afford to lose thousands of man hours every day due to poor government planning.


Media enquiries:

Dr Neil Campbell MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport

082 387 2540


Gauteng Transport Department Powerless Against Corrupt Officials

The CEO for the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport (GDRAT), Mr Roland Swartz, has admitted to the Gauteng Legislature’s committee of inquiry in to taxi licensing that the department has had no capability to investigate or prosecute corrupt officials.

Swartz stated to me that his department had been unable to prosecute or convict any official in the Department’s Transport Operating License Administration Bodies (TOLABs) – the organ for controlling taxi routes and operating licenses – despite acknowledging that the TOLABs are rife with fraud and corruption.

He stated that recently a fraud and corruption unit had been established, but that it had yet to secure any convictions.

The department has relied purely on whistle-blowers to identify corrupt officials, but when individuals did report instances of corruption – at much risk to themselves, reported cases had not resulted in any prosecutions.

Swartz admitted that the systems his department has to rely on, which are run by the National Department of Transport, are woefully slow, inadequate and unable to effectively deal with the flow of applications in Gauteng.

The Auditor-General has often commented on the inadequacy of these systems.

Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi must engage with National Transport Minister, Dipuo Peters, to ensure that the systems are fully operational and responsive.

If left unchecked, corruption in this department will continue unabated.


Media enquiries:

Dr Neil Campbell MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport

082 387 2540

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Phansi nge E-tolls.

Friends and Fellow Democrats,

We are here today to voice our objection to the tolling of the existing Gauteng highways via the exorbitantly expensive e-toll method.

We agree that the highways have been improved so why are we not happy to pay these tolls?

Firstly, there remains uncertainty about exactly how much money will be generated by these tolls. It is also uncertain as to how much of that money will go overseas and who exactly will benefit from the profits. Is it only the Austrian company Kapsch or are ANC big-wigs also in line to augment their bank accounts?

Secondly, we are opposed to any government plan which requires the motorists of Gauteng to pay billions of Rands in collection costs when the alternative fuel levy route will cost nothing. We support the raising of funds via a national fuel levy which is ring-fenced solely for transport needs. Those in other provinces who state that they should not pay for Gauteng road upgrades must understand that Gauteng is the guinea pig regarding e-tolls and that should it succeed here e-tolls will soon ring all cities. At present their highways are paid for by the fiscus and we find it unfair that only Gauteng roads are not funded by national government.

Thirdly, we note with regret that the victims of apartheid spatial planning will pay relatively more in fuel levies because they cover greater distances. However this is also true for the proposed e-toll collection method as those in outlying areas will pass under more gantries. In fact, until the inequalities of apartheid are eradicated, those in former townships will pay more whichever method is used unless the e-tolls are paid for by national government or scrapped.

Fourthly, the alternative method proposed by the e-toll advisory panel, which was vehemently rejected by those who attended the consultative forum at Gallagher’s recently is based on:

  • A retained but reduced e-toll component which has been rejected by the majority of Gauteng motorists.
  • An increase in motor vehicle license fees. This suggestion must be rejected because licenses have been used to generate money for the fiscus which does not fund roads. Recent increase in licence fees have outstripped inflation by large percentages and although the DA is not married to a user pays principle the ANC is, and this stealth tax catches everyone with a vehicle in Gauteng. Strangely out of province and foreign vehicles escape this tax. Yesterday a provincial gazette was distributed which seeks to increase licence fees yet again.
  • Increased tyre tax. This is another stealth tax which can be increased at will and which defies the user pays principle.
  • Another suggestion that the South African Revenue Service and the electronic National Traffic Information service data bases should be combined must be rejected because eNatis is fatally corrupt and will contaminate the SARS system. It also infringes tax confidentiality which is unconstitutional.

The advisory panel states that it costs R6.25 billion per annum to run the e-tolls which cost R20 billion all-in to build. How is this possible? If we use the example of a 20 year house bond of R 1 million we would not be required to pay back R 312500 annually. Yet the government and its agent SANRAL, with superior bargaining and purchasing power is happy to force its citizens to pay this ridiculous amount annually. Are state lawyers useless or are connected cadres getting even richer?

Friends, SANRAL now admits that it paid more that it should have for the Gauteng Freeway upgrades. We told them this years ago but they denied it. SANRAL is making noises about reclaiming money for overpayment but why did it not question this when the cost was quoted.

SANRAL was chastised by the panel for not adequately informing the public. They are still not informing us.

We reject e-tolls because they are more costly than they need to be.

We reject e-tolls because we were inadequately consulted and then ignored before the system was introduced.

We reject e-tolls because they harm the Gauteng economy. 

We reject e-tolls because government does not practice cost containment but profligacy and thinks that citizens can just continue paying unfair taxes.

Phansi nge E-tolls.

Viva democracy.

Expired driving permits highlight law enforcement failure







Reports by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) indicating that 366 761 heavy duty and public transport operators are on Gauteng’s roads with expired professional driving permits is an indictment on law enforcement in the province.

Drivers of heavy duty and public transport vehicles require these permits to prove their ability to operate these vehicles.

Gauteng is second only to KwaZulu-Natal when it comes to road fatalities and experiences an ever increasing number of road violations.

Despite laws being in place, it is clear that current law enforcement structures are failing.

As a result, and what is clear from the startling number of expired professional driving permits, is that compliance and regard for the law is at an all-time low.

The Gauteng Provincial Government needs to take decisive action.

What it must do is move the Gauteng Traffic Police force from the Department of Community Safety, and place it back under control of the Department of Roads and Transport.

The DA has for a long time raised this issue with Roads and Transport MEC, Ismail Vadi, and Community Safety MEC, Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane.

We will continue to pressurise the MEC, as well as Gauteng Premier, David Makhura, to heed our calls in ensuring not only compliance – but also effective road law enforcement which ensures the safety of all road users.

Media enquiries:
Dr Neil Campbell MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport
082 387 2540

Gautrain precincts remain hotspots for criminals

Yesterday a Gauteng Legislature staff member was robbed at gun-point of his computer, smart-phone and wallet by five thugs.

Whilst there is unfortunately nothing unusual about such incidents in South Africa, the fact is that numerous people are being mugged on an ongoing basis right outside the Gautrain Park station.

Several GPL members and staff have already been subjected to similar acts of violent robbery.

Errol Braithwaite, the Bombela spokesperson, has stated that the contract with Bombela’s security company precludes security officers from operating outside the Gautrain stations- albeit only a few feet from Gautrain property.
The police, as usual, seem to be incapable of deploying undercover officers to identify and arrest the perpetrators.

The total inability or unwillingness of the SAPS and Bombela to address this crime issue is totally unacceptable.

Public transport is rightly identified as the only solution to traffic congestion – but an absolute requirement for efficient public transport is the safety of the commuters it carries.

The problem is compounded when existing public transport remains unreliable – as has been the case with the recent Rea Vaya bus strikes.

As a result of the strike, Rea Vaya commuters are forced to use the Gautrain bus service, creating delays and overcrowding, leaving many no other options but to walk.

The DA calls on the Gauteng Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS, Lieutenant General Lesetja Mothiba, and Bombela to take immediate steps to stop the daylight muggings outside Gautrain stations.

Media enquiries:
Neil Campbell MPL
DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport
082 387 2540