All benefit from affordable and modern public transport
Jessie Duarte, 24 Mar 2009All South Africans, including those in the minibus taxi sector, stand to benefit from safe, affordable, accessible and modern public transport.
The ANC acknowledges that the minibus sector face many challenges, including bureaucratic frustrations with some operating licensing boards, difficulties with taxi recapitalisation, and the general problem of economic sustainability of the sector in its present form. There is ample opportunity to address whatever concerns may exist without resort to strikes or other forms of protest.
However, the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) projects must not be allowed to become a proxy targets for other frustrations.
In all cities involved in the BRT projects, the guiding principle is to involve the minibus sector along with bus operators as the nucleus of the new BRT bus operator consortiums.
Government has undertaken that there will be no loss of jobs and no loss of legitimate profits for operators currently on the routes that will be affected.
For the first time, former minibus drivers on these routes will have proper wages, pensions and other benefits, and they will work shifts and not the current 17-18 hour work days.
Contrary to what is claimed in some quarters there has been extensive consultation on the BRTs with the minibus sector over many years, including the financing of dozens of fact-finding tours to Latin America.
Most of the recent disruptive activity directed against the BRTs is being stirred up by taxi bosses who are not on affected routes but who hope to use mobilisation and intimidation to leverage a slice of BRT action for themselves.
While taxi strikes are nominally directed at one or another sphere of government, those involved should know that the main victims are our own communities who are already extremely unhappy with the service they get from the minibus sector.
The ANC's doors are open and we are prepared to listen to all who have legitimate concerns. However, our priority is to ensure that millions of South Africans increasingly have access to safe, affordable, accessible and modern public transport.
In this regard the ANC is fully supportive of the Johannesburg Rea Vaya BRT, led by Mayor Amos Masondo and his team. This will be the first BRT up and running in our country. The first phase of 25 km between Soweto and Johannesburg CBD will be rolled out by 1 June 2009 in time for the Confederations Cup.
We call on the people of Johannesburg and all South Africans to support this innovative project, which will be a first for our country and the continent.
Back to top