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Members of the Portfolio Committee on Transport have today voiced reservations about the implementation and need for a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system at the Mangaung Metro.

The Chairperson of the Committee, Ms Dikeledi Magadzi, commented that it made no business sense for the Mangaung Metro to procure new buses before it has the infrastructure.

“You need to put the infrastructure before procuring, not the other way round. Where will the buses be operated? There is a national policy, and the Metro ought to be clear on how it is implementing the policy,” Ms Magadzi said.

She said the same approach was being adopted by Polokwane City, and that she had a difficulty understanding it. “The Committee would like to motivate for you to get additional funding but based on what?”

Committee member Ms Xego wanted to know if there was a need for this service in Mangaung, and also asked if implemented would there be value for money.

The Mangaung Metro was among municipalities that came to brief the Committee on implementation challenges, lessons and risks involved in the BRT system. The non-implementing cities will also give an update briefing on why they have not started.

Members sought clarity on the routes Mangaung was proposing and said they did not seem to be routes that could sustain business. Clarity was also sought on a new taxi rank facility that remains unused in the CBD, negotiations with the taxi industry, and whether the Auditor-General had pronounced on the facility since it was built.

It was replied that the facility will soon be used before the Auditor-General could pronounce, and that the reason it remains unused was because of a dysfunctional relationship between the previous administration and stakeholders.

Members also raised issues with the reliance on consultants in all of the municipalities. Ms Magadzi said there is a need to call Mangaung back to elaborate on its presentation. “The Auditor-General will be hitting hard on the BRT system, you will have to come back.”

“We expect that you should be on track and that things must go according to action. The Committee wants to see services going to the people, public transport is one of the critical issues. You should say that indeed people are not getting a raw deal in this instance,” she said.

By Sibongile Maputi
12 September 2017