R57 million spent on unused transport facilities

Justus De Goede MPL

DA Spokesperson on Transport

Gauteng Transport MEC, Ismail Vadi, revealed that intermodal transport facilities at Zandspruit and Bophelong, built at a cost of R57 million, have been left to fall in to disuse.

Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting of the Legislature’s Portfolio Committee on Roads and Transport, Vadi revealed that the municipalities and transport operators who requested the construction of these facilities, failed to take ownership of them after completion.

All planning for intermodal facilities is done, step by step, together with the municipality involved and with relevant transport stakeholders. On completion of a facility, the relevant municipality and transport operators take ownership to oversee cleaning, security and other services.

In the case of Zandspruit and Bophelong, the responsibility lies with the City of Johannesburg and Emfuleni respectively.

Intermodal transport facilities are structures where different types of public transport – trains, buses and taxis – converge and facilitate the transfer of passengers from one mode of transport to another. They should also form centres for commercial activities for both formal and informal trade.

To have them stand vacant is not only an irresponsible waste of tax payers money, it is also hampers economic growth.

MEC Vadi warned that, unless the role-players were prepared to assume responsibility for such facilities, no further public funds would be made available for the purpose of building these facilities.

While it is pleasing to note that some political heads are willing to give the Legislature and the public explanations for ultimately fruitless expenditure in their Departments, these investments have now been lost to the Province.

There has clearly not been effective monitoring of this spend, nor have role-players been contractually bound to support the intermodal facilities before planning and construction began.

The Department of Roads and Transport must inform the Portfolio Committee of such projects, allowing them to undergo the necessary scrutiny before any public funds are committed.

To prevent a repetition of this situation, the DA will request that much stronger preparatory processes, with guarantees for viability and sustainability, are put in place before construction commences. The DA will also write to the Auditor General to investigate the fruitless/ wasteful expenditure incurred as a result of these projects.