By John Moodey MPL, DA Gauteng Provincial Leader:
The DA condemns in the strongest sense the violence that has denied residents of Mamelodi, Tshwane, their right to safely commute to and from work.
Disputes between taxi operators and the Provincial Department of Roads and Transport, who signed a three month contract with Passenger Rail of South Africa’s subsidiary bus company Autopax, has left thousands of commuters stranded – with violence now escalating to the point where many have been caught up in the conflict.
Six months ago, when PUTCO indicated it would be terminating its services due to inefficient bus subsidies administered by the provincial department, the DA insisted that the department deal with the matter timeously to avoid any impact this would have on commuters.
The signing of the contract with Autopax was done in such a manner that sufficient oversight into the awarding of the tender was sidestepped, as the announcement was made after the contract was signed.
Had proper oversight been conducted, adequate stakeholder engagement could have taken place – which would have negated the violence that is currently playing out in Mamelodi.
This being said, the rule of law must be applied equitably and those found transgressing it must be brought to book.
The wilful destruction and malicious damage to property are serious offences.
So too is harm caused to commuters who are in dire need of these public services.
This shambolic affair will continue to entrench Apartheid spatial planning by keeping the residents of Mamelodi away from economic centres of growth.
It will also have a knock on effect of increased job loss and poverty.
Gauteng Premier Makhura must take strong action against Gauteng Roads and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi for allowing the situation in Mamelodi to deteriorate to such an extent that people’s lives have been placed in danger.
These are not the actions of a responsive, caring government but those of one that continues to neglect the provinces marginalised people.