Nelson Mandela Bay IPTS must not be abandoned; integration with taxi operators must proceed

By Cllr Retief Odendaal, DA Caucus Leader: Nelson Mandela Bay:

The DA rejects and denounces a proposal in last week’s NMB Council meeting to sell off all IPTS buses, and scrap the system in our Metro.

The ANC government in Nelson Mandela Bay has catastrophically failed to deliver this system, with buses sitting idle while they rust in a parking yard, costing us millions of Rands. The poorest and those who struggle every day to get ahead will be struck a devastating blow if this system is sold off and scrapped, and they will be kept further from jobs and opportunities, while freedom of movement for all will be compromised.

Last week, the ANC allowed this proposal to be set down for consideration at the next sitting of Council. The ANC is one vote away from getting rid of all our busses and scrapping the IPTS.

The DA will vehemently oppose this, and will stand up for the people who demand freedom of movement and reliable public transport.

The DA will now table a motion to integrate the taxi services with all IPTS bus operations, as has been successfully done by the DA-governed City of Cape Town. This motion will set out the need for taxi operators to manage the licensing of all associated vehicles as opposed to this being the driver’s responsibility. This gives the operating companies holistic oversight capacity and also incentivizes efficient operations.

A string of poor governance decisions and bad municipal planning has led us to a point where we are forced to consider far-reaching salvage proposals from contracted advisors, one of which proposes that all of the idle buses be sold to other metros in South Africa. In a fair society, proper planning and coordination by government would be non-negotiable and would prevent situations like this from materialising.

This project cannot be abandoned at the 11th hour – every person in Nelson Mandela Bay deserves the opportunity to access public transport. Freedom of movement forms the foundation on which an economy and job-creation can thrive. Furthermore, a safe and affordable public transport system is a critical component of an inclusive society.

The DA is set on winning Nelson Mandela Bay at next year’s elections to deliver good governance, proper planning and so that foresight be the foundation on which this Metro is run.