I am Shocked & Disappointed

STATEMENT BY BRETT HERRON, GOOD MEMBER OF THE WESTERN CAPE PROVINCIAL PARLIAMENT

I am shocked to learn that the DA government in the City of Cape Town has allowed the MyCiTi N2 Express to grind to a halt. The operating contract lapsed on 31 May 2019 and no extension agreement has been concluded.

In July 2014 the N2 Express Service began operating from Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain. It was operated as a Joint Venture between Golden Arrow Bus Services and the CODETA Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain Route Six taxi associations.

Getting to the signing of an operating agreement took a lot of hard work, involved difficult negotiations and required the building of trust between our government and the operators.

It was not an easy task but it was achieved through strong leadership from all the parties seeing the bigger picture and being willing to put in the hard graft to achieve it.

The City invested nearly R400 million rand in capital expenditure to build the infrastructure, including a beautiful station in Mitchells Plain, and to acquire 40 buses that would be dedicated to this service.

In the last quarter of 2018, October to December 2018, the service provided over 660 000 passenger trips with passenger numbers growing over the same period for the previous year as commuters moved from an unreliable rail service.

Now those commuters are stranded.

This time last year we managed to avoid the cancellation of the service when an extended operating contract was agreed to at the eleventh hour. Getting that contract extension involved difficult and complex negotiations that included former Mayor Patricia De Lille and I both stepping in to ensure that the service did not stop operating.

A one year extension – to 31 May 2019 – was agreed to on condition that negotiations would continue throughout the year with a view to transferring more operations to the taxi operator partners to operate as stand-alone vehicle operating companies.

It is beyond disappointing that the contract has not been renewed and that the service is in jeopardy. Yet again commuters, relegated to the outskirts of the city by the apartheid spatial plan, are failed by our governments.

It is particularly irresponsible for the City to alert commuters only after the contract had lapsed and by social media announcements only. Poor commuters would have already purchased their monthly tickets by the time the City tweeted an alert.

It is shameful.

I appeal to all parties to work together to get the service operating according to the schedule urgently. I have written to DA Provincial Leader and Provincial Minister for Transport and Public Works, Bongi Madikizela, requesting that he intervene in this failure of his local leadership and government.

ENDS.

Media Enquiries: Brett Herron / +27-82-5183264 / bretth@forgood.org.za

(from 2 – 8 June 2019 please WhatsApp or call +44-7951-403471)