Bus Rapid Transit: from strike to strike by UDM Secretary General (31 May 2010)
The UDM notes that BRT drivers are on strike for permanent employment; the latest in a litany of problems that plagues this project.
Last year, just prior to elections, President Zuma made a public commitment to taxi associations regarding their concerns - he did not do as promised and they expressed their frustration in a strike. Earlier this month taxi drivers went on strike to have their union recognised. Where are the Rea Vaya bus drivers today? On strike! These strikes adversely affect the economy as it leaves millions of workers stranded in our economic heartland.
Who are the BRT operators? Is this state-run transport or private business endeavours? If the latter, why all the government support whilst the established taxi industry (arguably the single biggest public transport stakeholder) receives nothing?
Taxi associations say they are bullied to surrender their routes. Permits are denied, interim permits are not recognised. Claims of police harassment and impounded vehicles held for excessive release-fines. Why all this government strong-arming?
In 2009 UDM President Bantu Holomisa wrote to government to suggest a plan of action. In 2010 he twice wrote to the Transport Minister to follow-up. Government does not even answer correspondence, never mind attending to a crisis.
The BRT project lacks transparency and has been poorly managed from its planning right through to its implementation.