Transport Minister Dr Blade Nzimande has requested the Western Cape provincial government to suspend plans to roll out Phase 4B of the George Integrated Public Transport Network (IPTN).
This was in response to a letter sent by the Western Cape Transport MEC Donald Grant, informing Nzimande of the intended IPTN roll-out.
In his letter – dated April 1, 2019 – Grant indicated that the George municipality had skipped the implementation of Phase 4A as a result of the failure by the municipality to gain the support of Uncedo Taxi Association and the Taxi Commuter Forum – two structures representing the taxi operators and the commuting public in the Thembalethu township where the roll-out of Phase 4A of the project was to be implemented.
“The support of the taxi operators and the commuter forum that are likely to be affected by the roll-out of the IPTN in particular, and the community in general, is critical for the successful roll-out of the systems,” Nzimande said in reply to Grant’s letter.
He added that while government urged all municipalities supported by the Department of Transport’s Public Transport Network Grant (PTNG) to accelerate IPTN implementation, the roll-out of these networks could not be done at the exclusion of the taxi industry.
He commented that skipping Phase 4A to proceed to Phase 4B, “will not only cause divisions among the communities, but will further delay the implementation of the project.”
Nzimande said he would avail additional capacity, from the department, to ensure that the George IPTN challenges are resolved so that the original plan to roll out Phase 4A, and then Phase 4B, is adhered to.
The Minister intends to hold a stakeholder engagement meeting at Thembalethu, in George, on April 26, to brief members of the community about the benefits of this IPTN and its ability to ensure, “a safe, reliable and dignified public transport service for all”.
Additionally, the Minister will underline the importance of an inclusive approach in the implementation of IPTNs in all participating municipalities.