/ 8 January 2009

Ban on Roadlink’s ‘killing machines’ dropped

KwaZulu-Natal transport minister Bheki Cele on Thursday called national bus operator SA Roadlink a ”killing machine” and ”a coffin on wheels”.

He was addressing journalists at the department’s headquarters in Pietermaritzburg.

He said it was his duty to help provide a transport system that was safe, affordable, efficient and effective.

Cele confirmed that a court case pending between him and the operator had been withdrawn.

The case began last month when Cele suspended Roadlink’s operations in the province after 11 people were killed in an accident involving one of their buses.

It was challenged by Roadlink management, who obtained a court interdict allowing it to continue operating.

The case was due to resume in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Thursday, but Cele decided to withdraw the moratorium imposed on the bus operator, which led to the withdrawal of the case by Roadlink.

”Although I feel that the decision which I had taken [was] justified by the circumstances which existed … I have nonetheless heeded the honourable judge’s view and decided to err on the side of caution and withdraw the moratorium,” said Cele.

At the initial court proceeding, Judge Isaac Madondo said there was a possibility that SA Roadlink would suffer irreparable harm and that Cele had not provided any evidence before the court that there would be more accidents.

Since the horror crash, several SA Roadlink buses have been impounded for alleged defects, with the operator saying it was being targeted.

Cele, however, warned that there had been a public outcry since the accident and that he ”would not fold his arms” while the safety of commuters was being compromised. — Sapa