Jo’burg mum on progress of bus rapid transit system

Uncertainty surrounds the progress of Johannesburg’s bus rapid transit (BRT) system, with a City of Johannesburg spokesperson unable to give comment on the new transport infrastructure.

The system hit the skids last month when angry taxi drivers went on strike and insisted on having the president of the African National Congress (ANC) Jacob Zuma attend to their grievances on how the BRT is run.

Zuma then negotiated with the taxi drivers, saying that the BRT system would “hold its horses for now”.

The BRT, which will link the biggest township in Johannesburg — Soweto — to the busy northern suburbs, is designed to ferry commuters around Johannesburg quickly and safely through 150 stations.

According to earlier reports, the first phase (which should be ready in time for the kick-off of the Confederations Cup on June 14 2009) will comprise 40km and 48 stations extending from Regina Mundi in Soweto to Sandton.

Whether the project will actually be ready, however, cannot be confirmed.

The City of Johannesburg is not allowed to comment on Zuma’s proposal to taxi drivers (that the BRT system would “hold its horses for now”).

“The city cannot comment on that, we have referred the issue to the national department of transport and the ANC,” said City of Johannesburg’s transport department head Rehana Mosajee.

“What the taxi guys want is for the consolidation of grassroots partners to the BRT,” said department of transport spokesperson Collin Msibi.

“There was an initial agreement between the [taxi] association leaders and the government but the grassroots guys were not happy with the terms of that agreement,” he said adding that the negotiations between the department and taxi drivers would proceed as soon as the new government was in place.

“Infrastructural proceedings are going ahead as planned but the operational issues are still to be discussed with the taxi partners as soon as the new government comes into power.”

Philip Taaibosch, the secretary general of South African National Taxi Council, said that the association had no problem with infrastructural development on the BRT, but they are still waiting for a response from government.

“We don’t want anyone to think and decide for us, we want to get to a point where we put on the table what we think is best for all parties concerned because this really affects us,” he said, adding that drivers don’t believe that they are role-players in the implementation of this multibillion-rand project.

“We have operated and marketed these routes for donkey’s years; we should be co-owners in this project.”

The second part of the first phase will be implemented in 2010 and should be ready for the World Cup. It will comprise 86km and 102 stations, from Dobsonville in Soweto, through Parktown to Rivonia in the north of Johannesburg.

The first phase will cost R2-billion, with most of the funding coming from the national Public Transport Infrastructure and Systems Fund.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


Where is the deputy president?

David Mabuza is hard at work — it’s just not taking place in the public eye. The rumblings and discussion in the ANC are about factions in the ruling party, succession and ousting him

Zuma turns on judiciary as trial nears

Former president says pre-trial correspondence is part of another plot

High court declares Dudu Myeni delinquent

Disgraced former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni has been declared a delinquent director by the...

SANDF inquiry clears soldiers of the death of Collins Khosa

The board of inquiry also found that it was Khosa and his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango who caused the altercation with the defence force members

Press Releases

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

Openview, now powered by two million homes

The future of free-to-air satellite TV is celebrating having two million viewers by giving away two homes worth R2-million

Road to recovery for the tourism sector: The South African perspective

The best-case scenario is that South Africa's tourism sector’s recovery will only begin in earnest towards the end of this year

What Africa can learn from Cuba in combating the Covid-19 pandemic

Africa should abandon the neoliberal path to be able to deal with Covid-19 and other health system challenges likely to emerge in future

Coexisting with Covid-19: Saving lives and the economy in India

A staggered exit from the lockdown accompanied by stepped-up testing to cover every district is necessary for India right now

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday