City under fire for ‘disregarding’ the poor on suspended MyCiTi N2 service | - South Africa News

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File photo: African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town – The City of Cape Town has come under fire for “shamefully disregarding” poor residents after it failed to reach an agreement over the operation of the MyCiTi N2 Express route.

The route services from Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha, and the operating contract lapsed at the weekend, potentially leaving thousands of commuters potentially stranded on Monday.

Talks between the city and the Congress of Democratic Taxi Associations (Codeta), a member of the N2 Express Joint Venture (JV) operating company, which is responsible for transporting commuters to and from the CBD, had broken down last week.

It followed Codeta requesting an interdict against the City from entering into or extending an interim contract with JV.

Codeta lawyer Barnabas Xulu said: “The city has failed or refused to enter into a negotiated long-term contract with my clients as envisaged in the provision of the National Land Transport Act. 

“They failed to correct the irregularities in the N2 Express three-year-interim contract and to enforce compliance with the interim contract as is required by the act.”

During the rollout of the MyCiTi routes to the metro south-east in 2014, the N2 Express JV was established, comprising Codeta, the Route 6 Taxi Association and Golden Arrow Bus Service.

The associations were to take over the operations of the four N2 Express routes, as well as the management of the MyCiTi fleet serving commuters from Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha.

Golden Arrow had operated the route in the interim.

According to Codeta’s court application, the city had created emergency bid conditions in order to extend the interim contract and include Golden Arrow in the N2 Express.

In the bus service’s answering affidavit, its general manager Derick Meyer submitted that Codeta had failed to provide a reason to compel the city to conclude or negotiate with a third party to render service on the N2 expressway.

Meyer also argued that Codeta would not suffer any harm if the interim contract was extended for another year.

Former mayoral committee member for transport and current Good Party secretary-general Brett Herron said it was unacceptable that the City’s DA leaders had allowed the critical service to be cancelled.

“The leadership must have been aware of this impending crisis but chose to only inform commuters, via a social media tweet, that the service is suspended indefinitely, late on Saturday morning.

“This disregard for commuters is shameful. Commuters would have already purchased their monthly tickets by this time. 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 is unacceptable that the city’s leaders have allowed this critical service to be cancelled,” Herron said.

He added that in the last quarter of 2018, the service had provided over 660 000 passenger trips, and yet again commuters, relegated to the outskirts of the city by apartheid spatial planning, were being failed by the government.

Mayoral committee member for transport Felicity Purchase said: “The city has been trying to resolve the matter for weeks and it’s not that we do not care about commuters, but that there are compliance issues that need to be addressed. 

“While continuing the current agreement may be the best way forward, we must reach an agreement whereby the majority shareholders are satisfied,” Purchase said. 

She said the city’s transport authorities had in the past fallen short in reaching efficient agreements relating to the MyCiTi service. 

National Union of Metal Workers of South Africa (Numsa) general secretary Luvuyo Lufele said Golden Arrow staff would embark on a go-slow on Monday due to the company’s alleged non-compliance following an agreement with management. 

Meanwhile, the city’s Fire and Rescue Service responded to a report of trains alight at the Transnet Engineering Yard, in Maitland yesterday. 

Five firefighting vehicles, a rescue vehicle and 21 staff members were on the scene. The fire has been contained to several disused carriages. No injuries have been reported.

Cape Times

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