City may take over Tansat

2014-09-29 00:00

ETHEKWINI Metro might be considering taking over the beleaguered Durban Transport yet again.

And to do this they might buy back the service from Tansnat Durban — currently operated by the politically connected Gcaba brothers, who made their fortune in the highly competitive Durban taxi industry.

The bus service — which has been fraught with controversy since it was first run privately over a decade ago by Remant Alton and then by Durban businessman and collapsed Tongaat Mall developer Jay Singh — may be reabsorbed into the city as a metro entity, similar to that of uShaka Marine World and the International Convention Centre.

Last week Friday at an executive council meeting, the city’s leadership was expected to take the decision to provide the service as a municipal entity, but the decision was “deferred” on the basis that the ANC-led council had further queries over the proposed move.

Options considered included having the service privatised, running the service internally or as a municipal entity, all of which would come with a financial burden on the city R128 million, R306 million and R155 million per annum respectively.

ANC councillor Nigel Gumede said it was necessary to “defer” the ratification as queries raised at previous meetings “appeared” to not “have been implemented”.

“We are aware of the deadlines but this issue does need further discussion,” said Gumede.

The city hopes to have the service rolled out as a municipal entity by January 2015.

eThekwini DA leader Zwakhele Mncwango told The Witness his party believes the best model would be to keep the system privatised, but “broken up” into various components.

“The city has only ever appointed one private operator. If this service is shared among various bus operators there would be greater competition and ultimately better service. Importantly if there is a labour dispute with one of the services it will not mean all the services stop working with the issue being isolated,” said Mncwango.

Being dealt with directly by municipal manager Sbu Sithole’s office, the proposed move, according to the report, is supported by organised labour.

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