Doubts on BRT system

2014-08-04 00:00

MARITZBURG citizens came looking for answers but left with more questions.

That was the outcome of a packed public meeting on the city’s planned Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) system held at the Northdale Civic Centre last week.

Kantha Naidoo, one of the attendees, simply did not believe the municipality — with what she described as its track record of inefficiency — would be able to pull it off.

Hers was one of several comments, voicing mistrust of the municipality and frustration over the lack of information on the project.

A contingent of business owners from Church Street came to find out how the BRT would impact their businesses. There were cries of disbelief when they were told by the consultants running the meeting that Church Street was to be dealt with in a separate process.

Last week’s meeting was part of the Environmental Impact Assessment for the project, relating to the terminals in Raisethorpe and Edendale.

The consultants from a Durban-based company — Strategic Environmental Focus (SEF) left the audience frustrated when not all questions that were asked were answered. The questioners were told they would be sent a written responses.

Businessman Shabeer Hoosen said businesses were in favour of the BRT, but they were concerned that they were being fed information in bits and pieces. This did not allow them to see the bigger picture.

He also questioned why the municipality was using a Durban-based consultancy instead of a local company. He said the aim of such a large project like the BRT should be on job creation within Msunduzi and the money should stay in the city.

Ashin Singh of the South African Minority Rights Equality Movement (Samrem) wanted to know what raw data informed the planning for the BRT. He said nobody that they knew of had been given questionnaires or been part of market research.

Singh said if the information was not forthcoming, his organisation would consider applying to get it under the Promotion of Access to Information Act.

Newly appointed president of the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Commerce, Leo Quayle, asked what opportunities there would be for local businesses with the BRT.

Msunduzi Action Forum (MRF) chairperson Dev Naidoo asked how the city’s infrastructure would sustain the system.

He also wanted to know what proportion of the project would be funded by city ratepayers.

Councillor Rooksana Ahmed said there was a proposal that minibus taxi operators could be paid off for their businesses.

“What will happen to their employees, the kombi drivers and the bus conductors?” she asked.


V Rooksana Ahmed

“What will happen to their employees, the kombi drivers and the bus conductors?”

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.