Go! Durban bus funding poser

2014-11-07 00:00

THE city’s transport head Thami Manyathi admitted that funding to run the multi-billion rand Go!Durban was still “under review”.

His comments come after an internal risk assessment seen by The Witness warned there was a “lack of oversight” on the “sustainability” of the “integrated public transport service”.

While national government has put up conditional grant funding to finance the nearly R9-billion project, once complete all municipalities will be required to fund the operational costs which include maintenance, salaries and fuel.

“Fare revenue will be a key to generating funding for the operational requirements although this is still being revised. We are trying to match capacity to demand [in order to maximise buses run] with high load factors,” said Manyathi.

He said they are “reviewing the mix of the fleet” depending on the demand profile.

“One element of the capital expenditure not yet in place is vehicle financing and the procurement. We will continue with refinement until we go live.”

Manyathi said they were looking at partnerships with private companies to reduce costs on infrastructure such as depots.

The city is expected to outsource various parts of the operational responsibilities. Recently the city released its Empowerment Charter in which it stated preferential status to all aspects of Go!Durban would go to local businesses.

The city said the charter was “not a preferencing policy, nor an embellishment of the BEE regulations” but a “series of additional specifications” to all contracts awarded on the project.

“These additional clauses are targeted at addressing unemployment, poverty and inequality in the metro,” said the city.

The risk report found that unless the city acted soon, the consequences of disruption to services and even “violence with public transport stakeholders” was “almost certain” to occur, with the impact being “critical” on, among other issues, the city’s reputation. It demanded that city manager Sbu Sithole form an oversight structure before the end of November.

Some 13 municipalities — including Msunduzi, George, Polokwane and the large metropolitan ones — have successfully applied for funding to roll out BRT infrastructure.

• jonathan.erasmus@witness.co.za

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