Agreement signed for GO!Durban project

2016-06-28 06:00
 Photo: nosipho mkhize The Go!Durban construction in KwaDabeka.

Photo: nosipho mkhize The Go!Durban construction in KwaDabeka.

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ETHEKWINI Municipality and the bus operators potentially affected by the GO!Durban project - the city’s Integrated Rapid Public Transport Network (IRPTN) system - signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) last Thursday.
The memorandum outlines the way forward for dialogue and negotiations which will affect the roll out and operations of the IRPTN in which the current public transport industry will have a key role to play.
The MOA was signed by the deputy city manager Dr Musa Gumede on behalf of the City, and bus operators represented by the Durban Bus Owners’ Association (BOA), The KwaZulu-Natal Bus Council (KWANABUCO) and the South African Bus Owners’ Association (SABOA).
In 2011, the City started engagements with the leadership of the current public transport industry to be part of a consultation process to discuss their participation in GO!Durban’s operations.
The bus operators’ MOA will see continued discussion around the contracts for the bus operators who will become invested shareholders in the vehicle operating companies (VOC) with the mini-bus taxi industry.
Since the launch of GO!Durban, the City has been committed to introducing a new public transport system in partnership with affected public transport operators, including the mini-bus taxi industry with an MOA signed between them and the City in February 2014.
MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison in KwaZulu-Natal, Mxolisi Kaunda, said: “The signing of this agreement - the next step in the process of delivering a new improved public transport system for the people in the country - marks government’s commitment to on-going consultation and participation in the democratic process of the country. We estimate that there are a significant number of people involved in the bus and mini-bus taxi industry in the eThekwini Municipality and it is vital that they are part of the process going forward, that their voices are heard and that they play a role in planning their futures in the programme.”
EThekwini mayor James Nxumalo, said: “Operators whose routes will be affected by the GO!Durban operations will have the opportunity to be included in vehicle operating companies, with which the City would negotiate and enter into a contract to operate the services as outlined in the NLTA (National Land Transport Act).”
“We recognise that significant support must be given to them to be able to manage a viable and sustainable bus operating company, with impeccable governance, in the interests of service delivery to the people of the City, as ultimately GO!Durban is a vital component in the machine to realise our vision of making the City the most caring and liveable by 2030.”
“It is important that everyone understands that this MOA is not the negotiated agreement for the operators’ involvement in GO!Durban. This MOA is merely the agreement that sets out how we as the City entity and the bus operators, will negotiate their involvment into the new system. The MOA represents a commitment by all parties to engage with one another in order to arrive at a mutually satisfactory position.
“It outlines our mutual roles and responsibilities, the rules of engagement, and sets the boundaries in which we will work together as we embark on the negotiation process. Our vision is not only to set out the goals of excellent service, but to look at how transformation of the public transport sector as a whole can be affected.”
“It is also important to note that the bus operators, are not the only people affected by the introduction of a new system. There are drivers who are the face of public transport services and a critical stakeholder to the delivery of a safe, reliable public transport system, as are a host of other people in the employ of the sector.
“To ensure they are all included in the process, a comprehensive skills development programme aimed at existing employees affected by the project has been developed and will be discussed with both the taxi and bus operators. These programmes aim to stimulate professionalisation of public transport drivers with improved conditions of service,” he added.

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