Ndebele: Nothing will stop BRT

2009-10-05 21:05

Johannesburg - Nothing will stop the implementation of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, Transport Minister S'bu Ndebele reiterated on Monday amid fears that taxi threats were behind an attack on a Johannesburg transport official's home.

"No number of threats will stop the introduction of a state-funded public transport system such as the BRT which is efficient, safe and affordable," he said.

"In other parts of the country, plans are afoot to introduce the BRT system which has been hailed by the people of Soweto and Johannesburg for bettering their lives.

"Nothing will stop an idea whose time has come."

Four armed men

A security guard was critically wounded in Thursday's attack on the home of Rehana Moosajee, the Johannesburg mayoral committee's member for transport.

Four armed men were trying to break into the house when they were confronted by one of the security guards specially assigned to her because of taxi industry threats over the implementation of BRT.

The robbers opened fire on the guard, wounding him three times, before fleeing empty-handed. The guard was taken to hospital.

Superintendent Eugene Opperman said on Monday that although the police were aware that people believed the incident may be linked to the threats, there was no evidence pointing that way.

There had also not yet been any developments in the case.

Moosajee told The Star the attack could have been an attempted break-in by robbers, or an attempted robbery by people who knew the family was moving house and its belongings were already boxed.

Gut feeling

However, she suspected that it was a warning from the taxi industry.

"... The whole incident appears to have been too carefully planned, just before the official launch of the BRT during transport month, so my gut feel is that this was a warning from the taxi industry," she told the newspaper.

Taxi operators have expressed opposition to the project, fearing it will destroy their livelihoods.

In a statement condemning the attack on Moosajee, Ndebele said any attack on government officials or citizens at their homes was regarded as "criminal thuggery of the worst order".

He called on the police to "act swiftly and to apprehend the suspects".

On September 4, the SA National Taxi Council's first deputy president Mthuthuzeli Molefe, 57, was shot dead near his home at Evaton, south of Johannesburg, while riding his motorbike.

Gauteng transport MEC Bheki Nkosi said later that the shooting "in our view, is not related to BRT".

"Once the incident happened we checked through all our structures and departments. We are satisfied, at this stage, that it is not BRT-related," he said.