Roadlink beats MEC’s bus ban

2008-12-19 00:00

Transport MEC Bheki Cele’s bid to stop SA Roadlink buses from operating in the province from midnight last night was thwarted by an urgent interim high court order late yesterday.

The order obtained by SA Roadlink Passenger Services will buy the company time until the New Year and see it through peak travelling time over the holiday season.

The case will return to court on January 8. Cele has until December 28 to file opposing papers, and SA Roadlink has to respond to those by January 5.

Judge Isaac Madondo ruled that if the blanket “moratorium” on the operation of SA Roadlink buses announced by Cele went ahead, the bus company would suffer irreparable harm.

He said no evidence was put before the court other than the “fear” of the MEC, to indicate why a blanket suspension of the operating licences of all SA Roadlink’s buses should be imposed.

He said it seemed Cele was unfairly “putting the cart before the horse” by making the decision when investigations were not completed. He said there was no evidence that investigations had established that accidents involving SA Roadlink buses were due to negligence by the owners or management.

Regarding the latest crash that killed 11 people on December 16, sparking the MEC’s decision, the judge said the possibility still exists that the cause of the accident was not due to negligence of the owners or mechanical failure.

“It could also be ordinary mechanical failure that does not arise from the condition of the bus. There are still many things to come out of the investigations,” Madondo said.

The judge said it is common cause that SA Roadlink was not given an opportunity to make any representations to the MEC prior to his decision.

Advocate Yoga Moodley, SC, for Cele urged the court not to entertain the application by SA Roadlink. He said the MEC felt strongly that serious issues of public interest were at stake, and suggested that while the bus company might suffer economic damages that “can be addressed by way of damages claims”, passengers “could go to hospital or to their deaths”.

Moodley suggested Cele only became aware of the pending court action shortly before midday yesterday while preparing for a meeting with company representatives, and that SA Roadlink acted in “bad faith” by arranging to meet and then serving court papers “behind the MEC’s back”.

Barry Roux, SC, for SA Roadlink responded that he had documentary proof that the court papers were sent and arrived at the MEC’s offices the previous night.

Roux argued that no evidence has been produced to show that all SA Roadlink’s buses are unroadworthy or not properly maintained, nor that the most recent accident was due to negligence attributable to the company.

He said minibus taxis are involved in accidents all the time, but they are not taken off the roads.

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

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.