Transport Dept in court over Durban bus deal

2009-07-21 00:00

A CASE in which six Durban-based bus companies are challenging the right of eThekwini Municipality and the KwaZulu-Natal Transport Department to award a contract to operate a bus service in the Durban area without callling for tenders was yesterday adjourned to opposed roll in the Pietermaritzburg high court on October 26.

The legal action comes in the wake of the collapse recently of the service run by the municipality’s official bus service, Remant Alton Land Transport.

The major bus companies involved in the legal challenge are Combined Transport Services, KZT Bus services, KZT Country Cruiser, South Coast Bus Service, Ngotshana Bus Service CC and Masijabule Transport CC.

They have lodged an application against eThekwini Municipality, the Transport minister, the KZN MEC for Transport, Ikhwezi Bus Service, Tansnat Africa and Tansnat Coachlines.

The bus companies named in the application are all rumoured in media reports to have been awarded the contract in place of Remant Alton.

Vickesh Maharaj, general manager of three of the bus companies, alleges that letters from the applicant companies to the authorities expressing their concern and asking for information were not responded to.

According to his affidavit, the applicants were not even told which company was given the contract, and had to rely on media reports.

It emerges from the affidavit of Simosenkosi Chamane of the MEC’s office that Tansnat Africa has in fact been given the contract, but the department maintains that in terms of the original contract (with Remant Alton), legal provision is made for the department to employ another operator to complete the contract in circumstances where the contractor had abandoned its contractual obligations.

Chamane said this is such an emergency and the priority is to restore a service for stranded commuters, especially in view of the fact that schools started yesterday. Remant Alton is said to have provided a service for about 100 000 people.

The application to review the decision will be argued on October 26.

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