The Department of Transport and Public Works notes the media statement released by Minister Blade Nzimande this morning.
The timing of this media statement is unfortunate and premature as the National Minister only addressed correspondence to my office late last night. The release of this press statement is ill-considered given the fact that my Department and the Municipality of George have a very close working relationship with the National Department of Transport. In fact we have continued to engage the National Department of Transport throughout on the timing and implementation of the further roll-out of the GO GEORGE bus services. Minister Nzimande's media statement is misleading and unfortunately does not provide the full context of the issues.
It is important to note that the correspondence to which the National Minister refers in his media statement was only received by me on Tuesday, 16 April at 21h52, and my Department is in the process of preparing a detailed response. We have always acted in good faith around issues of implementing the GO GEORGE bus service, and the suggestions by the National Minister in the aforementioned press statement are misguided and ill-considered.
We must continue to deliver services to citizens in George, and the ongoing work by my Department and the Municipality of George together with the National Department of Transport as we work towards the proper implementation of the GO GEORGE bus services. GO GEORGE is the first non-metro Integrated Public Transit Network (IPTN). 248 people are permanently employed by the vehicle operating company, of which 154 are drivers. All of these employees (except for two) were previously involved in the minibus and small bus industry in George.
There are ongoing engagements with all affected roleplayers and stakeholders, and my Department is confident that we will be able to achieve implementation of services with a committed approach.
My Department is preparing a comprehensive response to the Minister's correspondence, and believe that it is prudent and appropriate that we do so before ventilating those issues prematurely through the media.
Issued by: Western Cape Transport and Public Works