CoE fails to deliver safe, affordable, and clean public transport to Ekurhuleni residents
by Cllr. Bill Rundle — DA Shadow MMC for Transport Planning in Ekurhuleni
and Cllr. Heather Hart — DA Shadow MMC for City Planning in Ekurhuleni
Date: 14 July 2021
Type: Media Statement
The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Ekurhuleni has received numerous complaints from residents and commuters concerning the shocking state of taxi ranks in the City of Ekurhuleni (CoE). Following unannounced oversight visits to some of the taxi ranks in the Metro, the DA can confirm that the complaints are justified.
The ANC and its coalition partners* have failed to deliver safe, affordable, and clean public transport to the residents and communities of Ekurhuleni.
The CoE claims that “providing top notch, reliable, safe and easily accessible public transport and facilities for the people is the City’s top priority”. Yet, this is not the reality on the ground. The reality is that numerous taxi ranks in Ekurhuleni pose a health and safety hazard to passengers, vendors and drivers who operate from these taxi ranks.
The taxi ranks are filthy, with piles of rubbish everywhere. There are puddles of water from burst pipes, and foul-smelling water flooding the ranks. The ablution facilities are continuously blocked and sewage spills into the ranks and streets. Toilet doors are broken, and fittings stolen.
Informal traders in the ranks dump dirty cleaning water and left-over food into stormwater drains, resulting in blocked stormwater drains, pollution, and rat infestations. The road surfaces and inner taxi lanes are littered with potholes. Green spaces are unkempt and ill-maintained, unless complaints are lodged.
Additionally, the ANC and its coalition partners* have failed to appoint and award service providers timeously for the cleaning and maintenance of taxi ranks. The CoE should have prioritised the cleaning of taxi ranks, which is critical in our fight against the scourge of Covid-19. The ANC and their coalition partners are knowingly putting residents’ lives in tremendous danger, as they are forced to forgo their health and safety.
Furthermore, the CoE’s poor planning and maladministration has resulted in their failure to plan, construct, and timeously deliver new taxi ranks to meet the demands of the ever-increasing public transport and commuter population in Ekurhuleni.
Taxi ranks in Ekurhuleni are costing exorbitant amounts — one has a price tag of more than R50 million, but for reasons unknown, the buildings remain incomplete. The Vosloorus and Bluegumview Taxi Ranks have been in the making for over five years, constantly delayed by fraud and corruption. In 2018, the former HOD for Transport Planning, Ms. Lusanda Madikizela, was suspended pending an investigation into irregular expenditure of R50 million by her department. Ms. Madikizela was later fired for financial misconduct allegations, concerning taxi rank development funds.
The costs of these taxi ranks have since quadrupled, but they are nowhere near completion. In July 2020, the CoE confirmed that 80% of the work at Bluegumview Taxi Rank had been completed, and that the rank would be operational by October 2020. In August 2020, the ANC-appointed Executive Mayor of Ekurhuleni, Cllr. Mzwandile Masina, informed residents, himself, that the Vosloorus Taxi Rank project was 90% complete. It has been a year since these announcements and the taxi ranks are still not operational. The CoE has bled millions for these projects, but residents have not benefited.
The DA’s pleas to the Real Estate and Fleet Departments to manage taxi rank facilities regularly and efficiently have fallen on deaf ears, while residents bear the brunt of an incompetent administration.
The residents of Ekurhuleni deserve a well-run government that provides a healthy and safe environment, not an administration that infringes on their rights to health, safety, and wellbeing.
*ANC Coalition Partners: African Independent Congress (AIC), Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), Patriotic Alliance (PA) and Independent Ratepayers Association of South Africa (IRASA)
Cllr. Bill Rundle
DA Shadow MMC for Transport Planning in Ekurhuleni
Cllr. Heather Hart
DA Shadow MMC for City Planning in Ekurhuleni