While Nelson Mandela Bay’s bus system has yet to take off, Eastern Cape premier Phumulo Masualle announced on Friday that the first phase of the multibillion project would start this month.
He made mention of the beleaguered project in his state of the province address in Bhisho yesterday.
Masualle said: “We can also report that the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality is finally going to proceed with the implementation of phase 1 of the [IPTS] with effect from February this year.”
But actually the project, which has been characterised by continuous delays over the last 10 years, is still in limbo.
The launch of the Cleary Park route, meant to take place in April last year, has been stalled several times.
The metro’s political head of roads and transport Rano Kayser said yesterday they would table a report on the reasons for the latest delays at next month’s committee meeting.
He said he did not know how Masualle came to the conclusion that the first phase would run this week.
Kayser said his portfolio continued to liaise with the provincial roads and transport department regarding the IPTS.
“We are working very closely and we have close interaction with the Department of Roads and Transport,” Kayser said.
“I don’t know how the premier made this conclusion. However, it shows that he believes in our ability to see the project through,” Kayser said.
“I see this as a positive statement and it shows that the premier supports our efforts.”
Earlier this week, Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba allocated R304.9-million to the city’s IPTS, which Kayser said would be used towards phase 2.
This would see the buses ferry residents to and from the city centre, Kwazakhele and New Brighton.