EDITORIAL | More wheels coming off Nelson Mandela Bay bus system
Here we go again. Yet another story about money meant for Nelson Mandela Bay’s bus system tangled up in an ugly mess, threatening to halt the service.
Today we report on the infighting between the board members and CEO of Spectrum Alert – the firm that was formed specifically for the taxi industry in the northern areas to run the Cleary Park IPTS route. From affidavits submitted to the court, we can surmise that the company’s finances are in disarray.
Staff have not been paid, there are allegations of nepotism and there is a R4.3m “hole” in the company’s finances, board chair Granville Malgas said in a court affidavit.
The board has turned to the court to force CEO Chris King out of the company’s headquarters as he allegedly refused to accept his suspension – both parties have changed the locks of the building in an attempt to keep the other out.But at the centre of the entire debacle is the uncertainty over whether or not the buses will be able to continue running.In his affidavit, Malgas explains the impact that the impasse may have on the bus service.He wrote: “We also need to buy diesel for the buses, so Spectrum Alert can continue to provide the service to the city of Port Elizabeth.“If we do not have access to the depot, we will not know what diesel needs to be bought. This will mean that the buses will stop running on our route very soon.“This will cause total bedlam in the northern areas as many workers, school children and students are dependent on our service.”As Spectrum Alert relies on funding from the city to operate, it is of paramount importance that the municipality intervenes to avoid a repeat of the disastrous decade which saw close to R3bn plundered on a stagnant bus system.It needs sober expediency and not politicians picking sides and wanting to settle political scores.Commuters in our city deserve the safe and reliable transport system they were promised.