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Nelson Mandela Bay IPTS in danger of grinding to a halt - DA

Mar 27, 2019
Nelson Mandela Bay IPTS in danger of grinding to a halt - DA

Port Elizabeth -  While the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality on Wednesday launches the Uitenhage Route of its Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS) at Kwanobuhle, Uitenhage, the official opposition - the Democratic Alliance (DA), says the entire IPTS project could actually grind to a halt.

"The reduction of National Treasury’s Public Transport Network Grant (PTNG) to the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality could bring the IPTS project in the Northern Areas and KwaNobuhle to a grinding halt," describes DA Eastern Cape leader, Nqaba Bhanga.

"This follows National Treasury’s confirmation, via the Government Gazette dated 18 March 2019, that the PTNG allocation to NMB has been reduced by R29,4 million (from R304.9 million to R275.5 million)."

He adds that the Democratic Alliance has on numerous occasions voiced our concerns regarding the reprioritisation of funding from the Cleary Park - CBD trunk route towards the Uitenhage Starter Service Network in the adjustments budget.

"Whilst we understand that the new administration wished to prioritise another route, the redirection of funding towards the new project three months before the end of a financial year made no sense whatsoever," Bhanga says.

"On the 11th of March 2019, I wrote to the Minister of Transport, Dr Blade Nzimande, to urgently intervene regarding IPTS developments in NMB.

"I highlighted that the ANC-led coalition of corruption re-prioritised IPTS funding by making amendments in the adjustments budget which saw tens of millions of Rands redirected to the Uitenhage Starter Service Route Network."

'IPTS spending over R41 million on a bus depot in KwaNobuhle, Uitenhage'

He further says that the new project entails the spending of at least R41 million of the grant funding for the 2018/19 financial year on a bus depot in KwaNobuhle, Uitenhage.

"These funds were redirected from the Cleary Park – PE CBD trunk route, which was part of the first phase rollout of the project.

"No building plans for the proposed depot were finalised and approved and there is little chance that the project will break ground before the end of the financial year," the DA leader explains.

"The latest development is likely to have a severe impact on the IPTS projects in in the Northern Areas and KwaNobuhle, with an obvious knock on effect on service delivery."

Bhanga says he has now written to Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Acting Chief Financial Officer, Jackson Ngcelwane, and requested he advises where suitable budget amendments will be made in order to accommodate this reduction in funding.

"Specifically focussing on whether the reduction in funding will have an impact on either the operations or capital investment on the Cleary Park – PE CBD trunk route."

Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality IPTS 

The Metro's IPTS has had a bumpy ride since its launch in a pilot project for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Allegations were that over a billion of taxpayers' monies were siphoned off the project and several companies were implicated in the scandal.

The Metro's previously stagnant IPTS was rolled out by the then DA-led coalition government last year.

Late last year, it emerged that the Hawks had visited the Nelson Mandela Bay over alleged corruption on the IPTS since the current ANC-led administration took over.

"Under the failing African National Congress (ANC) government, R2.5 billion of the people’s money was wasted on an IPTS that never got off the ground," said DA Eastern Cape leader, Nqaba Bhanga, then.

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