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Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to launch Uitenhage IPTS route

Mar 26, 2019
Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to launch Uitenhage IPTS route

Port Elizabeth - While there have been accusations of monies being siphoned off the Nelson Mandela Bay's Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS), the Metro on Tuesday said that it is proceeding with the launch of the IPTS Uitenhage route on Wednesday.

According to an invite sent to media houses, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Mongameli Bobani, will oversee the launch of the project to contsruct a new bus depot in Kwanobuhle, Uitenhage, where the buses, also called Libhongolethu, will be based at.

The IPTS buses were first meant to ferry locals and visitors during and after the 2010 FIFA World Cup. After the soccer showcase, they would then help ease the challenges faced by Nelson Mandela Bay commuters.

Allegations of corruption on IPTS 

The launch comes just 13 days after former Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Executive Mayor, Athol Trollip, laid criminal charges against Bobani and African National Congress (ANC) Provincial Executive Committee (PEC) Member, Zandisile Qupe.

In his affidavit, Trollip said: "It has now come to my attention through various media reports that the current Executive Mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay, Cllr Mongameli Bobani, has been implicated in alleged fraud and/or corruption within the IPTS project as he allegedly solicited and/or received funding and/or unlawfully benefitted from public funds.

"Cllr Bobani has recently been responsible for initiating disciplinary action against City Manager, Johann Mettler. Said disciplinary action has seen Mettler being placed on cautionary suspension as from September 2018 already.

"It is my believe (sic) that this move by Cllr Bobani was motivated by the fact that Mettler was the driving force behind the investigation into the alleged corruption and/or fraud within the IPTS project in Nelson Mandela Bay."

He then said that he was institute criminal charges against Bobani in respect of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act, 2004.

"Furthermore, various media reports have also brought to light the fact that Mr Zandisile Qupe, former ANC regional secretary, has also been implicated in alleged fraud and/or corruption within the IPTS project as he allegedly solicited and/or received funding and/or unlawfully benefitted from public funds," Trollip said.

"I therefore also wish to institute criminal charges against Mr Zandisile Qupe in respect of the Prevention and Combatting of Corrupt Activities Act, 2004."

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.

"The DA calls on Mayor Mongameli Bobani and the failing ANC-led coalition of corruption in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to stand up and be counted.

Problems on Bay's IPTS continue

Early this year, the DA wrote to Acting Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality City Manager, Peter Neilson, saying that the party was concerned that the appointment of Seki Mandaba as project manager on the IPTS could expose the Metro to adverse risk.

Bhanga said that the DA is also of the opinion that the appointment of a project manager "without the necessary skills and experience could severely compromise the future of the project".

"It is our understanding that both the Department of Transport as well as National Treasury are extremely concerned about this appointment and have already approached your good office for advices on Ms Mandaba’s qualifications.," he said.

"Given the fact that National Treasury has in the past intimated that they will not hesitate to put a stop to the funding of this project and to recover (claw back) all wasteful expenditure through our equitable share should we fail to adhere to their advices."

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