Today the Democratic Alliance conducted oversight at the Integrated Public Transport System (IPTS) bus Depot in Port Elizabeth and met with members of the Board of Directors of Spectrum Alert, the company managing the IPTS on behalf of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.
The Democratic Alliance is proud of the fact that while we were in government we were able to operationalize the “still born” IPTS system, after years of delays by the previous government and billions of Rands that were lost to corruption.
The IPTS is part of the DA’s plans to redress the historical spatial legacies of inequality and create a transport system connecting residents to affordable and reliable access to opportunities. We believe it is imperative that every effort is made to safe-guard the system from political interference and collapse and ensure that the transport system remains operational and delivers a sustainable competent service to residents of Nelson Mandela Bay in partnership with the municipality.
Under the current coalition government, the successes of the IPTS are being undermined by the unlawful actions of certain individuals and political meddling of the ANC MMC for Roads and Transport.
Some of the challenges the system faces are:
- Corporate Governance issues that the current Board of Directors and new CEO are attempting to resolve with no apparent cooperation from the municipality.
- Strategic weekly underpayments from the NMBM resulting in an alleged backlog of R20million in outstanding invoices since April 2019.
- Financial Irregularities allegedly committed by the previous CEO such as Workmen’s compensation not being paid over and the South African Road Passenger Bargaining Council (SARPBAC) determination regarding bonuses and back-pay not being adhered to.
- Facilities for the mechanical workshops, wash bays, fuels bays and office accommodation being insufficient and no timeline or budget from the NMBM to resolve this, despite these being planned and budgeted for at inception.
- Vehicle conditions deteriorating and the outstanding monies owed making it impossible to effectively meet the maintenance obligations.
- Allegations of political interference by the ANC MMC for Roads and Transport: Alleged attempts to interfere with the current board of directors. Allegedly supports the return of the previous CEO whose services where terminated after a disciplinary hearing and court order. Allegedly attempted to establish an “interim board” to replace the legitimate board of directors. Alleged to have turned a blind eye to concerns raised by the current management and board of directors regarding the alleged financial irregularities committed by the previous CEO. Allegedly announced that all payments of invoices are stopped because of alleged non-compliance issues, despite these compliance issues having existed for some time under the previous CEO and these never having been an issue affecting payments previously. Any payments thus made while these compliance issues existed must be declared as irregular expenditure by the Municipality. These alleged non-compliance issues have apparently been resolved yet payment is still withheld and workers were allegedly threatened by the MMC and IPTS Manager that they would not be paid wages today.
- The Executive Mayor was made aware of these challenges at a meeting in July 2019 with the board of directors but no action has been taken to resolve them despite his request that the IPTS legal representative correspond with the municipal legal representative in order to resolve the issues raised with him.
The Democratic Alliance will be writing to the Acting City Manager, Anele Qaba, as well as the MEC and Minister of Transport to urgently seek clarity and solutions to the unfolding crisis at the IPTS.
An urgent meeting must be called where all the relevant role-players are informed of the current challenges and where lasting solutions can be found. We cannot allow the collapse of our IPTS as it is the poor in Nelson Mandela Bay and the Northern Areas in particular who will be the most affected, with catastrophic job losses and the loss of a desperately needed public transport system.
DA Federal Chairperson and DA NMB Caucus Leader
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