GEORGE NEWS - The George Community Forum (GCF) has welcomed the postponement of the roll-out of Phase 4B of the Go George bus service Conville, Parkdene, Ballotsview, Borcherds and Lawaaikamp, which was scheduled to be implemented on Sunday 28 April.
The postponement was announced by National Minister of Transport Blade Nzimande and WTestern Cape Minister of Transport Donald Grant during a media briefing held last Thursday 25 April at the George municipal offices.
Nzimande told the media that it is in the interest of George's citizens and its economy that the town has a functioning transport system. Nzimande said that to ensure a successful service, the postponement will allow more time for engagement with all stakeholders. "Let's give it until the first week of June," said Nzimande.
The announcement follows after Nzimande toured Thembalethu, Parkdene and the CBD in the early hours of Thursday morning to get first-hand experience of the public transport situation in town.
Xolani Swapi of the GGF, who recently led marches against the roll-out of Phase 4 said although it's not victory yet, they welcome the postponement. "This will indeed give us time and the opportunity to engage national, provincial and local government about our grievances and state clearly our position on this matter, something which we have long been asking for," said Swapi.
The GCF march which was planned for Friday 26 April was also postponed. GCF chairman Xolisani Booi Wednesday said they needed more time to mobilise the communities across George.
"We are not cancelling the march, we are postponing it until further notice. We did not have enough time to engage the communities to explain to them the reasons for the march. If the community isn't ready, we aren't ready. The march is not only about the transport, but also about other service delivery issues. In this regard, we need the support of the communities," he said.
The march was organised to protest against the now cancelled roll-out of Go George in Phase 4B. The implementation of Phase 4A in Thembalethu had already been put on ice after talks with the relevant stakeholders in Thembalethu. However, it is not clear if the postponed roll-out will include the entire Phase 4 that also includes Thembalethu, or whether it will be just in Conville, Parkdene, Ballotsview, Borcherds and Lawaaikamp.
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Before visiting George on the campaign trail last week Friday, DA Western Cape premier candidate Alan Winde released a media statement and said that Nzimande had made a commitment not to withdraw national grant funding for the roll-out of Phase 4B. He said he noted this development, as well as the announced delay in the original timeline for the roll-out of Phase 4B to June.
"As the DA's Western Cape premier candidate, I will fight for the rolling out of Phase 4B of Go George without unnecessary delays and in full cooperation and communication with all stakeholders, bringing this game-changing public transportation service to each and every resident of George," said Winde.
"I firmly believe that all citizens of George are entitled to a safe, reliable, scheduled, and accessible transportation service across all communities. While it is imperative for all stakeholders to continue the consultative and open communication processes in order for the successful roll-out of Phase 4B, this process must be free of political interference."
Read previous articles:
- Go George roll-out called off
- Go George: Free travel days cancelled
- On hold: Go George Phase 4B roll-out
- Talks underway at municipality
- Nzimande in talks over Go George roll-out
- Minister of Transport visits George
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