GEORGE NEWS - The new Western Cape Minister Transport and Public Works, Bonginkosi Madikizela, is positive that Phase 4B of the Go George bus service will be rolled out within the next two weeks.
Phase 4B will service Conville, Parkdene, Ballotsview, Borcherds and Lawaaikamp.
Madikezela was on a tour this morning to meet with Go George stakeholders such as George municipal officials, Mayor Melvin Naik and George Link representatives.
The Minister said before he was appointed he was aware of the problems regarding the roll-out of phases 4B and A and wanted to come and assess the situation himself.
He acknowledged the progress that has been made by Go George in bringing the service to the people and also by the directors of George Link who have brought much-needed employment to the people of George.
"If you listen to the people who are part of this operation, [they are] people who were a part of the minibus taxi industry, who took a decision to embrace this new concept which is an improvement of public transport. This project needs to be rolled out not only in George, but across the country," said Madikizela.
During a visit to George on Thursday 25 April, the previous national Minister of Transport, Blade Nzimande, and Provincial Minister Donald Grant, announced that the roll-out of Phase 4B would take place in the first week of June.
At the time Nzimande said in order to ensure a successful service, the postponement would allow more time for engagement with all stakeholders.
Madikezela said he understands why the Minister postponed the previous roll-out plans.
"The reason to hold back the roll-out had nothing to do with the reasons that were mentioned. I think politicians, when they feel pressure [ahead of] the elections from certain sectors of the community, they bow to that pressure. This is what happened here - they bowed to that pressure.
"But I am not saying as government we shouldn't listen to the concerns of the public. However, given the fact that this project was started in 2004 already, and we have seen the successes of it from 2014, we cannot go back now and really stop it. We have to roll it out. . . while we address the concerns that the people are raising," said Madikizela.
Madikezela said he has already spoken with the new national Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, about the planned roll-out in the next two weeks.
"I will ask the Minister to come down here, because this is a partnership between local government, provincial and national, so we need to find a way to work together. Within the next two weeks at most we should be rolling out," said Madikizela.
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