GEORGE NEWS - The Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works, Bonginkosi Madikizela, said the roll-out of the Phase 4B Go George bus service should be expected within this month. Phase 4B will service Conville, Parkdene, Ballotsview, Borcherds and Lawaaikamp.
Madikezela was on a tour in George on Thursday 6 June 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.
At the time of his visit last week, he said the roll-out of Phase 4B should be expected in the "next two weeks", which means that now only a week is left.
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 a response to George Herald's enquiry, Mbalula's office said he has been briefed by the Department of Transport on matters pertaining to the Go George bus service. The minister "plans to engage with the Western Cape Provincial Government on these issues and will communicate his position thereafter."
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