Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has stated that heads will roll over unfinished road projects in the Free State. He was speaking to transport stakeholders in Bloemfontein ahead of the Presidential Imbizo, which takes place this weekend.
Mbalula says a forensic investigation into the Mangaung Bus Rapid Transit project’s delay will be launched. He says corruption has marred the project which started in April 2019.
The Mangaung Integrated Public Transport Network’s BRT project is yet to get off the ground.
The project, which started in 2019 has left many roads incomplete and is an unpleasant experience for road users.
The Minister says the government has pumped R 2 billion into the project and they have found that prices were inflated in the process of project management and the purchasing of buses.
He says, “What we know is that we spent R 2 Billion on this project, and one of the challenges that we’ve had to deal with is the inflated prices in the purchasing of these buses, and also the inflated prices in relation to the project management. As the Minister of Transport, I’ve already instructed the director-general to institute a forensic investigation into this, because heads must roll. The project will not stop because we’ve spent money on it.”
Deputy Chairperson of Greater Bloemfontein Taxi Association, Calvin Marogoa says the terrible state of the incomplete roads is a huge inconvenience to motorists.
Marogoa says, “It has affected us dearly, but of course, this project is all about being better off. It was the government’s wish to make sure that they plan, they had the vision with this project, so today we going to reap the benefits, but remember again it was not an easy task. There’s a saying again that says ‘a journey to success has pitfalls and potholes’.”
Free State secretary of the African Disability Business Chamber, Mohau Nhlapo says they are happy that the buses will accommodate people living with disabilities.
Nhlapo says, “This is the first initial plan that we see our government implementing, although it took years to see us, as people with disabilities having equal access of having equal transport access, because one, if you check the public transport that we are using so far, is not conducive, it’s not accessible for the commuters with disabilities and it charges higher if one has to use it.”