GO GEORGE cracks run deep

George Herald - - NEWS - My­ron Ra­bi­no­witz

The deep di­vi­si­ons a­mong ro­le play­ers in the GIPTN (George In­te­gra­ted Pu­blic Trans­port Net­work) was wit­nes­sed first-hand by members of the We­stern Ca­pe Le­gis­la­tu­re w­hen t­hey vi­si­ted George on Tu­es­day 25 Ju­ly.

The di­rec­tors of George Link, the com­pa­ny t­hat o­pe­ra­tes the GO GEORGE bus ser­vi­ce, fai­led to turn up for a meet­ing with the pro­vin­ci­al Stan­ding Com­mit­tee on Trans­port and Pu­blic Works (SCOTPW), and had to be sum­mo­ned by the chair­man.

Fi­ve members of the le­gis­la­tu­re we­re on a fact-fin­ding vi­sit to George.

Chair­man of SCOTPW

N­ce­ba Hi­na­na said the pur­po­se of the vi­sit was to meet with all the sta­ke­hol­ders in the trans­port in­du­stry, the George Mu­ni­ci­pa­li­ty, George Link, ot­her taxi as­so­ci­a­ti­ons and the pu­blic.

“The­re has been a misun­der­stan­ding be­t­ween the taxi in­du­stry and GO GEORGE which has led to a vo­la­ti­le si­tu­a­ti­on. The com­mit­tee is here with the in­ten­ti­on of sharing in­for­ma­ti­on to re­sol­ve the dif­fe­ren­ces.” The SCOTPW meet­ing, held in the George Ci­vic Cen­t­re, was ad­jour­ned by Hi­na­na within mi­nu­tes of the o­pe­ning as the di­rec­tors of George Link we­re ab­sent. Hi­na­na said, “T­his meet­ing is a for­mal com­mit­tee of the We­stern Ca­pe Le­gis­la­tu­re and George Link must be here.”

The meet­ing was re­con­ve­ned 45 mi­nu­tes la­ter w­hen the di­rec­tors ar­ri­ved.

Members of the Un­ce­do George Taxi As­so­ci­a­ti­on did not at­tend the meet­ing.

Dei­d­re Rib­bo­naar, chief director: Trans­port O­pe­ra­ti­ons, We­stern Ca­pe Go­vern­ment, ga­ve a de­tailed o­ver­view of the success of the GO GEORGE bus ser­vi­ce.

ANC MPL Cameron

Dugmore as­ked if the fi­nan­ci­al sta­te­ments of George Link, which al­le­ge­d­ly ha­ve not been sub­mit­ted for the last two y­e­ars, ha­ve been re­cei­ved. A George Link director re­p­lied t­hat the do­cu­men­ta­ti­on has been sub­mit­ted. Af­ter a dis­cus­si­on it was not cle­ar w­he­re in the sy­stem the fi­nan­ci­al sta­te­ments we­re and the director un­der­took to re-sub­mit them. In re­ply to a que­s­ti­on on w­het­her mu­ni­ci­pal of­fi­ci­als are re­cei­ving mo­ney from coun­cil, Rib­bo­naar said, “Du­ring the i­ni­ti­al sta­ges of the GO GEORGE pro­ject cer­tain George mu­ni­ci­pal of­fi­ci­als in­vol­ved in the plan­ning did re­cei­ve a 5% top-up from coun­cil but not any mo­re. T­his has been stop­ped.

“T­heir GO GEORGE work was o­ver and a­bo­ve t­heir coun­cil work.”

Du­ring the o­pen que­s­ti­o­nand-ans­wer ses­si­on Mark Jon­kers, a for­mer taxi o­w­ner and share­hol­der of George Link, ex­pres­sed his bit­ter di­sap­point­ment in the GO GEORGE pro­ject.

“I was told by Ro­bin Car­lis­le, the for­mer MEC for trans­port, t­hat I must jump at t­his op­por­tu­ni­ty as the­re would be mo­ney for all.

“I am suf­fe­ring to­day and I’m wor­se off as now I get a me­re R2 600 per month and a di­vi­dend pa­yout of a­bout

R30 000 e­very six mont­hs.” Jon­kers said he has tried to ask que­s­ti­ons at share­hol­der meet­ings but is not gi­ven the op­por­tu­ni­ty.

“I feel t­hat t­hey are gan­ging up a­gainst me.”

He al­so said he would li­ke to know if the di­rec­tors who are still run­ning t­heir vehi­cles ha­ve va­lid per­mits for t­heir rou­tes, to which a George Link director re­p­lied, “Mr Jon­kers was a dri­ver and a director of George Link; may­be he should say why he was dis­mis­sed.”

Af­ter the meet­ing the pro­vin­ci­al stan­ding com­mit­tee members vi­si­ted the George Link bus de­pot and con­clu­ded the day with a bus ri­de through so­me of the a­re­as cur­rent­ly ser­vi­ced by GO GEORGE.

T­his meet­ing is a for­mal com­mit­tee of the We­stern Ca­pe Le­gis­la­tu­re and George Link must be here.

The Stan­ding Com­mit­tee on Trans­port and Pu­blic Works (SCOTPW) of the We­stern Ca­pe Go­vern­ment paid a vi­sit to George. From left, Ma­si­zo­le Mn­qa­se­la, Cameron Dugmore, No­bu­lum­ko N­kond­lo, George Exe­cu­ti­ve Ma­yor Mel­vin Naik, N­ce­ba Hi­na­na (chai­r­per­son) and Ri­car­do Mac­ken­zie.

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