GO GEORGE cracks run deep
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.