Cape Town ratepayers to pay millions of rand for 15-year MyCiTi plan
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Cape Town - A 15-year transport plan that will see ratepayers forking out millions of rand each year to roll out the next phase of the MyCiTi bus service was adopted by council. It also proposes the scrapping of unprofitable routes and allowing “other transport” to use the dedicated MyCiTi lanes.
ACDP councillor Demetrius Dudley said: “This calls for an increase in rates to assist with financing Phase 2A. Ratepayers are already up in arms opposing the 20/21 rates increase and other increased charges for services.
"Again, with SA in the throes of an increasing economic recession, companies closing down and many unable to meet their financial commitments, with billions of rand in investment, the leadership in the City chose rather to protect their credit and audit-status ratings with finance institutions than releasing the ratepayer’s money into an emergency fund to offer its citizens some relief, even if only temporally.”
The City in the plan document projected that the rates contributions for 2020/21 would be R410.7 million, R435.4m for 2021/22, R461.5m for 2022/23 and a 6% increase per annum after that in the rates base is anticipated. The total operations and capital expenditure for Phase 2A amounts to R17billion over the next 15 years.
Cope caucus leader Farouk Cassiem said: “Cape Town is the most congested city in South Africa. Yet, shockingly, in the era of the Internet of Things, there is not one single mention of smart transport solutions either to reduce the congestion or to optimise the use of city-controlled public transport.” He said any transport plan that does not place climate change front and centre was "worthless”.
Erika Botha-Rossouw from the Freedom Front Plus (FF+) accused the DA-led administration of acting in a callous way.
“Property owners are already experiencing hardship and they will face another blow. We all know the unemployment rate is increasing, we are not sure when this Covid-19 will last and if things will pick up.
“Increasing people’s property taxes shows a callous attitude,” she said.
Former Mayco member for transport and urban development, now Good secretary-general, Brett Herron said the report to council reflects a government in disarray.
“The report is a story of delays in implementing the MyCiTi plan which have resulted in national grant funding being cut.
“Poor performance and delays in implementing the MyCiTi plan for the next phase of the service resulted in a reduction in its national funding.
“This is really unacceptable since at one point we were performing so well that we got additional funding that had been cut from other non-performing cities,” he said.
The suspension of the N2 Express service has had a considerable impact on Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain commuters.
The City said that an interim operator for the MyCiTi N2 Express service would be sought.
The service was suspended in May last year. The City said in the report that at a systems level N2 Express services would only start from July next year.
Angus McKenzie, chairperson of the City’s Special Transport Portfolio Committee, said the report lays the foundation for a successful public transport system.
“We have shown the way for public transport, we are a competent administration. One needs to just look at the state of Prasa (Passenger Rail Agency of SA) to see what situation we are in,” he said.
Mayco member for transport Felicity Purchase said: “We have taken all issues and all concerns into account and now we have a solid plan we want to present.
“We need to manage the financial shortfalls, we are confident and we will align our service and we have taken a conservative approach. It’s our duty to relay an efficient reliable transport service due to Prasa’s collapse.”