The MyCiTi N2 Express from Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha has come to a grinding halt after a dispute between the City and N2 Express Joint Venture. Picture by Bheki Radebe/African News Agency (ANA) Archives
Cape Town - Recently appointed Mayco member for transport Felicity Purchase seems to have failed her baptism of fire as the MyCiTi bus dispute drags on with no relief for frustrated commuters from Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain.

A contractual dispute between the City of Cape Town and the N2 Express Joint Venture operating company that services the Mitchells Plain-to-CBD route has seen the service come to a grinding halt, with no end in sight.

Purchase said negotiations were ongoing, but the ANC’s Xolani Sotashe was not buying her stance.

Sotashe, the ANC leader in the city council, said Purchase was “reflecting the arrogance and the ignorance of her political party”.

“They are not interested in commuters’ needs. How come they are taking so long to negotiate for something that they knew long ago. She has no clue about her role,” Sotashe said.

Brett Herron, Purchase’s predecessor and now Good member in the provincial legislature, said the City had known for over a year that the taxi operator partners in the joint venture company that operated the service wanted to increase their operational role. 

“The City paid for the capacity building of the taxi operators and their staff through a programme run by the University of Cape Town so that they could ultimately operate as stand-alone operators,” Herron said.

“It seems to me that the city has not been adequately engaged with the question of how to make this work. It’s a narrow question that should have been negotiated with some authenticity over the last year.”

He said he was concerned that the city leadership was not adequately engaged with or concerned about the issue. “I acknowledge that the project is complex and the empowerment component is complicated to navigate. Negotiations invariably leave parties settling on a compromise position.”

He said in his experience, the bus and taxi partners in the joint venture were committed to commuter-focused solutions and had conducted negotiations responsibly.

Taxi organisation Codeta’s lawyer, Barnabas Xulu, said they had received an offer from the city, “which I can not disclose for now, due to ongoing engagements”.

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Cape Argus