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eThekwini Transport Month spending raises eyebrows

A female Metro Police officer directing traffic at the Sandile Thusi Road and Ruth First (M4) Highway intersection during load shedding.

A Metro Police officer directs traffic during load shedding in Durban. File Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Sep 28, 2023


Durban - The millions of rand that will be spent on activities by the eThekwini Municipality for Transport Month have been questioned by opposition parties who have accused the metro of spending money on “nice-to-haves” in the face of service-delivery challenges.

The metro will spend R3.1 million next month on Transport Month activities to encourage road safety, including the Moja Cruise Driver of the Year awards and taxi rank activations.

A report on the matter said the eThekwini Transport Authority had several programmes to celebrate and showcase local milestones and developments in the transport sector that were designed to improve the lives of its citizens through connectivity and access to opportunities.

The municipality, according to the report, had in partnership with the eThekwini Metro Taxi Council (EMTC) and bus industry leadership launched various initiatives in recent years aimed at meaningfully transforming the industries.

The report showed that some of the activities that the City plans to spend on included:

R150 000 on a Public Transport Driver Awareness campaign.

R450 000 on road safety prayer R680 000 on eThekwini Transport Authority/ South African National Taxi Council business summit. R70 000 on a bus driver competition. R200 000 for the mayor’s reception breakfast – GO!Durban academy. R800 000 for taxi rank activations. “One of the most instrumental programmes has been the Moja Cruise programme which introduced a formal and contracted environment between the City and operators. Moja Cruise has 1 000 participants enrolled in the programme ensuring roadworthiness of vehicles,” said the report.

It recommended that authority be granted for the acting head of eThekwini Transport Authority to lead the programme of events scheduled to celebrate the 2023 National Transport Month in October.

“It is noted that the events will cost an estimated R3 180 000 which is budgeted for in the 2023-24 eThekwini Transport Authority’s operating budget,” said the report.

IFP councillor Mdu Nkosi questioned the spending. “We have many other pressing issues, what are we doing spending on things like Moja (Cruise), can someone explain to me what value is there for the City in this?”

DA councillor Yogis Govender said the DA’s first issue was the lateness of the report, a mere few days before the month-long programme is set to begin.

“Residents want service delivery, they want their street lights fixed, water on tap, clean beaches, and no sewer spills. Millions are being approved, however, on entertainment, gala dinners, breakfasts, artists, gifts, promotions, with no tangible outcomes,” she said.

The head of eThekwini Transport Authority, Thami Manyathi, defended the spending, saying the programmes were an integral part of improving safety on the roads. “None of these programmes are nice-to-have, they are essential.”