Durban - Durban council city buses were stationary at various depots on Wednesday due to a lack of diesel, causing thousands of passengers to be left stranded for two days.
Several Durban Transport branded buses were seen parked around Greyville, where they queued to fill up their fuel tanks at the Total Watson Motors fuel station since Wednesday morning. More buses were seen on Thursday.
The city's Durban Transport bus fleet service is run by a private company, Tansnat, which is owned by taxi boss Mandla Gcaba. The eThekwini Municipality said they were not aware of the problem.
eThekwini city manager Sipho Nzuza said he would be urgently meeting with Tansnat management to address the matter.
“Under no circumstances shall we fold our arms and not intervene to mitigate inconvenience that has been caused by this state of affairs to our people. We have children who are currently busy with exams they rely on these buses to be ferried to schools.
“There are also pensioners whom with their meagre income buy coupons to be transported by buses to various destinations such as hospitals, doctors and so forth. Now if this service is not available, they are compelled to fork out money to catch taxis. If they do not have it, they miss their appointments. We will work around the clock to ensure that the situation returns to normal with speed,” said Nzuza.
Tansnat chief operations officer Fani Jourbert said there was “confusion” over the payment of fuel with their service provider, Shell.
“The company has money to pay for fuel, however, there was just confusion if the invoices had been paid and this led to Shell not releasing the diesel because the payment had not reflected. The authorisation of payments for invoices is between the company, the city and auditors and any hold up causes delays on services," he said.
Jourbert said the the payment issue was resolved on Monday, but the service provider could not immediately supply the company with the fuel. He said the bus service in the central and southern depots - which includes uMlazi, Rossburgh and the Durban CBD, had been restored.
"It’s only the area of Ntuzuma which is affected and we apologise for the inconvenience,” he said.