North West MEC for Community Safety and Transport Management, Sello Lehari, together with Gauteng MEC for Transport and Logistics, Kedibone Diale-Tlabela, have met to discuss challenges facing the North West Transport Investment (NTI) Bus Company.
The public entity, established 50 years ago, has been experiencing financial challenges recently, which led NTI to voluntary business rescue.
In a series of meetings between the two MECs, Lehari and Diale-Tlabela, accompanied by the respective Heads of Departments and senior officials responsible for transport operations, both have resolved on a process to ensure that the NTI is rescued from financial distress and can continue with its public mandate of providing transport to needy communities.
The meetings were necessitated by the current withdrawal of busses from operating, which started a week ago and has negatively affected commuters mainly in the areas of Hammanskraal, north of Tshwane.
The two MECs also met with the bus company sub-contracted by NTI on Tuesday and concluded engagements. Both MECs committed to deal with debt owed to the sub-contracted bus company and all other issues affecting NTI.
An agreement has been reached to the effect that busses will return to operations with immediate effect from this afternoon.
“We sincerely apologise to all affected commuters and stakeholders. We are now onwards seized full time with the challenges facing NTI. We have established a joint technical team comprising senior officials from both provincial departments to ensure that NTI is turned around and becomes a bankable public entity. Our primary interest is to ensure that commuters are not compromised when it comes to transport services,” said MEC Diale-Tlabela.
The MEC said despite the challenges the entity is facing, it is not the end of NTI as the technical team will draw up a plan to manage debt to creditors.
“The North West provincial government appreciates and remains fully committed to a process agreed to with our counterparts in Gauteng, intended to benefit our people,” MEC Lehari said.
The immediate priority for the joint teams is to work on drafting a plan and advise both provincial governments on how to consult, manage, and implement a workable plan to get NTI functional.
Furthermore, the teams will explore various options on how to reduce the current debt, and ensure that all creditors, workers, and service providers are paid on time.
Source: South African Government News Agency