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This afternoon I received a memorandum from Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) in the Western Cape, under the leadership of Mr Tony Ehrenreich, protesting against the state of public transport.

Given the number of times the 3rd of August was mentioned it was clear that this was an electioneering stunt for the ANC. The small size of the crowd of protestors should worry both the ANC and COSATU.

We agree that Metrorail is in a state of crisis. Even though Metrorail is being managed by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, a state-owned enterprise, the City is assisting our partners from Metrorail as often as we can and within our limited resources.

This latest stunt from COSATU to target the City through their protest action is ironic, if not dishonest and schizophrenic.

In April 2016 when Metrorail was unable to provide a service due to violent strike action, which incidentally was supported by COSATU, the City added extra MyCiTi services to Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain to assist stranded Metrorail passengers.

COSATU, in response, issued a statement on 26 April 2016, condemning the City and accusing us of trying to ‘score political points’. They also claimed, after meeting with Metrorail, that extra trains were being added to alleviate the crisis, thus suggesting our additional MyCiTi services were not needed.

Now Mr Ehrenreich makes a contradictory claim and it is increasingly impossible to take COSATU seriously.

For the past two years we have been working to expand the MyCiTi network by connecting Khayelitsha and Mitchells Plain – and 1,4 million residents in 30 communities along the way including Gugulethu and Manenberg – with Claremont and Wynberg. This is the planned Phase 2A of the MyCiTi service.

The roll-out is being delayed by COSATU’s alliance partner, the ANC, who have tried every trick in the book to prevent us from delivering this service. Mr Ehrenreich leads the ANC in the Council – if he was indeed interested in providing more and better transport services to residents on the Cape Flats he should have led his caucus to supporting the roll-out of Phase 2 of the MyCiTi service instead of trying to block it.

Furthermore, if COSATU want to see better transport services they should protest at the doors of the National Minister of Transport who is refusing to assign the contracting authority to the City despite national policy, strategy and legislation which provides for this assignment.

With this assignment we would be in a position to integrate public transport in Cape Town, fast-track the roll-out of trunk services which will provide mass rapid connections and we would be able to address connections between the City and neighbouring municipalities. We applied for this function to be assigned to us four years ago and the Minister is simply refusing to proceed despite the support the City received from her predecessor.

The blame for the slow integration and roll-out of the integrated rapid transit system lies squarely at the ANC’s door. COSATU should be honest with itself and its members.

The implementation and roll-out of the world-class MyCiTi service is a clear demonstration of the City’s commitment to provide our residents with reliable and affordable public transport. To date, since the City launched the first of the MyCiTi routes in the inner-city in May 2010, the service has recorded over 46,7 million passenger journeys.

We are now transporting nearly 67 316 passengers every weekday. On average, the MyCiTi buses cover a distance of over 1 490 000 kilometres each month, operating on routes within the city bowl and to destinations further afield such as Hout Bay, Imizamo Yethu, Hangberg, Atlantis, Table View, Dunoon, Joe Slovo, Century City, the Cape Town International Airport and parts of Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha.

Currently the MyCiTi service consists of:
•40 routes with buses covering on average a distance of over 1 490 000 kilometres each month
•42 stations
•More than 700 bus stops
•More than 550 bus drivers
•More than 251 buses in the peak-hour periods, transporting 67 316 passengers on a week day

The N2 Express service in particular, consists of four routes that are being operated between Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha and the Civic Centre station. The first two routes were implemented in July 2014 and the other two routes in October and November last year.

The popularity of and demand for the MyCiTi service in these areas has exceeded our own expectations: the total number of passengers travelling on the N2 Express service has increased with 12,5% in May 2016 in comparison with the passenger numbers that were recorded along these routes in April 2016. In fact, nearly 210 000 passengers from Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha made use of the N2 Express service in May 2016 – confirming that the MyCiTi service is a welcome addition to the public transport options in the metro-south east.

The MyCiTi service is part of the City’s broader strategy of investing in the infrastructure that will help drive economic growth, development and inclusion. Affordable, safe and efficient public transport networks are also a critical element in breaking down apartheid-era spatial planning, and going forward we will focus on those communities who live far away from opportunities.

We will stay on course in expanding the MyCiTi service and will, in the end, succeed in obtaining the contracting authority from National Government, despite the ANC and COSATU’s efforts in preventing us from doing so.

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