|After months of violent national strikes and marches by the taxi industry, the government has admitted that its consultation process over the Bus Rapid Transit system was flawed and in-appropriate.
“We must concede that the consultation process for the BRT might not have been the most appropriate method, given the nature of the industry and the variety of stakeholders,” said Transport Director-General Mpumi Mpofu.
“It would have been more desirable to have more intense consultation, rather than workshops.”
Mpofu, speaking at Parliament’s transport portfolio committee on Wednesday, said the National Joint Working Group (NJWG), which held its first meeting on July 30, was the start of a new process that would be more inclusive and able to resolve outstanding issues.
The government proposed such a group after a meeting with the taxi industry in June.
The new process to be started by the NJWG has been welcomed by the SA National Taxi Council (Santaco).
It said the NJWG should be seen as the start of a new process and not the continuation of old discussions about BRT.
“Let’s not continue the malpractice. We need to negotiate in good faith and we need a new process. We ask the government to allow us to (join discussions) with a clean slate,” said Santaco president Arthur Mthembu.
Mpofu was reluctant to divulge the nature of discussions that have already taken place with the NJWG.
Transport portfolio committee chairwoman Ruth Bhengu said there would still be problems if the BRT discussions included only the government and the taxi industry, as commuter associations and civil society needed to be part of the process.