When the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) issued a memorandum stating its acute concern with the appalling state of public transport in the Western Cape, it echoed the concerns of the City Council of Cape Town, the Cape Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Western Cape Government.
What COSATU’s memorandum illustrates is that broad unity of purpose on the issue of the Metrorail collapse is possible between business, government and trade unions. All parties recognize that it is an emergency situation.
Everyone acknowledges that the Western Cape economy needs an affordable, efficient means of getting people to and from work. Business needs its staff to arrive on time and give a full day’s work, and local and provincial government expects the same. Commuters of all kinds want an efficient, safe, and affordable public rail service.
Prasa and Metrorail in the Western Cape have failed all of us. We are all in this together – unions, ordinary citizens, local and provincial authorities and business.
The only question now is how can Metrorail’s failure be reversed as quickly as possible?
A regional public transport solution must be found, not one that would satisfy any particular section of the sector – be they private bus companies, municipal ones, taxis, Uber drivers, or security companies – but one that would be fast, safe and affordable, serving the interests of commuters above all else, and in so doing serving the regional economy as well.
President of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry