The Democratic Alliance (DA) in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) has today received a petition from members of the Private Charter Passenger Association (PCPA) in the province, calling for urgent assistance from government. This after not being able to operate since the start of lockdown at the end of March.
The DA’s acceptance of this important document comes after the province’s MECs for Transport and Tourism snubbed an invitation to meet in Durban (view here) while also failing to send representatives from their respective Departments.
PCPA, a national organisation which operates under the tourism industry umbrella, has been extremely hard-hit by Covid-19 with many members becoming increasingly desperate as their financial pressures continue to mount.
Added to this is the fact that the current health pandemic continues to highlight the inequalities that exist within the country’s transport industry – where certain transport modes are treated with kid gloves and provided with government subsidies – while private operators must fend for themselves during this pandemic.
The requests made by the PCPA in terms of the petition are not unreasonable and include the following, amongst others;
- That government refund the upfront licencing fees paid to the Transport Department so that they can at least sustain their current workforce and avoid retrenchments;
- That government suspend licencing fees within the tourism sector until the industry opens up again in Level 1;
- That government review a subsidy for the private transport operators and;
- That a meeting takes place between PCPA and the national and provincial Transport and Tourism Ministers and MECs.
Given their absence today, the DA will submit the petition on behalf of the PCPA to Transport MEC Bheki Ntuli and his colleague, MEC Nomusa-Dube-Ncube. We will also submit the documents to the Provincial Petitions Committee.
These are unprecedented times and the DA expects both MECs to heed this call. The DA remains committed to ensuring that there is pressure at both a national and provincial government level to ensure that private bus operators are not further side-lined.