Commuters may suffer in subsidy row

Getrude Makhafola

Getrude Makhafola

Finger-pointing between the National Treasury and Department of Transport could soon leave millions of commuters stranded unless the government forks out R1,2billion in outstanding subsidies owed to bus operators.

The SA Bus Operators Association (Saboa) has described the situation as a "serious breach of contract with disastrous consequences for the country and the economy".

Transport Department spokesman Collen Msibi said they had followed the necessary budget cycle processes in requesting funding from the Treasury. The request was never approved.

According to Saboa, Transport Minister Jeff Radebe confirmed in a written reply to a parliamentary question last week that his department was anticipating a shortfall of about R1,2billion during this financial year.

Treasury spokesman Thoraya Pandy said in a statement that the Public Finance Management Act states that only circumstances that are unforeseen and unavoidable will receive additional allocations during the year.