Bus operators sue state over subsidy

Zinhle Mapumulo

Zinhle Mapumulo

Battle lines have been drawn between South African Bus Operators Association and Department of Transport.

The parties are expected to meet in the Johannesburg High court on Thursday next week. This follows the government's failure to pay bus subsidies.

Initially, the department had agreed to subsidise bus operators across South Africa with R4,1 billion a year.

The government, however, turned on its word in November, saying it was unable to pay subsidies for the final four months of the financial year (from December 2008 to March this year) owing to a subsidy shortfall of R1,2 billion. They had already paid R2,8 billion for the first eight months. This urged Saboa to seek legal advice.

Yesterday, Saboa took legal action to force the government to meet its contractual obligation.

Saboa managing director Eric Cornelius said they have given government until Friday to respond to their summons.

South African Transport and Allied Workers Union said: "The non-payment of subsidies to the industry would put 30 000 bus workers' jobs in jeopardy."

Department of Transport could not be reached for comment.

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