Subsidies under the spotlight

THE Limpopo department of transport has been ordered to conduct an investigation into the mismanagement of subsidies by private bus operators.

The concern comes after a public hearing by the Standing Committee on Public Petitions currently under way in the province.

The legislature has accused private bus companies of abusing state resources by providing a poor and unreliable service to passengers.

The legislature accused the companies' owners of "buying luxury buses" for routes they were not getting subsidies for.

The province pays millions of rands to private bus operators every month but the committee claimed it was not getting value for the money.

Committee chairperson Lehlogonolo Masoga said they had discovered that bus operators operated dilapidated buses and used the subsidies to buy themselves luxury cars.

Masoga said some operators had been buying luxury buses and using them on routes the government was not subsidising.

"They are abusing government subsidies. They issue tickets with no value and claim from government. Our people have complained about the condition of the buses. That is why we have ordered the department of transport to conduct investigations into how bus operators have been using the subsidies," said Masoga

The transport department's spokesperson Boiki Tsedu yesterday failed to explain how much the department was spending.