Autopax another failed SOE

It's high time the ruling party thinks hard about those it deploys to run our state-owned entities, especially in the wake of the yet another predicament involving an SOE, the writer says.
It's high time the ruling party thinks hard about those it deploys to run our state-owned entities, especially in the wake of the yet another predicament involving an SOE, the writer says.
Image: Supplied via South Africa Travel Online

Autopax, owners of City to City and Translux, which is unable to fully honour its salary obligations to its 1070 employees, looks like another badly managed state-owned entity.

Prasa announced at the weekend that the company would not be able to pay full salaries as it was going through financial difficulties that were caused by tough economic conditions.

However, Prasa did not mention that the company had incurred losses amounting to around R10m because wrong parts were bought over the last four years.

Sowetan has established that in some instances parts of buses that were not even part of the Translux and City to City fleet were somehow acquired, leading to losses amounting to millions.

How is that even possible?

This demonstrates gross poor leadership where those tasked with running the company were only interested in enriching service providers.

This is a company with a long history and has enjoyed loyal support from commuters travelling long distances across the country. This despite facing regular service disruptions, including buses arriving late or breaking down on the road.

Sowetan believes that tough action needs to be taken against those responsible for decisions that have contributed to the financial woes Autopax is currently facing.

We visited a Johannesburg depot of Autopax and was greeted by dozens of broken down buses rotting in the sun. Employees even jokingly refer to the depot as a "graveyard for buses".

These buses could beef up the 130 or so that are operational and help generate much-needed revenue for the company.

Employees spoke of poor quality windscreens that would crack almost immediately after being fitted. They also spoke of brake shoes that would not even last a week. Surely this raises another worrying issue of safety of passengers and drivers.

It's high time the ruling party thinks hard about those it deploys to run our state-owned entities.

President Cyril Ramaphosa recently spoke of plans to hire people qualified for the job in state-owned entities. Sowetan hopes such a move would go a long way in ensuring that the horror story that's unfolding at Autopax doesn't ever happen again.

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