Africa's Public Procurement & Entrepreneurship Research Initiative – APPERI



New Rea Vaya buses to be SA-made, Joburg council assures

November 4th, 2011

The City of Johannesburg has launched a process to determine the ability of the local automotive sector to build the 134 buses required for Phase 1B of the Rea Vaya bus rapid transit (BRT) locally.

A meeting to provide more information to the industry will be held this month.

Mayoral committee member for transport Rehana Moosajee says the 134 buses – which includes 41 articulated buses – will be operated by a different company from the one managing Phase 1, and will cover a new route through the city, even though it will sport the same branding.

The operating company on the first phase, Pio Trans, includes taxi operators affected by the implementation of the Rea Vaya BRT along the Soweto to Ellis Park route. A crippling bus driver strike has recently halted services on this route for two months.

Phase 1B encompasses the second trunk route of the system, and will run from Noordgezicht to Parktown, and on to the Johannesburg central business district. The 18 km, ten-station project carries an estimated infrastructure cost of R1.2-billion.

The acquisition of buses for Phase 1 of the system was widely criticised as the 143 Scania people movers for this phase were fully imported, even though the company had assembly facilities in South Africa.

Moosajee notes, however, that this was done in order to deal with the “very tight time restrictions” to have the system operational for the FIFA Confederations Cup in June 2009.

“The mayoral committee had then already taken the decision that Phase 1B of Rea Vaya will have to be a catalyst, as far as possible, for local production.”

With Rea Vaya one of many BRT systems being rolled out across the country, national government has taken a particular interest in establishing a viable local bus manufacturing industry in South Africa – one larger than the assembly currently undertaken.

It appears the Department of Trade and Industry will, in December, designate buses for local procurement – meaning it would require government and State agencies to buy locally manufactured buses, as noted by Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies in a speech at the Johannesburg Motor Show in OctoberRead more.

The Big Interview: ‘My fight is about principles, not leases’

Xolani Mbanjwa
Roux Shabangu, the billionaire property developer at the centre of the R1.7bn leases saga that led to Public Works Minister Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde being fired and police commissioner Gen Bheki Cele suspended, believes that he has been treated unfairly.Shabangu, who has been hogging the headlines since he clinched the controversial lease contract from the Department of Public Works that have since been deemed “unlawful” by public protector Thuli Madonsela, is unhappy about the findings.He made this clear in an interview during which his wife, Percy, a law student, sat alongside him at his plush offices in Irene, Pretoria. Shabangu only has a matric.Shabangu bitterly complains how being black has unfairly thrust him into the spotlight and accuses white property developers – and his former business partner – of working with the media to tarnish his name.

His business portfolio boasts a string of shopping centres, mines in South Africa and Swaziland, properties, boats and vehicles. Shabangu scoffed at allegations that he clinched the lucrative lease contract for the new police headquarters in Pretoria only because of his political and business connections.

“People think I’ve got money because Zuma is the president. It’s rubbish. Why didn’t I need Thabo Mbeki when I was building Jabulani Mall (in Soweto) and other developments?

“Why would I rely on connections now? I’ve always had connections. I don’t have unique ones now. I know the same people I knew back then,” said the 37-year-old father of four.

The former amateur boxer said the success he’s achieved “especially at my age should be celebrated, but you can see that some people are aggrieved about my business”.

“Zuma is 69, I’ve just turned 37,” Shabangu said, introducing a new conversation while sidestepping the question about inflated leases he signed with government.

He confidently declared that his legal team would clear his name and successfully defend Mahlangu-Nkabinde’s bid to get the Sanlam-Middestad building lease nullified by the Pretoria High CourtRead more.

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