Local development beset by delays

THE long awaited half a billion rand development of an Intermodal Transport Facility with retail and commercial opportunities in the Ray Nkonyeni Municipality, which was expected to start soon, has been disrupted by South African Taxi Council (Santaco).

According to sources, Santaco wants to be part of the construction and demanded that all taxi owners that have registered companies be subcontracted.

Santaco spokesperson, Mandla Mzelemu, said the taxi owners had met with the municipal leadership together with contractors to discuss some of the issues.

“The plan to convert the existing Port Shepstone taxi rank into an integrated, “intermodal” facility is something that we accept as taxi owners but we must also be part of the construction,” said Mzelemu.

He said Santaco is now busy compiling the database of taxi owners who have registered businesses to make sure that they get subcontracted.

The source claims that although the development entitlement agreement has been signed, the entire project would not be completed in 2020.

Ray Nkonyeni spokesperson Simon April confirmed that Santaco met with the municipality as stakeholders affected by the development and there was no point where they demanded to be subcontracted the development

He said, ever since the project was conceived, the taxi industry and other stakeholders have been part of planning of the project, especially because the project involves the public transport component.

The retail aspect of the project will include parking on the mezzanine level with access from Ryder Street and provision for informal traders and kiosks outside.

The idea is to combine all commuter services, even with the possibility of rail in the long term. However, long-term leases would be granted to some public and private partner-ships.

The project is expected to create close to a thousand employment opportunities and a boost to the local economy.A temporary taxi rank will have to be used as the taxi holding centre until the facility is complete.