Cosatu has delayed its plans to block the My-CiTi service on the Blaauwberg and Milnerton route, which it claims is of a higher standard than that received in “black communities” such as Atlantis and Mamre.
The blockage had been planned for Monday July 25, but Cosatu issued a statement on Friday July 22 saying members had asked for the protest to be held on another date.
In an earlier statement, Cosatu provincial secretary Tony Ehrenreich had accused Mayoral committee member for transport, Brett Herron, of doing “black communities” a disservice, as they had to stand for long hours on the bus and were exposed to dangerous conditions at MyCiTi stations.
However, when Tabletalk approached MyCiTi commuters travelling from Atlantis to Table View for comment, many said the service was of the same standard received in Milnerton (“Cosatu threatens to block MyCiTi,” Tabletalk, Wednesday July 20). Some suggested the union was using the protest to further possible political aspirations.
Meanwhile, Mr Herron said Mr Ehrenreich had exposed himself as “thin-skinned and irrational”. The protest, he claimed, was an election ploy and retribution for him calling Mr Ehrenreich an opportunist during the Metrorail strike a few weeks earlier.
“The Atlantis service is not inferior to the ‘Milnerton’ service. In fact, the buses serving Milnerton start their journeys in either Atlantis or Dunoon and connect through Milnerton to the city centre. My track record as Mayoral committee member speaks for itself, and I am proud of what we have achieved over the past five years.
“For the past four years Mr Ehrenreich has denied that the service existed beyond ‘Milnerton’. Now he acknowledges that the service does serve communities like Atlantis and Dunoon.This silly attack is a direct response to my criticism of his dishonesty,” said Mr Herron.
Mr Herron said transport officials had held nine public meetings with residents from Atlantis, Mamre and Pella in August 2015, discussing adjustments to the feed routes to better serve commuters. The routes, he said, had then be extended to Protea Park, Saxonsea and Robinvale to bring stops within 500 metres of residents’ homes.
“This was our direct response to the serious challenge of crime in the area, which affects the safety of women and children. Cosatu is merely using the commuters from Atlantis for their own political interests. As such, it is no coincidence that they are threatening to ‘block’ stations a mere eight days before the local government elections.
“Thousands of commuters rely on the MyCiTi service and they will be the worst affected by Cosatu’s selfish political stunt,” said Mr Herron.
Mr Ehrenreich responded to Mr Herron’s comments saying the planned protest is not a stunt before elections as he has been raising this issue for four years.
“Mr Herron has no sense of history. The fact that the service has changed shows that there was a problem. He has claimed that they have fixed the problem, but I’m saying that he hasn’t fixed the problem to the satisfaction of the people.
“Some people do find the MyCiTi service better (then the old buses), but for people living in Mamre and those further areas who have to stand all the way from Mamre to town on the buses, it’s not better,” said Mr Ehrenreich.