As Metrorail’s Cape region struggles to pay Eskom on time, Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said that he was not consulted about the Prasa budget cuts in the Finance Minister’s Budget Speech.
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni announced that government would over the medium term cut R13.2 billion that was meant to go to public transport.
The bulk of this was earmarked for the Passenger Rail Agency and Mbalula said that it was a huge setback.
Mbalula said that he now needed to make other plans, as slashing Prasa funds would affect his turnaround plan for the parastatal’s operations.
Mbalula said that despite this, he was busy fixing public transport issues in the country.
“People are suffering as we speak, that’s why I implemented the measures and explained to Parliament why I took those measures. Now if you cut back on me, you are affecting these people and if you take money to SAA, it’s fine and good, you save SAA but at whose expense?”
The minister said that he respected Tito Mboweni but he should have been consulted ahead of the announcement.
“I don’t want to talk about him in this manner but he should have consulted me on this matter. He should have informed me that he was going to take money away and tell me how he’s going to support me.”
The budget cuts would also have an impact on the planning and implementation of integrated public transport networks.
Those processes will be suspended in Buffalo City, Mbombela and Msunduzi.