Author:vaughan-mostert

Bye-bye, bus industry! 

All that a strike in the bus industry will achieve is to sustain its slow implosion. Last month’s column welcomed the fact that civil society groups are now starting to look into the mismanagement of public transport and encouraged Solidarity to have a full go at sorting out the mess at South African Airways (SAA), even if the unions object. It’s good to see the Organisation for Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA) looking into the “tall locomotives” issue at the Passenger […]

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Advice for Solidarity

Just about every subsidised public transport organisation in South Africa could be regarded as insolvent. If government and municipal subsidies were turned off, and taxpayer-funded contracts were cancelled, they would shut down by next month. Trade union Solidarity has announced its intention to have South African Airways (SAA) placed under business rescue. At the time of writing, it is not yet clear what its legal strategy will be, but, from a transport point of view, it could be an interesting […]

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Now Is Your Chance, Comrade Blade!

I’d speculate that at no time since 1910 has the post of minister of transport been filled by anyone seriously committed to making transport work for the benefit of the whole community. At least three communists – Ben Martins, Jeremy Cronin and Jeff Radebe – have held the position of minister of transport (or deputy minister) since 1994. Now another comrade, the long-serving general secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP), Blade Nzimande, has been called up to the […]

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Today, water … tomorrow, oil?

Cape Town’s water crisis and the cost of oil have more in common than you’d expect… Up to now, many people (including myself) have been wasting water every day, complacently thinking that “it won’t happen to me”. Whether the dire predictions around “day zero” will come to pass, remain to be seen. Obviously, there are solutions to the problem, but, due to the lack of planning, these will come at higher cost and with more inconvenience than if we had […]

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Advice for Elon Musk

Transport is fast becoming more of a burden to the economy than an enabler. As we go through the annual task of counting the bodies after the holiday season, I’d like to know when we are going to start taking the carnage seriously. Instead of building houses, we are spending scarce money on fixing cars, organising funerals and seeing doctors. And just when I was thinking of congratulating the railways for keeping a clean sheet over the silly season, along […]

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Coming to a pole near you?

This is the 50th Hopping Off column and I remain humbly aware that I have repeated myself several times by now. So, forgive me if I, once again, question the value of October Transport Month (OTM) and highlight the shortcomings of public transport in South Africa. I have no idea how the people who organise the meaningless OTM activities manage to convince themselves that they are doing something worthwhile. My abiding memory of this past OTM is a picture of […]

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