SABOA and FOCUS join forces

SABOA and FOCUS join forces

I am delighted to tell you that, with effect from this issue, FOCUS is the official journal of the South African Bus Operators Association (SABOA).

Established in 1980, SABOA is a non-profit, member-driven association focused on creating a transformative and sustainable bus and coach industry in South Africa. The association plays a key role in the transport policy formulation process and is an active and credible participant in the consultative platforms of government. SABOA is committed to representing the interests of its members and its lobbying, research, education, and empowerment initiatives. The association, through its long-standing involvement in public transport, has become known as the voice of the bus and coach industry.

But, in order to be an effective voice, a publishing partnership is essential – because only a highly-respected and authoritative magazine can fully communicate the goals, aspirations, and activities of the association. Indeed, SABOA did have a long-standing and successful partnership with another transport magazine, which sadly ceased publication a number of years ago. Hence, the association has had no official mouthpiece of late.

Until now.

I am delighted to announce that, with effect from April 11, 2022, FOCUS is the association’s official journal. Accordingly, we will be working very closely with SABOA, and we will do our very best to promote the organisation to the greater transport industry. SABOA will also have a regular column in FOCUS, penned by its executive manager, Bazil Govender. His first column appears on page 6 of this issue of FOCUS. Where possible, we will also be attending and reporting on SABOA events. The bus and coach industry is facing a challenging time in our country and there are several issues that it needs to address. You will read more about those issues – and potential solutions – in future editions of FOCUS.

Naturally, SABOA members will receive a complimentary copy of FOCUS as well as substantial discounts on advertising rates.

I think that this is a solid partnership that will benefit SABOA and its members as well as FOCUS, our advertisers, and readers. I’m really looking forward to working with SABOA and to being of service to our country’s very important bus and coach industry.

And now for the bad news…

While our partnership with SABOA is incredibly positive news, the sorry state of our rail network is exactly the opposite.

Our transport minister, Fikile Mbalula (aka Mr Fix) has revealed that it will cost nearly R5 billion to repair and rehabilitate vandalised train stations and damaged rail infrastructure in South Africa. “The cost to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) to repair and rehabilitate the vandalised infrastructure is at the tune of R4 994 674 062,88. A key consideration in achieving this objective is achieving a quicker turnaround time in repairing vandalised stations and rehabilitating damaged infrastructure,” he told the Standing Committee on Public Accounts recently.

Not surprisingly – given the sorry state of our rail network – there has been a 97,6% decline in passenger rail journeys in South Africa since 2008. This has placed added demand on the services provided by SABOA’s members and taxi operators.

This sorry state of affairs was discussed recently on Twitter, with well-known trader Dwaine van Vuuren commenting: “I can’t get over this. I don’t think in the history of the world, even when taking wars and invasions into account, has a rail network been destroyed like this in its entirety. It was once the greatest rail network in the Southern Hemisphere.”

I share his horror and disbelief at the situation. How on earth could PRASA have allowed this to happen?

Published by

Charleen Clarke

CHARLEEN CLARKE is editorial director of FOCUS. While she is based in Johannesburg, she spends a considerable amount of time overseas, attending international transport events – largely in her capacity as associate member of the International Truck of the Year Jury.
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