By Masilo Malakwane
QWAQWA-The executive mayor of Maluti a Phofung local municipality Gilbert Mokotso has officially opened the controversial taxi rank located just next to Mofumahadi Manapo Mopeli Regional hospital.
Speaking at the handover, Mokotso pleaded with taxi operators to ensure that the rank is clean and safe for commuters at all times.
“We are pleading with them to ensure that this rank is safe and clean for commuters and is properly maintained,” Mokotso said.
He enthused the project was initially launched by him while he was MMC for Local Economic Development in 2016.
Since the project started, approximately six years ago, there has been several delays in completion, including that of disgruntled taxi operators claiming the construction was done without consultation with their association.
An estimated R48 million has already been spent on this rank, yet the structure is currently without shelter facilities for taxis and commuters. What stands out is half pillar blocks and pavement from the entrance.
A commuter who asked not to be named lamented the fact that so much money has been spent on this taxi rank, yet it is not fully operational.
“I think our municipality is failing us. How does one open such an incomplete project which seemingly does not cater for the needs of public transport operators and other users?”
Meanwhile, Qwa Qwa United Taxi Association (Qwauta) chairperson, Matshediso Nteo, refuted claims that the association has agreed to and signed anything with the municipality to utilize and operate the facility.
“We’ve never agreed to fully operate this taxi rank. We only asked for permission to occupy the office building since we have limited space at our old rank offices,” said Nteo.