Gautrain transparency questioned

The Gautrain Management Agency has revealed that it will soon be embroiled in a legal battle with its private partner, Bombela, over an alleged lack of transparency about its income.

Ntheri Magoai, head of the agency’s legal unit, disclosed this to the provincial portfolio committee on roads and transport on last week when he was called to explain how the agency spent its money.

In an audio clip of the meeting, in Sebokeng, in the Vaal Triangle, Magoai is heard evading an answer, saying instead that a full report would be given to the committee “soon”.

This raised questions about whether a proposed cash injection was meant to fund the agency’s legal battles.

The agency’s legal issues arise as the express train is about to have its R737m budget increased to R1.5bn

Last week The Times reported that the Gauteng provincial government was proposing an additional allocation of R861m for the Gautrain.

John Sukazi, the Gauteng finance MEC’s spokesman, referred questions to the provincial roads and transport spokesman, Octavia Mamabolo, who was unavailable.

Last Tuesday (26 February), Magoai said the Gautrain Management Agency was on the verge of locking horns with Bombela because of its alleged lack of the transparency.

“These are reports that are supposed to be submitted to the agency by Bombela every month so that we can monitor the revenue that is being generated through ridership [sic] and determine what patronage guarantee is payable as a result of it.

“We are likely to declare a dispute because the reports that we have been receiving from Bombela are very scanty. We have given [Bombela] some timelines to which they must give us information. If that does not happen, we are likely to declare a dispute,” Magoai said.

He listed some other disputes, which he predicted would go on until 2016.

A transport agencies’ quarterly analysis report, presented at the meeting in the Vaal Triangle, asked why the Gautrain budget was being increased to R1.58bn. It revealed that R33-billion had been spent on Gautrain since 2006.

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Source : The Times via I-Net Bridge

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