Thursday, August 27, 2009

Nomvula takes on the bad boys!

I LOVE our Premier Nomvula Mokonyane. She is a kick-ass woman who fears no man. Not even if he is a stick-or-rifle wielding taxi driver!
This morning ChiefPhotographer and I headed off to the end bus terminus on Joburg's shiny new bus route that from Monday will see hundreds of sparkling big buses chuffing up and down between Soweto, the city and Ellis Park. It was the venue for a press conference where Nomvula was to come and address the media on the fact that, whether taxi drivers like it or not, the new Bus Rapid Transit system is going ahead. On Monday. According to plan.
But all through this week we've seen dodgy looking taxi dudes jumping up and down on TV, threatening to block roads and cause chaos if government dares go ahed with its plan to get a cheap and reliable bus system from Soweto up and running. And, considering previous taxi strikes, it's scary stuff because those guys are a rough, tough crowd and generally mean business when they go about stirring up the brown stuff. They swear, spit, break things, hit people, kick puppies and generally behave as though the laws of the country don't apply. Sometimes they even fire off rifles and wee in the streets. Some of them are really, really bad guys and I'm not just referring to their driving.
So now today Nomvula has put her foot down and taken a hard line. She has this fabulous way of making journalists look thick when they try and stump her with tough questions.
Journalist: Premier, have seen taxi bosses threatening violence saying they will block roads, and they have gone to court to stop your buses. What are you going to do?
Nomvula: We have our intelligence gathering processes. We know what's happening and will arrest people before they start.
Journalist: The taxi bosses say they will block off bus lanes with their vehicles. What is your plan?
Nomvula: If they abandon their vehicle in the road, we will treat it like any other rubbish left where it shouldn't be and crush it. If they come and colllect the vehicle they will have to take responsibility for the fact that blocking a national road is tantamount to sabotage.
Journalist: They are threatening violence. You are now threatening harsh action. Are you not afraid this will spiral into chaos?
Nomvula: The two parties are not even matched. They are stick-wielding drivers trying to do business. We are government, we are in charge and we have the army, the police and the Metro police. Why don't you rather ask them why they are not scared to take us on?
Good point.
Roll on Monday. Let's see what happens.

1 comment:

  1. I think the BRT is an awesome idea, and I seriously doubt the taxis are going to feel it too much- there are way too many people who need transport.