On Thursday morning, Putco, a transport company in Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo, suspended its services, leaving over 230,000 commuters to find alternative transportation. SABC News reports that the company cited the government’s failure to pay the company’s subsidy, leading to a diesel shortage, as one of the reasons for the suspension of services.
However, the Gauteng Roads and Transport Department says it will only begin paying its service providers on Monday next week, causing the delay in payment. Lesiba Mpya, a spokesperson for the Department of Roads, confirmed that the national government had processed the income, and the money owed to operators would arrive on Monday 8th.
Putco spokesperson, Lindokuhle Xulu, said they would have preferred an earlier payment to avoid inconveniencing commuters. The company cannot buy diesel for its buses because it has yet received its March subsidy from the Gauteng Roads and Transport Department. They hope they and government find a solution urgently, and the engagement with the government will lead to a solution before Monday.
Unfortunately, Putco buses and companies operating under the company cannot work, and 230,000 commuters will be without transport. The reality is that many commuters will be affected because they operate using the same suppliers.