The North West Department of Transport has approached the courts to terminate the appointment of a business rescue practitioner for the North West Transport Investment Group (NTI).
The parastatal is solely owned by the North West Government and is the primary source of bus transport in the province, however, it has been plagued by financial problems for years, which led to a business rescue practitioner being appointed last year.
The North West Transport Investment group plays an important role in providing affordable bus transport to commuters in the province and neighbouring Gauteng. Their finances have however been in shambles for many years. They have failed to submit annual financial statements and also did not pay their fees for permits and licenses.
A business rescue practitioner was appointed in July last year. However, Mmoloki Cwaile, the chairperson of the legislature’s portfolio committee on transport management, claims that the business rescue practitioner has made no progress since his appointment other than threatening to liquidate the NTI Group.
Cwaile says they have noted the continued poor performance of the NTI.
“It also noted the consolidated financial performance for the NTI, North West Transport Investment Group that is suffering a recorded loss of about R74.6 million, with a negative variance of R100 million, and their intention to auction the busses which are critical assets of the NTI.
Cwaile goes on to say that they have taken a decision to lay criminal charges against those involved in the illegal appointment of the business rescue practitioner.
The decision was not made by the executive council as per procedure but by officials who did not have the authority nor accounting authority powers. The continued stay of the business rescue practitioner is also irregular and adds no value to the need to turn around the NTI group.
The South African Trade and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) says it is not enough for the business rescue practitioner to be removed. The head of communications for SATAWU, Amanda Tshemese, says they want the MEC of Transport Management, Sello Lehari, whose department is responsible for the affairs of North West Transport Investment, to be fired.
“The MEC of Transport Mr Lehari must follow him he needs to go as well. He is useless, and the entity becomes worse under his leadership, in fact, it has collapsed. Our members and workers are not getting paid their salaries in that entity what is he doing in that office, why is he still there when he is being paid for nothing,”
The North West Department of Transport Management has confirmed that a decision was taken to terminate the services of the business rescue practitioner as he failed to perform in line with his term of reference. They indicated that they cannot comment any further as the matter is currently sub-Judice.