Killing of Negotiator for Go George Integrated Public Transport Condemned
Joint Statement by Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works and Charles Standers, Mayor of George Municipality
Yesterday was a tragic day for George and for the whole of South Africa. Mr Tom Queba, a leader within the George taxi industry and the chief negotiator in the engagements with government, was shot and killed. My government unreservedly condemns this violence. There can be no circumstance in which a crime like this can be excused or accepted. Government will institute all necessary measures to ensure that justice is brought to bear on the perpetrators of this terrible crime.
Over the past eight years, government has been working with the George taxi industry and the people of George to develop a public transport system that will see George transformed.
The George Integrated Public Transport Network (GIPTN) is a flagship project for the country as a whole. It will offer the George public affordable, scheduled, safe and reliable services, contributing to improved quality of life and much better access to opportunities. Existing industry operators will be incorporated into the new system as owners of a new company called George Link.
Drivers and other people (such as “gaatjies”) affected by the implementation of the GIPTN (Go George System) will also be given an opportunity to be employees of the George Link if they so choose. Together, we have achieved great things and the Go George system is ready to be implemented. This system will bring massive investment to George, it will create jobs, it will provide affordable, high quality public transport services to the people of George, and it will provide the basis for a transformed industry.
Government has ensured that no member of the existing industry is detrimentally affected by the roll-out of Go George. Our teams have worked tirelessly to realise this joint vision, and we will see it to fruition.
The GIPTN will go ahead as planned. No act of violence or intimidation will prevent this government from fulfilling its mandate and its promise to the people of George. In this conviction, we have the support of the people of George and of the George taxi and bus industry.
We remember Mr Tom Queba for the strong, principled and committed leader that he was. Mr Queba was a visionary individual, a dedicated leader who sought the transformation of George and the greater South African public transport sector for the betterment of all.
He foresaw the benefits of the Go George system, and the promise it held for substantially improving the lives of the people of George. He also understood how the transformed system could better the circumstances and long-term prospects of his fellow operators. He negotiated fairly, and was fiercely committed to achieving an outcome to the benefit of all.
He had an important role to play in the future system and his early death is a great loss to George and indeed South Africa. Our condolences go to his family and loved ones. My department, along with George Municipality and national government, remain resolute and unwavering in our combined commitment to rolling out Go George services to the people of George, fulfilling Mr Queba’s vision and continuing his legacy.
Spokesperson for the Minister of Transport and Public Works, Donald Grant
Ministry of Transport and Public Works
Cell: 084 233 3811
Tel: 021 483 8954
Media Liaison Officer, George Municipality
Cell: 082 350 2420
Tel: 044 801 9160