Re-opening and sharing of contentious Route B97 imminent

26 September 2022
Department of Transport and Public Works

Media Release by Daylin Mitchell, Western Cape Minister of Mobility

The B97 minibus taxi route between Mbekweni in Paarl and Bellville will remain closed until further notice starting from tomorrow, Monday 26 September 2022, but I am confident that the re-opening of the route is imminent.

In July 2021, I invoked my powers in terms of section 91 of the National Land Transport Act to close the route following several incidents of violent conflict and the loss of lives.

Several peace talks and difficult discussions took place over the past year and a landmark agreement has recently been brokered on the sharing of the contentious Route B97.

The memorandum of agreement sets out how the allotted operating licences will be divided and how the respective parties will operate on the route.

In terms of the agreement, operating licences will be apportioned on an equal basis (50/50) between the two associations commensurate to the demand for services as shown in the transportation plans for the area.  Both associations have committed to stop recruiting new members in excess of passenger demand and to desist from allowing illegal operators to trade on route B97.

There are several administrative and legislative procedures that must be followed for the registration of new members and the issuing of operating licences to affiliated members. The process to issue operating licences is prescribed by law and applications must be published for public comment.

The route will remain closed until the regulatory process has been finalised.

In terms of the Transport Contingency Plan that was drawn up at the start of the closure period, Golden Arrow bus trips will remain in operation between Bellville and Paarl to transport commuters.

Extending the closure of these routes and ranks will help to maintain the relative stability that was restored to the public transport environment in the affected areas and support the process of finding lasting peace.

I have consulted with the relevant planning authorities in the affected areas, and they agree with the proposed measures and closure.

Closed Route

The following route will remain closed:

B97 (Mbekweni to Bellville and return) From taxi rank in Mbekweni, left into Mphakalasi Street, left into Ntshamba Street, left into Drommedaris Road, left into Oosbosch Street, right into Jan Van Riebeeck Road, into Huguenot Station, into Ambagsvlei Road, right into Jan Van Riebeeck Road, right into Lady Grey Street, left into Bergriver Boulevard, left into Main Road, right
into N1, along N1, left into Durban Road, and return.

The following ranks will remain closed:

Name or description of rank

Address or location of rank
Mbekweni Rank Mohajane Street, Mbekweni, Paarl
Mbekweni Rank Shoprite Midway Centre, Mbekweni, Paarl
Unofficial rank Situated in Belrail Road, Bellville
Long-distance facility in respect of Paarl Part of Bellville Public Transport Interchange to be closed

Media enquiries          
Ntomboxolo Makoba-Somdaka
Spokesperson for Minister Daylin Mitchell
Cell: 082 953 0026