Transport subsidies must benefit the poor, not the 'better off' – Nzimande

The public transport system must be subsidised in a manner that benefits the working class and the poor, Transport minister Blade Nzimande has said.

The minister was answering questions in Parliament on Wednesday. He responded to a question from Economic Freedom Fighters MP Elsabe Ntlangwini, about what government is doing to address apartheid spatial planning through the public transport system.

"There are lots of challenges with regard to public transport," he said.

Based on apartheid spatial planning, segregation persists along racial and economic lines. Part of addressing this includes establishing mechanisms to work with the minibus taxi industry and addressing problems in the Metrorail system, Nzimande explained.

"One of the measures is to review the subsidy regime for the public transport system as a whole. The public transport subsidy still favours the better off," he said.

Nzimande drew comparisons between the money spent on the Gautrain system, versus "hardly a cent" being used to subsidise the minibus taxi industry, which carries 68% of passengers. "It requires attention, that has to be changed," he added.

Renaming of Cape Town International Airport

Ntlangwini also asked for an update on the renaming of Cape Town International Airport. Nzimande said the process was still ongoing, and recently the consultation phase was completed. There are a number of name suggestions, apart from Winnie Mandela, to consider.

Nzimande added that it was not his decision to make, and there are "proper rules and procedures" to arrive at an "appropriate name" for the airport.

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