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Transport: Putco’s Gauteng monopoly exposed by Mkhwebane

The Putco bus company has been enjoying a monopoly in Gauteng for more than 20 years because its contract with the provincial Roads & Transport Department was continuously extended without a competitive bidding process taking place. This is a finding Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane made after an investigation conducted into allegations that Putco was the sole contractor doing business with the government in the province. A TimesLIVE report notes that the investigation stems from a complaint from Sam Masango, who was acting on behalf of the Moloto Corridor Concerned Residents (MCCR). MCCR complained that Putco faced no competition, restricted other service providers from entering the market and doing business with the government and enjoyed the power of setting its prices for services rendered on behalf of the government. Mkhwebane said the investigation confirmed that the original 136-week contract which was awarded to Putco in 1997 had been continuously extended. As part of her remedial action, Mkhwebane called on the head of department to provide her office with quarterly reports from meetings with the national Department of Roads & Transport, National Treasury and the Auditor-General to ensure compliance with relevant legislation on procurement processes.

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