The Competition Commission’s inquiry into SA’s land-based transport market comes not a moment too soon, as a succession of delegates describe the parlous state of the country’s public transport system. As transport experts enumerate its obstacles, the exigencies of economic inclusion through transport become more apparent. The answers, however, may not appear as soon as the economy demands. The commission is set to sit at venues across the country until August 31. Although the hearings had barely begun by day three on Wednesday, it was already clear that the scope and complexity of the issues would go far beyond a simple review of the state of competition in the sector. Under its terms of reference, the commission will consider factors that may prevent, distort or restrict competition in the industry, focusing on pricing, regulation, planning, transformation and subsidies. Chief among the apparently intractable issues is minibus operators’ demand for a level playing field.

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