Bus company, Putco announced on Thursday that it would retrench more than 200 employees, as the company faces financial constraints due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The announcement comes after Southern African luxury coach service, Greyhound announced on Wednesday that the company would cease to exist after 14 February 2021.
In a statement, Putco explained that it “regrettably” has to retrench 214 employees as the company is yet to receive some relief funds from government.
“We have been engaging with the two spheres of government together with the Southern African Bus Operators Association (SABOA), since March 2020 to request financial relief.
“We are mindful of the sluggish economy and the impact on the fiscus, however, we are not asking for new money; instead we are requesting that part of the Public Transport Operations Grant (PTOG) allocation, should be utilised for emergency relief to protect public transport.”
“Despite numerous consultations, no relief has been granted to date. This has regrettably led to the retrenchment of more than 200 Putco employees, affecting livelihoods in a country that has massive unemployment,” the bus company said.
Putco further urged government to intervene in effort to avoid the closure of the company.
“We have seen some bus companies which have been operating for many years, closing down. We urge authorities to intervene in order to curb the imminent closure of bus companies like Putco,” the company added.
Putco has a fleet of 1,400 buses that transport more than 210,000 passengers daily and the company operates in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo.
The company employs more than 3,600 employees with approximately 25,200 persons that depend on the company for their livelihood.