The Member of Parliament for Tonota South and the Assistant Speaker of Parliament, Pono Moatlhodi is among people caught up in the disarray at the Tonota Bus Rank.
The Sunday Standard is informed that Moatlhodi, who is also in the transport business in the village, is among the bus operators in the village who allegedly do not want to comply with the regulations of the Transport Department that prohibits buses to collect passengers in the village as that is for the local taxi operators.
He is alleged to be running a transport business under the name of Ponoris Pty Ltd.
“Our Member of Parliament does not even care about the plight of other transport business operators and taxi men, but instead he is selfish and when we address the issue in Kgotla meetings he is arrogant,” said a member of the Tonota Taxi Association.
The bus operators told The Sunday Standard that the MP at times uses government vehicles to escort his bus when it is in operation.
An incident is allegedly in which he blocked a combi from Ditladi Village, saying that it was taking his passengers and the police were summoned to intervene.
Reliable sources say the bus operators have reported the MP to the Minister of Roads Transport and Communications, Frank Ramsden, for neglecting the regulations.
However, the Public Transport Operators in Tonota point an accusing finger at the Police Officers and Transport officials for failing to enforce the law and seeing to it that those who break regulations are brought to book.
“Pono Moatlhodi is a public figure and he is the one who has always lobbied for this rank to be built but he is turning against regulations and we still wonder what type of permit his bus is using,” fumed another member.
In a telephone interview, Moatlhodi refuted all the allegations, saying they were all lies. He said he does not even run the business as it is under the management of his wife.
Moatlhodi further stated that some bus operators in the village have always been poking their noses in his family business but does not know why they have a problem with this business.
“I know the person who told you all this and if he continues to say this nonsense I will sue him in court for P1 million,” he told Sunday Standard.
Moatlhodi went on to mention that if indeed he uses government vehicles in his business interests, those who feel irritated have the right to take him to the rightful authorities such as the Department of Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) where proper measures can be taken.
Touching again on the abuse of government vehicles, Moatlhodi rubbished the allegations as a blue lie. He pointed out that he has been in the transport business since the late 80s and he has never violated any of the transport regulations and added that there are certain individuals who are bitter against his businesses.
“It is also an absolute lie that I denied a combi from Ditladi Village on the claim that it takes away my passengers; this is simply to blemish my image,” he maintained.
Reached for comment, the Station Commander of Tonota Police Station, Reuben Mphoeng, said that he has nothing much to comment about those who violate regulations as they are only enforcers of the law, but not imposers.
Efforts to get comment from transport officials in Francistown were fruitless as their phones went unanswered.