The Department of Transport presented an introductory overview of the structure and functions of the various branches of the Department. The preliminary presentation was to be followed up by the presentation by the Department of Transport of key concerns and issues for the Portfolio Committee’s consideration and discussion of Wednesday 24 June 2007.
The First Term Programme was adopted with the proviso that the Chairperson would present a further programme to the Portfolio Committee which would reflect the strategic direction of the Committee.
The Chairperson noted that the Director General of the Department of Transport (DOT) was also the Chair of the Infrastructure Cluster of the Technical Committee for Cabinet and their meeting clashed with the Portfolio Committee's meeting. As a result, there would be limited time for this meeting.
Overview of the Department of Transport (DOT) objectives, functions and its public entities
The Director General, Ms Mpumi Mpofu, noted that the previous Committee Chairperson had now moved to the position of Deputy Minister of Transport and that this stood the DOT in good stead for fruitful engagement. The presentation made by the DOT would introduce the DOT's mandate, objectives, structure and functions as well as outline the public entities and their responsibilities. The DOT's strategic plan and budget would not be presented for discussion at this meeting but would be scheduled for presentation and discussion on 24 June 2008. The DOT delegation introduced themselves by name and designation to the Committee.
The Chairperson noted that some questions and issues had been raised around public transport and in particular the Bus Rapid Transit system and hoped that these would be addressed in the presentation. The DG clarified that the DDG for Public Transport, Mr Mahlalela, would present that portfolio.
Ms Mpofu noted that in 2004-2005, the department had three branches which primarily covered all of the areas presented today. In 2005-2006, the DOT embarked on a restructuring exercise, which was reflective of the range of policies and programmes which were developed to expand and improve the transport portfolio. This expansion was reflected in the budget which had expanded more than five fold within the same period. The DOT has grown exponentially. However, the issue of vacant posts within the DOT reflected the expansion from three divisions to nine divisions. Although there has been continuous expansion of the DOT, the funding for the expansion of the human resources component of the DOT had been not been allocated. This has resulted in functions being required but which were not yet funded.
Ms Mpofu continued to outline the vision and mission of the DOT. The vision had been revised and developed within the last three years as the DOT's MTEF priorities developed. As the department's vision developed, it included a social development component. The importance of budget allocation for public transport was also stressed as public transport investment enabled the further development of social development goals within the DOT. Under the DOT's mission, an important component was international development. The DOT was responsible for two important international activities: international aviation and international maritime. The functions under these two areas were carried out both nationally and globally. In this regard, the DOT reported to two international organisations: United Nations International Organisation and the International Maritime Organisation. The DOT was currently deputy chairperson of the International Physic Aviation Organisation and similarly involved in the International Maritime Organisation. In view of these international responsibilities, the international mandate of South Africa was quite significant.
Recent concerns about safety in aviation were noted and these concerns had resulted in an improved regulatory environment, particulary in the sector called General Aviation (small aircraft aviation). Also, the responsibility for reducing the backlog in road and rail infrastructure was acknowledged and the fund allocation for this area had enabled the DOT to address this challenge. The challenges in road backlog would be addressed in detail in the 24 June presentation. Fund allocation was also enabling the department to upgrade rail infrastructure by means of new developments.
The structure of the DOT was explained. It was noted that there was a new appointment of a deputy minister which post was not previously held within the DOT. The structure of the office of the transport ministry was outlined and it was noted that all posts were prescribed and assigned by the Ministerial Handbook and Code. The structure of the office of the DG was also outlined.
It was noted that currently there was no one appointed to the post of DDG Communication. A candidate was available for the post but due to challenges with salary negotiations, the appointment had not yet been made. The candidate required a higher salary than was allocated for the post of DDG and the negotiations in this regard were ongoing. Mr Jock was currently managing the Communications portfolio.
Mr Farrow (DA) requested that as the presentation proceeded, that where positions had not been filled, that this be highlighted. The Chairperson interjected that questions that would be pertinent for the current presentation would be questions around clarity rather than performance. Issues around vacancies in the DOT would be dealt with under the Committee's oversight role at a later date.
Mr Rajesh Jock, Acting DDG: Communications, explained that there were two main branches within the Communications Services branch: Campaigns and Protocol and Communications. In the Campaigns and Protocol Division, the position for Chief Directorate for Campaigns and Protocol was filled but the candidate was under suspension. Communications Services was filled by an acting Chief Directorate. The DDG post was vacant. Under the Campaigns and Protocols division, all the marketing campaigns and events and functions for the DOT were managed. All stakeholder mobilisation, brand management, web management and audiovisual services for the department also managed by this division. The communications services division develops communication strategy principally around the Minister and the policies of the DOT. All internal communication such as internal publications, internal research, internal events as well as media liaison, media monitoring and inter-governmental work was also managed by this division.
Financial Management branch
Mr Collins Letsoalo, DDG: Financial Services, presented a summary of the Financial Management branch of the DOT including structures and functions of this branch. The main function of this department was the monetary management of the DOT. The non-funded position of the Directorate for Budgeting was highlighted.
Management Services branch
Mr Rajesh Jock, DDG: Management Services, presented the structure and function of the Management Function of the DOT. The Management Services branch was made up of five chief directorates. The Chief Directorate: Legal was a vacant post. The short-list of candidates for this post had been approved. The function of this post was to render corporate legal services. The Chief Directorate for Corporate Support was a filled post and the Directorate provided security and secretarial services, travel co-ordination, as well as office and facility management services. The Chief Directorate of Human Resource Management was a filled post. The vacancy rate at the financial year end 2009 was 9%. As at the end of May 2009, the vacancy rate was 6.9%. This Directorate was responsible for the recruitment, selection and human resources administration and internal and external capacity building services. This division also managed organisational and re-structuring programmes like Batho Pele as well as special programmes which related to gender, disability, youth and children. The International Relations Directorate provided a bi-lateral and multi-lateral relations service. The fifth division was the Directorate of the Chief Information Officer which provided management information systems, business systems and IT infrastructure.
Mr Farrow (DA) requested clarity about the indication in the presentation that the Chief Directorate for Security Services was not funded. The DG responded that, as indicated in her introduction, due to budget allocation restraints, particularly in the area of human resources, some required functions had not been activated as posts yet. These posts would be activated incrementally, as the budget allocation made the activation of these posts possible.
The Chairperson requested that Mr Jock unpack what he meant by "internal and external capacity building". Mr Jock responded that to meet the skills development requirements of the Department of Labour, the branch was designed to meet the need for training and development of staff. Components of the in-house training and development programs were offered to the public. Skills development programmes aimed at teaching youth how to prepare a tender document for the department were provided by this branch.
The Chairperson responded that, in her opinion, what Mr Jock referred to as external capacity building was a marketing exercise for the DOT rather than what she understood as external capacity building, which was to train and provide skills to individuals. She provided the example of a programme devised to develop skills in the unskilled youth population of rural areas where these youths were trained to be able to work repairing pot holes on roads. It was clarified that the issue would not be raised for debate but for further consideration by the DOT and discussion at a later date.
Mr De Freitas (DA) queried who provided legal services in the DOT since the post was vacant. Mr Jock replied that the director of corporate legal performed that role within the organisation.
Research Policy and Economic Regulation
Dr Jabulani Mzaliya, DDG: Research Policy and Economic Regulation, presented the structure and functions of the DOT branch of Research Policy and Economic Regulation. There were five chief directorates within the branch but some of these directorates had not been filled yet due the scarcity of the skill set required for these posts, particularly in the division of legislation. The Committee was thanked for the swift process of eight pieces of legislation which impacted significantly on this DOT branch. In the area of innovation and research, the branch was partnering with Stellenbosch Unversity and the University of Pretoria to assist with innovative research. Relationships were being built with all universities, particularly historically disadvantaged institutions (HDIs). The University of the North West fell under this category and had recently been brought into partnership with the DOT. To address the challenge of translating policy into action at municipal level, the branch had set up the National Transport Policy Co-Cordinating Commitee which facilitated communication between various the tiers of governments.
In the division of Economic Advice and Analysis, one of the primary projects was the socio-economic impact of the FIFA World Cup and the publications were ready for release to the public once they had been approved by the Executive Committee. Transport economic regulation was a new issue for the branch but the preliminary suggestion from the DOT, pending input from the Portfolio Committee, was that in this regard, there should be a single transport regulator. Also, one of the key issues for this branch was the promulgation of the Integrated Transport Charter. The DOT was relying on the Department of Trade and Industry to promulgate this and make it effective. In the interim, the branch had consulted with all other eight branches of the DOT and they were satisfied with the charter put forward by the policy branch.
Mr Farrow (DA) noted that their document only listed four chief directorships whereas Dr Mzaliya had spoken of five chief directorships. Mr Jock responded with an apology that the omission was a typographical error.
The DG clarified with regards to the issue of economic regulation. In 2005 when the National Trade Logistics Strategy was adopted by the DOT, proposals were made around the economic regulation function. The DOT was given a mandate to investigate the establishment of a single economic regulator for the transport sector. Elements of the economic regulation function were already in place, however, the branch would facilitate the bringing together of the all the elements of economic regulation under a single economic regulator. The economic regulation function was currently present in the Aviation Regulation Committee, which conducts economic regulation in aviation. The DOT was in the process of establishing a rail economic regulator and was working with Transnet, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) and other agencies. Through the National Land Transition Act (NLTA), a condition had been placed on the finalisation of the legislation for this. This condition was the establishment of an economic regulation function.
Mr Farrow thanked the DG for her clarification in regard to the economic regulator and queried the role of the port regulator. The DG responded that the port regulator had already been established. What the proposed single regulatory body for transport would provide was one central overarching regulatory facility which also regulated the economic factors of the various DOT entities. The DOT was endeavouring to develop the best practice approach to the development of this single regulatory body for transport. Areas of governance and the clear definition of roles within such a regulatory body need to be investigated to avoid recreating the errors of other similar entities. It was envisaged that this process would be finalised within the next twelve to eighteen months.
Transport Regulation branch
This branch was comprised of five chief directorships which function together to enable the regulation of all transport modes and to manage transport accidents. The regulation branch of the DOT overseas the provision of safe and internationally competitive transport. Part of this function was to investigate and manage transport accidents and incidents. The responsibility of this branch was to offer a safe, integrated, co-ordinated transport system.
Integrated Planning and Inter-Sphere Co-Ordination branch
A delegate from the DOT presented the outline of the structure and functions of this branch of in the absence of the Acting DGG, Ms Angie Nthabiseng. The branch was in the process of appointing a permanent candidate to this post. This branch was comprised of four directorships, however the FIFA World Cup 2010 Co-ordination was currently being managed by Mr Mawethu.
Of the remaining directorships, the Directorship for the division of Integrated Transport Planning had been advertised. The director for Integrated Infrastructure Network Development had been seconded to the Local Organising Committee to manage the role of transport and to represent the DOT in preparations leading up to the FIFA World Cup in 2010. Key issues for this branch include rural infrastructure development and the development of accessibility to transport in rural areas. Key responsibilities were the development and management of the integrated infrastructure network, both provincially and nationally.
Freight Logistics and Corridor Development branch
Mr Clement Manyengwane was acting as DDG. He presented the structure and functions of this branch. There were three directorships under this branch. The first, that of the Chief Directorate for National Logistics Strategy, was vacant but was currently being overseen by an acting Chief Director in this role. The main function of this division was to implement the strategies that were approved in 2005. The post for the Chief Directorship of the Eastern Corridor was filled. The post of the Chief Directorship for the Western Corridor had not been filled but was being overseen by an acting Chief Director in this division. The subordinate directorships in this branch were outlined. The main functions of this branch were the freight management development of the Eastern and Western Corridors as well as to monitor performance in these corridors.
Public Transport branch
Mr George Malehlala, Acting DDG, outlined the core functions of the branch as the provision of support to the various taxi and bus operators. The purpose of the branch was to develop practices and norms that would increase access to quality public transport as well as to facilitate the public transport service delivery. Other responsibilities of the branch included the management of the implementation of the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme as well as the management of public transport business development support. There were four chief directorships under the Public Transport branch, two of which were vacant: Chief Directorate for the Taxi Recapitalisation Project Office and the Chief Directorate for Public Transport Management. Further fund allocation would be required to expand the Chief Directorate of Business Development, which was part of the DOT’s vision for this branch.
The DG clarified that the topical BRT programme fell within this branch’s management and that this programme was only one of many intervention programmes implemented by the DOT.
FIFA World Cup portfolio
Mr Mawethu Vilana assured the Committee of the readiness of the country’s transport system in terms of the hosting of the Confederations Cup. All the operational plans had been finalised for the four host cities. Only one challenge had been noted where supporters had to be moved from one ‘park-and-ride’ to another ‘park-and-ride’ due to the popularity of the particular ‘park-and-ride’ because of its close proximity to the stadium. Generally, however, all other ‘park-and-rides’ worked smoothly.
Public Entity Oversight and Border Control branch
Dr Maria Koorts said that this branch developed appropriate mandates for the various entities under the control of the DOT and then monitored performance in light of these mandates. Some specific challenges for this branch were: the Road Accident Fund (RAF) No-Fault Policy; the CBRTA (Cross Border Road Transport Agency) in relation to border control, specifically the Free State and Lesotho border authorities; the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) particularly safety and road traffic manipulation issues; the Rail Safety Regulator (RSR) in terms of the regulation of solely rail safety issues; PRASA dealing as operator including Shosholoza Mail and Metrorail, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) which regulated aviation safety and investigates accidents; Airport Company South Africa (ACSA) concerns about security, drug trafficking, fire fighting capacity and the implication for future tariffs as a result of the development at La Merci; and Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) which managed air traffic navigation and space and the implication of the management of 10% of the world’s air space and the Ports Regulator which provided tariffs, directives and regulations to which operators like Transnet must adhere.
Ms Mpofu summarised budget considerations. In 2005/2006 the budget for the DOT was R4 billion and the growth overall in the MTEF had been in the region of 8%. The DOT had received the biggest budget increase that any government department had seen in recent times and this was attributed to strategies that were largely developed and approved in 2005/2006. General growth trends in both the budget and infrastructure were identified and based on these trends, future growth in the DOT was predicted.
The Chair thanked Ms Mpofu for the DOT’s presentation and called for one or two questions and comments, reminding members of the time constraints of the meeting.
Ms Khunou (ANC) suggested that since the DOT was large and diverse, that perhaps a workshop on the structures and functions of the various branches of the DOT be facilitated to develop a better understanding of the mechanisms of the DOT. Further, a document setting out the DOT’s action plan with target dates was requested so that the Committee could oversee this action plan and monitor the outcomes.
Mr De Freitas (DA) endorsed Ms Khunou’s suggestion for a workshop on the various branches of the DOT and their structures and functions to develop an in-depth understanding. Also the issues of accessible public transport for people with disabilities as well as the road freight of cargo by trucks were raised as important concerns for further discussion.
Mr Lucas (IFP) raised the question of public transport for people with disabilities for consideration by the DOT, especially in light of the forthcoming FIFA World Cup 2010 where the current public transport system might pose challenges of accessibility to visitors from overseas with disabilities. Also suggested for consideration by the DOT was the role of transport in drug trafficking by children.
Mr Farrow commented on the list of key achievements provided by the DOT in the presentation and noted that it was outdated and requested that the DOT provide members with an updated list of key achievements. Further information was requested on the entities as to which were struggling with significant challenges.
The Chair supported Ms Khunou’s suggestion that more in-depth knowledge of the DOT was required and that a workshop should be proposed. The committee members agreed to the proposed workshop in principal. Further, the issue of transport was acknowledged to affect not only the host cities but also other smaller and rural towns and municipalities as teams would require transportation from the base camps to the games. The relationship between transport and poor attendance at the Confederations Cup was suggested as an area for further investigation and discussion.
Ms Mpofu confirmed that all issues raised had been noted and would be addressed in more detail in the next meeting on Wednesday 24 June 2009.
A brief verbal report addressing the issues of the BRT and the taxi industry was placed on the agenda by the chair in order to address a summit held last week which in respect of the BRT and the taxi industry which was not attended by a delegation of the Portfolio Committee as they committee was not informed of this summit timeously and as result only the chairperson was able to attend. A written report on the summit would be provided at a later stage.
In discussing the Committee Programme, Mr Farrow (DA) said that there had to be a meeting on the BRT which would be a crucial factor in assessing whether the host cities were ready for the FIFA World Cup.
The Chairperson assuring the Committee that the meeting would be scheduled for this session.
Mr Farrow raised further concerns. He noted that he had been a member of the committee for a significant period of time and that the DOT had had some significant difficulties of which he felt the chairperson needed to be aware. These problems were primarily with regard to logistics for the forthcoming FIFA World Cup. The BRT was noted as only one component of these various challenges. He suggested a trip to each of the nine host city municipalities/metros be made to satisfy the Committee that the infrastructure was in fact in place and that the logistics for transporting visitors from hotels to venues was securely in place. Significant problems had been highlighted and these concerns had been documented in a letter from Mr Farrow to the previous Minister Radebe. However, this letter had, as yet, not received a reply.
A further issue raised by Mr Farrow was that the Third Parliament had closed with some significant matters still in process. The first issue was that of the National Land Transaction Act (NLTA) regulations. This had bearing on the issuing of permits for the busses which would be operating and licensed in the province and which would transport passengers around South Africa. The need to investigate the OLB and new PRE in terms of the regulations was identified and it was noted that this had not yet been resolved. A further issue which needed to be placed on the Committee Programme was the need to bring the Airport Company of South Africa (ACSA) to the Committee in order to investigate serious security issues for forthcoming FIFA World Cup. These were recent drug trafficking incidents and the challenges around the fire fighting capacity of the airports as recently outlined in the press. Also ACSA could provide clarity about La Merci airport and the consequent escalation of costs and the implications for future tariffing. Finally, a presentation was to have been made to the Committee by the South Africa Institute of Driving Instructors (SAIDI) but had not yet been made due to the scheduling constraints of the Committee. This proposed presentation was of significance as it dealt with the issue of drivers’ licensing. The importance of this issue had been outlined in a letter by Mr Farrow to the previous chairperson. Likewise, vehicle licensing and licensing and testing stations was also identified as important for inclusion on the Committee Programme. It was acknowledged that the National Land Transition Act (NLTA) addressed vehicle testing as the Act provided for inspectors to check on the roadworthiness of public transport vehicles such as busses. It was also suggested that the new Ports Regulator be asked to provide more clarity on its role and function. Although this entity had been established by the Committee, since its establishment, no feedback had been received by the Committee.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Farrow and clarified that chairing a Portfolio Committee was not a new area for her as she had chaired the Portfolio Committee on sport and recreation between 1999 and 2004 as well as the Portfolio Committee on provincial and local government between 2004 and 2005. She said that all the items raised by Mr Farrow were significant and required attention. However, the style adopted by the Chairperson would not be characterised by a 'fire-fighting' approach. A more strategic approach would be preferred where a broader vision would be taken, encompassing individual issues within a more strategic framework. The Committee would attend to issues informed by the Committee's strategy rather than the interests of individual stake-holders. Norms and standards would be adhered to in that the briefing regarding matters concerning the Committee would be attended to between the former Chairperson and the current Chairperson of the Committee. Further, the current Chairperson would be briefed by the Minister concerning the strategy to be adopted by the Portfolio Committee. The Chairperson and Committee would be briefed by the Director General on the plan of action for the strategic approach to be adopted and as outlined by the Minister. The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee would develop a plan of action for the Committee and bring it to the Committee once the contributions of the previous Chairperson, the Minister and the DOT had been taken into consideration. The most important focus of the Committee at present would be to develop a plan of action that addresses the budget and that also addressed the significant issue of the BRT.
After recess, the finalised programme developed by the Chairperson would be presented to the Committee. Once the programme had been presented to the Committee, gaps identified by the Committee members could be addressed. It was confirmed that the current Chairperson had already been briefed by the past Chairperson of the Committee. The Chairperson confirmed that she had already developed a broader perspective of overarching issues impacting on the transformation of transport within South Africa and that she was in the position to have a detailed perspective of the key issues and deeper processes of the work of the Committee. It was suggested that unless the members identified oversights in the broader approach set out by the Chairperson, that the matter be closed.
Mr Farrow (DA) responded that he was satisfied with the approach that had been outlined and that he was unaware that the Chairperson had already been briefed by the previous Chairperson. He added that a key role of Committee was the role of oversight and that if issues were identified as requiring urgent attention, that the Committee would benefit from flexibility as required.
Ms Khunou (ANC) supported the Chair's approach and strategy of programme development and also noted that oversight was a key focus of the Committee. She re-iterated that the role of oversight was not a ‘witch-hunt’ but rather to ensure the successful preparation for the FIFA World Cup in which the DOT played a key role. Oversight at the various municipalities specifically involved in the FIFA Word Cup remained a priority for the Committee and that perhaps a visit to these municipalities could be undertaken before the recess.
Mr Lucas (IFP) acknowledged that having a clear understanding of the Chairperson’s approach to strategy-building for the Committee was helpful. He acknowledged the Chairperson's openness to Committee member's suggestions. Mr Lucas emphasised the importance of the taxi industry and the BRT and he suggested that this issue needed to be addressed in great detail in order to ensure the success of the FIFA World Cup.
Ms Ngwenya-Mabile (ANC) requested that the Committee consider the programmes that were originally presented and approve them, making note of the various member's concerns and issues. When the second programme was presented, amendments and additions could then be made to the programme.
The Chairperson agreed with Ms Ngwenya-Mabile's (ANC) suggestion, noting that the Committee needed to alllow for new members to become familiar with the work and primary issues of the Committee. It was agreed that once the second programme had been presented and received by the Committee, members would have ample opportunity to raise concerns and move for amendments and additions. The importance of the issues of oversight and FIFA World Cup preparation and readiness was acknowledged. The issue of transport preparation and readiness for the FIFA World Cup was not only in relation to the nine host cities but also in regard to the transportation from the base camps where visitors would be staying to the games. The Committee was called upon to adopt the Committee’s first ten programmes.
Mr Farrow (DA) moved to adopt the Committee's first ten programmes and Mr Lucas seconded the motion.
The meeting was adjourned.
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