Meeting SummaryThe Committee received a briefing from the Department of Transport on the Bus Rapid Transit System. It also received oral submissions from the South African National Taxi Council, the National Taxi Alliance and, by means an audio and video telecommunications link with
The Department believed it possible to transform public transport with a ‘win-win’ outcome for all parties, including the taxi industry which was integral to the Department’s plans.
The Department emphasised that Government was committed to address the taxi industry’s concerns on such matters as the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme, the National Land Transport Act, and operating licence conversions. The Department was currently holding discussions with the National Treasury on subsidies for the taxi industry.
There would be integrated rapid public transport networks in six metropolitan cities:
Integrated rapid public transport networks included rail priority corridors and Bus Rapid Transit networks. The advantage of Bus Rapid Transit systems was that they could be planned and built within a 24-month period, while rail systems required well over five years in total development time.
The Bus Rapid Transit system sought to be user-friendly, fast, frequent and safe, and accommodating to passengers using wheelchairs, or with visual, hearing and intellectual impairments, children, the elderly, and tourists and secure, and fully linked to existing rail, bus and taxi services, and to bicycle and pedestrian networks.
A fast, frequent and guaranteed service would operate between 16 to 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with 3 to 5 minutes service interval during peak periods and 15 to 30 minutes during the off-peak period. Pre-paid electronic smart card tickets would allow passengers to make free transfers between routes in the network. There would be faster journey times with dedicated lanes to bypass traffic. By 2020 no city resident would have to walk more than one kilometre to a station.
Excellence in public transport was vital since the National Household Travel Survey conducted in 2003 had indicated that public transport and walking were the ‘lifeline modes’ for 80% of
The history of the national consultation process was summarised. There was a realisation this consultative process has not been as inclusive as it should have been. The commuters wanted to be part of the consultative process.
A Member asked why city representatives were not present. The Chairperson explained that they would be invited, by resolution of the Committee, to participate in a future meeting. Another Member was concerned lest World Cup 2010 deadlines be missed, noted that some cities had not started construction, and that it would be necessary to include FIFA representatives. The Department was confident, on the basis of Confederations Cup experience, that targets would be met. Members asked why members of the National Joint Working Group were not present and about the group’s composition. The Chairperson explained that the group would report via the Department in due course. Members asked why taxi drivers and commuters attitudes were negative and oppositional; the Committee wanted to see mutual respect and, for that reason, saw civil society as part of the consultation process. A Member, likening taxi operators to subsistence farmers, asked about the benefits to the taxi operators and how the government would assist them to participate in the project. Other Members’ concerns included taxi drivers having to work 'ungodly hours', ownership of the buses, the nature of the operating company, its benefits for the commuters, the affordability of the Bus Rapid Transit System, and fears that the taxi industry would fail to benefit in the project's entire value chain. The view was expressed that broad based black economic empowerment must be linked to cooperative strategy rather than to the capitalist system. Conflict management, in which one chose the most difficult route of finding the root causes rather than merely the indicators, was commended, from the personal experience of the Chairperson, as an appropriate way to approach the problems.
The South African National Taxi Council asserted that it was wrong to allege that the taxi industry opposed the BRT; however, the taxi industry was dismayed that it had not been consulted. With regard to the interested parties, their ownership differed; the one party was subsidised, the other was not. The taxi industry did want to be asked to join the BRT as an afterthought, but from the start, and participate equitably in ownership. Rather than be preoccupied with training the taxi drivers, there should be a focus on re-educating members of the South African public.
The National Taxi Alliance said that there remained too many unanswered questions on the ownership of the buses.
The South African Commuters’ Organisation supported the recapitalisation process but also the BRT; it questioned the easy granting of approval for the Gautrain, while would not reach the homes and pockets of ordinary South African people. The organisation wanted more money allocated to rail; buses must be feeders to trains. The rural areas had not been taken into account. It stated that the South African National Taxi Council had never consulted this organisation. It believed that the taxi industry, not the Government, must take responsibility for training its own employees. It wanted a smart card that integrated all three groups of transport users. The organisation envisaged reducing congestion by largely replacing private car journeys by use of public transport.
The Department responded to the South African Commuters’ Organisation’s concerns on taxi driver training, saying that it had made progress with this. It acknowledged that the consultation process had been ineffective and that it would have been better to hold an intensive consultation process rather than hold conferences and workshops. The Department saw the role of the National Joint Working Group as critical to afford opportunity for proper engagement. The Department had held prior consultations with the labour movement. It referred to funding and projects subsequent to the discussions held in 2007 on non-motorised transport - a programme including facilities for pedestrians, cyclists, and donkey carts was being implemented. The Department specially mentioned
The Committee noted the achievements of the taxi industry in providing transport to the poor where none existed before. Also, the taxi industry contributed to the sustainability of commercial industry by bringing people to work, buying petrol, tyres, vehicles and spare parts, and payment of insurance fees. At the same time as it contributed thereby, it had no share in the ownership of the suppliers. The Committee appealed to the Department to mobilise other departments to enable the taxis to become viable and assist in developing the second economy.
The Chairperson proposed deferring a briefing on the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme (TRP) in order to focus on the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT). The revised agenda was adopted.
Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT)
The Chairperson welcomed Ms Mpumi Mpofu, the Director-General of the Department of Transport (DoT), Ms Khibi Mamama; the Chief Director for Public Transport Strategy, Mr AJ Mthembu, the President of the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO), Mr Philip Taaibosch, the Secretary-General of SANTACO, and Mr S Sangweni, President of the South African Commuters’ Organisation. Mr Sangweni and other representatives of civil society participated via a video and audio telecommunications link with
All present, including those observing and participating from
Department of Transport slide presentation
Ms Mpofu summarised strategic decisions on the BRT. President Zuma in his State of the Nation Address and the Minister of Transport in the Budget vote had both announced the holding of the meeting between Government and the taxi industry on 11 June 2009. The meeting was to begin a series of engagements with the stakeholders affected by the BRT system, in particular the taxi Industry and how it would benefit from the initiative. The Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Transport at the Budget Vote for transport had highlighted the need to engage other stakeholders such as civil society. Government was accountable to both business and to civil society.
The 11 June 2009 meeting was attended by national, provincial and local government, and about 1 200 delegates from national, provincial and local levels of the taxi industry. The Government had proposed a National Joint Working Group, which had held its first meeting on 30 July 2009. The meeting had established a process which would be finalised through a memorandum of agreement. In response to the identified need to consult and engage with civil society, Government had consulted with organised labour at a national level; broader consultation at local level was still to follow. There would be consultation with the users / passengers through national structures such as SA National Civic Organisation (SANCO). The first interim report was to be presented to Minister in August 2009.
The Government was committed to work with the taxi industry on a speedy and ongoing basis to address other industry concerns such as the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme (TRP), the National Land Transport Act (NLTA), and Operating Licence (OLs) conversions.
With regard to the Taxi Recapitalisation, Cabinet had on 04 February 2009 approved the following: the Regulatory Framework for consultation with various stakeholders; the TRP Policy as a blue print programme; the TRP funding strategy, noting that scrapping would continue in line with the MTEF allocations and not a restrictive time frame; a CPI linked increase in the scrapping allowance; discussion currently being held with National Treasury on Taxi industry subsidisation; and phase 1of the strategy for lifting of moratorium
Turnaround Strategy for Operating Licensing Boards (OLBs).
Ms Mpofu explained the objectives of the National Land Transport Act (NLTA), and the life span of operating licences. The Department would propose amendments. The Act would outline new institutional arrangements across the spheres of government, and introduce the need for the establishment of the National Transport Regulator.
Ms Mpofu said that the Department continued to face challenges to implementation because of lack of human and financial resources. Government programmes and initiatives were not taking off fast enough as a result of lack of capacity to implement programmes. The Department approved an expansion of its establishment from three branches to nine branches but allowed to implement the increase only on a progressive basis over several years. To date only about 50% of the funding had been allocated for additional posts; this remained critical to enable the Department to fulfil its mandate and maximise integration of public transport and other transport modes, for example, civil aviation, an industry that had witnessed the arrival of ‘affordable airlines' conveying passengers of modest means and lacking private cars: therefore airports needed public transport facilities. The Department urgently required the balance of its funding.
Ms Khibi Mamama as Chief Director for Public Transport Strategy in the Department delivered the remainder of the presentation. Citizens and users were looking to Government and the public transport industry to provide changes that improved their daily lives. It was possible – despite current challenges - for government, public users and the industry to achieve a public transport transformation strategy that delivered a ‘win-win’ situation for all parties. She said that currently
Congestion was a serious problem. The current reality was increasing congestion in metro cities because of the ‘car-use captivity’ of the affluent minority. The first objective of young graduates when they obtained jobs, Ms Mamama explained, was to buy a car; this only added to congestion. Low density land use for the wealthy along freeways - lead to inefficient use of road space. Public transport was ‘stuck in traffic’ – contrary to the 1998 vision of a rapid transit service with road space priority. The National Household Travel Survey conducted in 2003 study had indicated that public transport and walking were the ‘lifeline modes’ for 80% of
38 million citizens lived in households with no access to a car; 40 million citizens did not have a driver’s licence; 14 million learners walked to school; 7 million workers and learners used public transport, versus 4.5 million who used a car; and 13.7 million used public transport at least once a week, while 7 million used a car.
Public transport and walking (combined) were used by over 70 to 90% of all households to access most services and facilities. Public transport itself accounted for: 64% of households took public transport to a shop, 39% to reach a medical service, 41% to visit a post office, 56% to visit a welfare office, 48% to reach a police station, and 47% to get to a municipal office.
The National Household Travel Survey (2003) showed that: current users were very unhappy with public transport service quality. 67% of taxi users are dissatisfied with safety (including 78% of metropolitan taxi users); 64% were dissatisfied with facilities at ranks and 60% with the roadworthiness of taxis; 71% of train users were frustrated by overcrowding, 63% were fearful about security on trains, and 60% found the journey between home and the station too long; 74% of bus users were unhappy with the facilities at stops (e.g., shelters) - this figure rose to 82% of rural bus users; 54% were dissatisfied with overcrowding on buses and 51% with off-peak frequencies of service.
Government was firm on the need for affordable mobility for all, by reducing traffic congestion to enhance the quality of life of citizens – so that they spent less time travelling and more with their families. It was vital to offer high quality services to retain current users and attract car users.
Cabinet had approved a Public Transport Strategy and Action Plan in March 2007, calling for the phased introduction of Integrated Rapid Public Transport Networks (IRPTNs) in up to 12 major cities and 6 rural districts by 2014: Phase 1: Accelerated Recovery & Catalytic Projects (2007–2010); Phase 2: Promote & Deliver Basic Networks (2010–2014); and Phase 3: Advance & Sustain Accessible Networks (2014–2020). The concept of an integrated network was introduced along with BRT systems as one component of the network.
There would be integrated PT Rapid Networks in six metropolitan cities:
Six district municipalities would benefit from such networks: Sekhukhune (Limpopo); OR Tambo (
With regard to integrated public transport, the Department was emphatic that the challenge was to include the taxi industry.
IRPTNs included rail priority corridors and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) networks. The advantage of BRT systems was that they could be planned and built within a 24-month period, while rail systems required well over five years in total development time. BRT imitated rail systems by running buses on exclusive lanes. Buses docked at secure enclosed stations. This implied regulated systems under the control of municipal regulatory entities. Rail corridors and BRT served as the trunk services in IRPTNs. Rail and bus trunk services were both served by common feeder services in integrated systems. Ideally, trains, BRT trunks and feeders had a common electronic fare collection system.
The map on page 21 illustrated the different modes of transport - rail, BRT, as well as feeder services working together in an integrated network.
The photographs on page 22 illustrated the special features of the BRT, notably stations where passengers could wait in enclosed shelters and pay their fares prior to boarding buses without having to climb up steps, facilities for wheelchair users such as a flip down ramp and multiple doors to enter and alight from buses; page 22 also showed photographs of the spacious, long articulated buses with a distinctive image. Photographs indicated the buses travelling in dedicated lanes at the centre of the main carriageway, with passing lanes at stations, which would also be at the centre of the main carriageway.
As illustrated on page 23, major features of the BRT would be ease of access to the system, well lit stations, an aesthetically pleasing environment, and integration with bicycles and taxis; there would also be integration with metered taxi and long distance services. Page 24 emphasised ‘system professionalism and cleanliness’, with uniformed security staff and clear signage.
The challenges lay in three areas; to be user friendly; to be frequent; and to be safe and secure.
There was to be full access for people using wheelchairs, those with visual, hearing, and intellectual impairments, children, the elderly and tourists; there would be well-trained and friendly drivers and staff; comfortable seats in buses, route maps and a public address system.
There would be security guards and CCTV cameras at the stations and in the vehicles, with high safety levels and all vehicles monitored by a control centre.
A fast, frequent and guaranteed service would operate between 16 to 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with 3 to 5 minutes service interval during peak periods and 15 to 30 minutes during the off-peak period. Pre-paid electronic smart card tickets would allow a passenger to make free transfers between routes in the network. There would be faster journey times with dedicated lanes to bypass traffic. By 2020 all city residents would not have to walk more than 1km to a station.
In the short-term
The National consultation process had begun with the Department of Transport (DoT) Transport Indaba (October 2006) which proposed the PT Strategy including BRT. The 2007 State of the Nation Address and budget speeches of the Ministers of Transport and Finance had referred to the BRT
In June 2008 SANTACO’s Secretary-General and the DoT had agreed to a workshop on BRT.
In October 2008 the DoT’s Road-based Transport Summit recommended a workshop with SANTACO and NTA on BRT. This workshop was held in November 2008.
In December 2008 a summit with the taxi industry was held on BRT.
Also in December 2008 the Minister met SANTACO and supplied a Draft National Framework on ‘Inclusion of Taxi Operators and Labour into BRT systems and other IRPTNs’.
Negotiations continued from January to April 2009 culminating in a pre-election meeting with the ANC president who promised further consultation.
From January to March 2009 there were provincial consultative road shows by SANTACO amongst its members.
In March 2009 there had been industrial action by the United Taxi Alliance Forum (U.T.A.F.).
On 09 April 2009 a consultative meeting took place between U.T.A.F. and Government (DoT, City of
Ms Mpofu said that the Department conceded that it may not have been the best method of consultation considering the nature of the industry and the stakeholders; since April 2009 the Department had ‘re-engineered' the consultation process to streamline it and realign it. The Department was hopeful that this new process would be consolidated in one, whereas previously there had been different processes.
The Chairperson acknowledged the Department's more inclusive approach to consultation that it had recently adopted. The Committee shared this view and emphasised the importance of being as inclusive as possible. It was important that, whilst the Committee was sitting with the Department at national level, there should be similar engagements at local and provincial levels involving civil society and the taxi industry. Government services were aimed at improving the conditions of the public at large. The matters under discussion were not all about the taxi industry, but rather about the consumers of transport services. Therefore the Committee had brought all these parties together, including those in
Mr S Farrow (DA) agreed that all stakeholders should be present, but he noted that no representatives of the four cities discussed were present, and wanted to know why. He said that the routes for the BRT crossed the boundaries of ratepayers, and wanted to know the implications for them. He said that there had been no reference to Gautrain in the bid book for the FIFA World Cup. He asked about the status of the BRT vis-à-vis the bid book.
The Chairperson replied that that she herself had identified the stakeholders who were invited to be present. She pointed out that it was not the first and the last meeting. It was necessary first to resolve the issues of who else the Committee would want to be part of the discussions. In the constitution there was a provision that a portfolio committee could summon anyone to account to it, but one had to be careful in regard to local government, since local government was not directly accountable to a portfolio committee; it would be possible to invite local government as per a resolution of the Committee, and the Chairperson thought that was the best way; she stressed that the Committee was not excluding local government.
Mr Farrow said that the previous Transport portfolio committee had conducted oversight visits. There was a constitutional imperative to be co-operative; it was necessary to know of local government’s progress. To hear reports from local government did not necessarily constitute oversight.
The Chairperson said that, while it was necessary to say that it was the previous committee that had conducted the oversight visits mentioned by Mr Farrow, and to explain the rationale, she and Mr Farrow were virtually in agreement.
Mr M de Freitas (DA) said that participation was important; he was happy that representatives of commuters were present as well. The recent developments in negotiations with the taxi industry concerned him. It was important that there be no delays, especially with regard to the World Cup of 2010. It was imperative to meet those deadlines. He had the impression that there were delays. He asked for a detailed presentation that included information that showed that the proposed facilitates would accommodate passengers confined to wheelchairs and those who were blind or deaf. It was essential to ensure that any person with impairment could move around freely and intermodally and that they were being consulted. He himself had been confined to a wheelchair for a year and could therefore speak from experience. He noted that some of the cities had not started construction. It would be necessary to include representatives from FIFA and others concerned.
Ms Mpofu responded that the Department was not aware of any delay. Even if the Department changed its mind with regard to modes of transport, it could still meet its targets. The Department was not bound by modes but by meeting targets of moving people by one mode or another between games. In that context there were guidelines on travel times, which had a bearing on the choice of mode of transport. The methods and modes were not fixed with regards to FIFA. She reported on success with the Confederations Cup in which the taxi industry had provided critical services. The Department had, however, faced challenges with signage at stadia which FIFA had earlier refused; this insufficiency of signage had caused delays on departure from stadia. The delivery of spectators to stadia was punctual.
The Chairperson said that she wanted to eliminate questions to which answers could be found in the presentation. She referred in particular to pages 22 and 27 that indicated benefits to people with physical challenges.
Mr P Poho (Cope) asked if there were any members of the National Joint Working Group present. He asked if the Department was discussing methods of issuing tickets with the stakeholders.
Ms Mpofu said that to allow for an environment conducive to negotiations, she asked Members to allow the Department to refrain from discussing at this time matters that were under discussion in the National Joint Working Group. She preferred to defer them for obvious reasons. This was a request, not an omission.
The Chairperson said that the Committee had not intended to engage with the National Joint Working Group. The Committee had identified gaps. It had wanted the Department to give a progress report. It had invited the people that were part of the process and not part of the process.
Ms N Khunou (ANC) asked what it was exactly that the Committee needed to talk about. As for the training programme for taxi drivers, its benefits were not apparent; there were still 'rude' taxi drivers to be found; moreover, taxi drivers were working 'ungodly hours' and this maybe affected their friendliness. It was the commuters who really needed taxi transport; she asked if the Department had consulted them.
The Chairperson said that she sometimes simplified questions for the benefit of presenters. Ms Khunou's question addressed training and lack of change in drivers' and conductors' behaviour. It had to be asked why the taxi driver did not see the commuter as the source of his revenue; it also had to be asked why the commuter's attitude was negative. It had to be asked why 'we don't respect each other'; that is why the Committee wanted to see civil society as part of the consultation process. Part of the solution was the engagement that went beyond the BRT. It had to be asked if the service providers did not have an effective training programme.
Ms Mpofu responded on the issue of training. The Department had noted this for the Transport Education and Training Authority. The Department had made inroads on retraining drivers. It had a taxi driver of the year award. It measured the impact of that award more successfully. The service providers who provided the training had reached the stage when they should be evaluated.
Ms P Ngwenya-Mabila (ANC) asked about the composition of the National Joint Working Group and if it included representatives of the commuters; also she asked, with regard to the documents, about the challenges of the pedestrian and cycle ways. She asked about plans to ensure that the proposed walkways would materialise.
Ms Mpofu replied that the Department agreed on the expanded composition of role of commuters in the process; she referred to funding and projects subsequent to the discussions held in 2007 on non-motorised transport, a programme including walkways, bicycles, donkey carts, and safety that was being implemented; she also advised Members of the rural mobility strategy to improve access in rural areas. She emphasised the interconnections between walkways and public transport, and the 2010 plans for precincts, fan parks and public viewing sites for host cities. She gave special mention to
Ms Ngwenya-Mabila also asked about the benefit to the taxi operators and how the government would assist them to participate in the project. She likened taxi operators to subsistence farmers. She asked Ms Mpofu to explain the nature of the operating company, and its benefits for the commuters. She said that Ms Mpofu had not said anything about the affordability of the BRT.
Ms Mpofu said that the affordability of the BRT was not a deliberate omission; however, the issues in orders of priority did not include affordability, but others, including disability issues. Train fares had been capped at a level for along time. The taxi industry has excelled in keeping taxi fares affordable despite petrol price increases. The Department strove to maintain affordability in the BRT, but in
The Chairperson, asking about the fourth phase of the plan, said that the Committee was concerned lest the taxi industry fail to benefit in the project's entire value chain. The Committee's understanding was that broad based black economic empowerment was linked to cooperative strategy rather than to the capitalist system. She asked who owned the buses.
Ms Mpofu said that the Department would in 2010 inform the Committee about the results of the review of the travel survey, which had been very comprehensive, and from which the Department had extracted elements for the purpose of this presentation. The Department would like to talk to the Committee about its review of the survey, since the review was intended to be the basis for transport policy.
Ms Mpofu acknowledged that the consultation process had been ineffective and that the Department would have done better to hold an intensive consultation process rather than conferences and workshops. The Department acknowledged that the lack of synergy, because of the two levels of government and how they operated, had been a problem, and that it saw the role of the National Joint Working Group as critical, while affording opportunity for proper engagement. She said that the Department had had prior consultation with the labour movement.
Ms Mpofu spoke about the final resolution of the taxi subsidisation. There should be uniformity in the administration of subsidies across modes of transport, so therefore the Department was holding discussions with the National Treasury in order to maintain affordable levels as the Department progressed with its policy.
Ms Mpofu said that the Department was guided by the black economic empowerment charter. It was important to establish first world standards for the BRT system.
South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) oral submission
Mr Philip Taaibosch, Secretary General, SANTACO, said that the taxi industry was embracing change; his organisation was concerned about what the government termed recognised government structures. In 2001 there was a proposed unification of the taxi industry. Then there was a reversal; then it was resurrected. It became implausible to sit in a meeting where one was equated to a grouping or a non-democratic process. His organisation wanted to be updated.
The Chairperson said that, as reflected in the Committee’s programme, she had not invited the National Taxi Alliance. However, we cannot shut the door’.
Mr Taaibosch said that the government needed to decide who constituted the legitimate structure and to inform the taxi industry.
Mr AJ Jabulani Mthembu, President, SANTACO, said that he applauded the Department, and that there was no pressure on the industry on account of the 2010 World Cup. To imply that there was pressure was not a good basis for negotiation. He wished that the view of the national Department was shared by the local and provincial government sectors. The interaction had started at a lower level. With that basis in mind, as the Secretary-General has said, innovation and change was a business decision not to be taken at the expense of growing one’s business. Therefore, when deciding whether to use the trains or the buses one had to first check the profitability of the respective modes of transport. It was incorrect to say that the taxi industry opposed the BRT; however, the taxi industry was dismayed that it had not been consulted. There remained much to be discussed on that subject, and matters to be examined. Those discussions would be entered into in the National Joint Working Group. He said that the commuters needed to be accommodated in a better way. The Secretary-General had spoken about an integration of structures. However, with regard to the interested parties, their ownership differed; and one was subsidised, the other was not. His organisation felt that there was not a crisis; it was rather a situation that was developing. That which had been started did not work. If the taxi industry was to join the Government in its own problem as a fait accompli, there would indeed be a problem amounting to malpractice. The taxi industry could not continue in that vein and wanted to see negotiations in good faith. The taxi industry did not need black economic empowerment because the industry had already achieved that. All that the taxi industry was asking was that it participate ‘on a clean slate’. The taxi industry did not ‘want to be roped into’ something that was a fait accompli with buses already bought and owned. His organisation supported the initiative taken in this matter. He said that there was no need to train taxi drivers; on the contrary there was a need to train members of the South African public.
He appealed that participants not to move to fast to point the finger; unfortunately, as the Chairperson had already indicated, it was not the amount of information, but what was left after that. There were misconceptions about owners and drivers. It was necessary to work together and get away from this stigma. The sooner all concerned worked as a collective, the better. The training of drivers was in progress, but it actually began at community level. As his organisation interacted in the National Joint Working Group, it could equally understand the timing and that there was no duress with regard to 2010. He thanked the Committee for the opportunity to participate.
Mr Sicelo Mabaso, President of the National Taxi Alliance (NTA) said that he would not explain in detail why his organisation was present. He said that it was necessary members of the taxi industry ‘to change’. His organisation would remain and it was committed to serve the people of
South African Commuters’ Organisation (SACO) oral submission
From Gauteng Mr Stephen Sangweni, the President of SACO, said that his organisation was concerned that it lacked the documents in possession of
Mr Sangweni said that his organisation had been wondering why the process had been taking so long. He expressed his deepest thanks to the Committee for inviting his organisation. His organisation supported an improved public transport system, but would not dwell on elaborating what public transport system meant to the society, beyond saying that it would reduce the congestion in South Africa’s cities; he said that in the future one would not expect to see private cars on the road; you would not see a single person driving alone in a car to town.
The Chairperson, beginning her concluding remarks, said that there was, however, a realisation that the consultative process has not been as inclusive as it should have been. The commuters wanted to be part of the consultative process. There was a need for to review the restructuring of the taxi industry. She said that she had extensive experience in conflict management, in which one chose the most difficult route of finding the root causes rather than merely the indicators. The Committee wanted to see a unified structure in
It was agreed that the consultative process needed to be reviewed.
The representation of the National Joint Working Group, if it included only the representatives of the taxis and the Department, would not be inclusive. Civil society should be included. In this meeting it was proposed that organisations representing persons with disabilities should be included. The Committee needed to hold a meeting in September on state of readiness for 2010. The Committee also agreed on the Joint Working Group as the group that would process all issues. The national working group would have to find a way of reporting back to the Committee, via the Department, since it was the Department that reported to the Committee.
The Chairperson said that Members had indicated that they would like the four cities to share with the Committee their experiences of transformation of public transport. The Committee would invite them to send representatives as a follow up.
The Committee had also considered the national household travel survey and had seen that the intergovernmental regulatory framework related to the negative aspects highlighted in the survey, which had indicated a high level of public transport use not only for travel to work but even to visit public facilities such as the local police station, which in terms of their location were anything but local and related to the problematic patterns of settlements in the country. In the age of apartheid, the regime had deliberated facilities far from where people lived. It was therefore necessary to work together with the Departments of Human Settlements and Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs. If shops were closer to where people lived, then there would be less pressure on transport facilities.
The Chairperson noted that the Committee had observed that it had heard ‘only the negative things about the taxis’. The Chairperson herself had used taxis in
The Committee appealed to the Department to mobilise other departments to enable the taxis to become viable and assist in developing the second economy. The Committee did not object to the BRT but called for black economic empowerment.
The Government alone could not transform public transport. The most relevant approach was 'doing with the people, not for the people'. The best way to arrive at a solution was to develop solutions with them. The Committee was pleased with the progress that has been made; with what the Minister was doing because he was doing what he said in his budget speech; and pleased that those concerned were 'defusing the tension'. She asked the Department to report in due course on the issues that had been raised by the different parties in the National Joint Working Group. That was what the Committee awaited and looked forward to.
Consideration and adoption of minutes
The minutes of the 01 July 2009 meeting were adopted.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Transport, (National Assembly), [Consideration and Adoption of Minutes; Briefing on Taxi Recapitalisation and Bus Rapid Transit
- Transport:Consideration and Adoption of Minutes; Briefing on Taxi Recapitalisation and Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT)
- Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT): briefing & submissions
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