Transport Laws Repeal Bill [B19-2010]: briefing by Minister & Department of Transport

This premium content has been made freely available


16 August 2010
Chairperson: Ms N Bhengu (ANC)
Share this page:

Meeting Summary

The Department of Transport briefed the Committee on the legislation recommended for repeal in the Transport Laws Repeal Bill as it was in the process of  ‘cleaning’ up the list of Transport Acts in the statute books. Many of the Acts were outdated any no longer in use.

The Committee made special reference to the fact that Act 21 of the National Road Safety Amendment Acts had as yet not been proclaimed even after 10 years. Disappointment was expressed that the briefing had not dealt with the content of the Sections, and a lot of information appeared to be missing.  Members asked the Department to provide objectives for the Acts to enable a better understanding of the repeal process. The Committee asked whether public participation was required for this Bill.

The Committee shared their views and opinions on the Study Tour to China with the Minister who was also planning a similar journey.

The Minister informed the Committee about the Women in Transport campaign scheduled for October 2010. Members asked what the South African Development Community required from South Africa in terms of transport, and for an explanation of the 1000 Road Blocks campaign.

Meeting report

Transport Laws Repeal Bill: Department of Transport (DoT) briefing
Mr Adam Masombuka, Acting Chief Director: Legislation, Department of Transport, briefed the Committee on the legislation recommended for repeal in the Transport Laws Repeal Bill. The Legislation for repeal was presented as they appeared in Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 of the Bill. The accompanying Briefing Document provided outlined the purpose and background of the Bill and would therefore not be repeated.

The Department had attempted to group all Acts which could be explained in a singular fashion, and therefore under the said list of legislation, provided explanations as to why they should be repealed. This legislation consisted of many cross-references, which when made in Act 1, amended certain sections in another Act. Hence it would be found that the Principal Act referred to had been amended by other legislation. It would also be found that other pieces legislation had only one particular section remaining in that particular Act listed in schedule A. The third section remaining then only dealt with a short title. The short title merely stated that this Act would be called the Transport Laws Repeal Bill. This was not law per se; it was merely the naming or labeling of the particular legislation. The substantive sections, which were law per se, had already been repealed by other pieces of legislation. When the statute books were consulted, it might have appeared that the Department of Transport had many pieces of legislation, when the majority of them were in fact out dated, were no longer in use, or only had one section that labeled or named that part of the Act. Hence the Department was in the process of cleaning up the list of Transport Acts in the statute books.

It was noted that even though the Merchant Shipping Amendment Act, 1957 (Act No. 49 of 1957) was recommended for repeal as a whole because the principal Act had been repealed by the Merchant Shipping Act 57 of 1951, the Department would prefer to defer this particular Act because it was still in the process of verifying certain matters related to it.

The Chairperson noted that Act 21 as one of the National Road Safety Amendment Acts had so far taken 10 years for proclamation, but added that this would be addressed at a different level of meeting.

The Minister of Transport, Mr Sibusiso Ndebele, was welcomed into the meeting.

Mr M De Freitas (DA) expressed disappointment that the presentation did not indicate what the content of Sections were, and just listed the Sections. In some cases good explanations were provided, for example in slide 19 of the presentation. Because there was a lot of missing information, he was nervous to agree to many of the Sections without the required knowledge, as one needed to be aware of what was being repealed.

Mr De Freitas asked whether the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises also had a role in cases where some Acts referred to Transnet.

Mr Masombuka replied that Transnet and the Passenger Rail agency of South Africa (PRASA) had been consulted about this legislation and they had confirmed that were happy with the recommendations.

Mr S Farrow (DA) said that the problem he was experiencing was the inability to relate to particular Acts. Each Act had an objective and one needed to be able to reflect on what was the intention of the Act in the beginning. He asked that the Department provide the objectives for the Acts recommended for repeal, so that the Committee could proceed with understanding; and if the Department could do some cross-checking especially in cases where de-regulation had taken place.

Mr Masombuka said that the Department would make summaries of the titles and provide the objectives of each Act.

Mr J Maake (ANC) asked if public participation was needed in this process. 

Mr Masombuka replied that there was a need for public participation. This would allow the public to point out matters that the Department might not have been aware of. This legislation would not attract much public participation as it merely dealt with the repealing of legislation, and was therefore sent to entities using this kind of legislation.

The Chairperson indicated that the Committee would be processing this Bill and had placed an advertisement for public comment.

Briefing on Report of the Study Tour to China
The Chairperson apologised for the late arrival of the draft Report. The report required comments and additions from Members before finalisation. Members were asked to take this opportunity to share their experiences of China with the Minister of Transport who was also planning to undertake a trip to China.

Given the lateness of the arrival of the Draft Report, Members requested that they be allowed to read the report after this meeting and submit their recommendations by Friday 20 August.

The Chairperson asked Members to briefly share their experiences of China with the Minister.

The Chairperson said that what was noteworthy in China was that planning happened at the national level, and all implementation at local levels was determined only by the national plans.  Rail was the core mode of transport in China because it could handle larger volumes of people, it was cheaper than other modes of transport and it could be linked to other modes of transport in the country.

Their investment in transport was not determined by issues of cost recovery, but by the social development that would result in the investment in transport. The commercial aspect was therefore determined by how the transport infrastructure would contribute in making investment in economic development possible. Transport was used as the tool for social and economic development. In China the government owned the land, while in South Africa some of the land was privately owned. In comparison with South Africa where consultation was often the driving force for implementation, in China they are given the power to govern, and implementation took place without further consultation.

Ms N Ngele (ANC) recalled that she had been impressed by the technology and skills in the country. The rehabilitation of railway lines instead of using new railway lines was an interesting discovery. An impressive feature was discovering that a woman, managed the entire process of building a train from scratch. The Chinese were positive and showed a willingness to help South Africa. 

Ms P Ngwenya-Mabila (ANC) reported that the roads in China were all in good condition, and their infrastructure was way above the standards set in South Africa.  When there was failure to comply, penalties were imposed. There was legislation on movement of trucks, which allowed for movement only at specific times of the day. An important issue was that the budget for transport was a priority. The outputs from tertiary institutions were in line with the economic needs of the country. Ms Ngwenya-Mabila found the Chinese staff and people very motivated and dedicated.

Mr De Freitas said that he was struck by how rail was prioritised as a mode of transport in China, which had a special ministry especially for this purpose. He was also impressed with the co-ordination in all tiers of government. China has never had a rail accident, and had measures in place to ensure that rolling stock was readily usable.

Mr E Lucas (ANC) said that the rolling stock in South Africa had deteriorated and the country should look at improving its infrastructure. The Chinese showed a readiness to share their technical know-how.  South Africa should consider using fibre optics instead of copper, as was used in China.

The Minister of Transport thanked the Portfolio Committee for a constructive discussion.

The Minister’s closing remarks
The Minister thanked the Committee for the opportunity provided to engage in constructive discussion. It had been of great value and such discussions should continue in future. The Minister announced that October would be Women in Transport month, and the Department had planned various initiatives in this regard, and would welcome more inputs to lead to a dialogue with the public.  The transport sector provided various employment opportunities, management responsibilities and business opportunities for women, and now even had women in road construction as contractors themselves including rail services and maintenance, bus and taxi operations, drivers and international travel. Having female taxi operators should be a continuous intervention as bus and taxi operations clearly had implications for political and gender related matters.
While some advancements had been made concerning women in management echelons in the transport sector, more work needed to be done in this regard. It was important that a programme was implemented to conduct an audit of the progress made in all transport programmes; to review the progress that the sector had made; and to support all South African women in transport. Women had to be rallied into a proper mass based organisation, capable of advancing this agenda, and supporting women in transport businesses. Key interventions had to be identified to enable this process to be fulfilled, as it included building capacity within the Department at the level of Chief Director. This level of responsibility would allow for more co-ordination of the focus of women in the transport sector. The Minister noted that in the rail sector a group of women had created a successful rail maintenance entity, from whom a number of lessons important to the sector could be learnt.

On the issue of rural roads, there was now an expanded Public Works programme, with an allocation of R3 billion for community access to roads. This programme would run over three years, with an allocation of R1 billion per year, to allow for substantive interventions especially in the area of improving access to schools. This Portfolio Committee would then be in a position to engage in forward planning for the years 2011, 2012 and 2013, to ensure that facilities such as improvements to road access, the introduction of new technologies, alternate constructions and maintenance methods, were available by the year 2013. In order to ensure the efficient use of existing resources, a monitoring and evaluation framework had been established for the road sector to allow for 10% of the R3 billion per year, to be used to kick start the programme for the next 3 years.

In the next month the Department would be launching the 1000 Road Blocks per month campaign to focus the work of enforcement agencies and public on the issue of road safety in South Africa.

On the PRASA and the Transnet stand-off, Transnet was refusing to give access to PRASA for long distance rail services, Shosholoza Meyl. The dispute was about alleged outstanding payments by PRASA, to Transnet.

The other campaign to be launched in the October month was specifically to address the low skills base in South Africa.   Business and certain tertiary Institutions had also been included in this venture with a special focus on students studying social work. In this venture the Department of Transport would be subsidising the cost of training learner drivers to increase the life skills of students studying social work.    

Ms Ngwenya-Mabila recalled that in the previous year, the Department had presented a programme for all the provinces, but implementation had not taken place in all the provinces, and on further investigation nothing had happened in some provinces. There should be monitoring to ensure that these programmes were implemented.

Mr Maake expressed an interest in what was requested by South African Development Countries (SADC) in terms of transport. He asked what SADC was requesting from South Africa.

The Minister responded that the different members of SADC were championing different aspects of development. South Africa was tasked with championing infrastructural development.

Mr Maake asked what the purpose was for the 1000 Road Blocks. 

The Minister said that the road blocks were to ensure that all the road safety features were adhered to.

The meeting was adjourned


  • We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting

Download as PDF

You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.

See detailed instructions for your browser here.

Share this page: