A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.
Meeting reportTRANSPORT PORTFOLIO COMMITTE
27 February 2002
AIRPORTS COMPANY OF SOUTH AFRICA ON SAFETY AT SOUTH AFRICAN AIRPORTS: BRIEFING; NATIONAL RAILWAY SAFETY REGULATOR BILL PUBLIC HEARINGS
Chairperson: Mr J P Cronin (ANC)
FEDUSA Submission (see Appendix 1)
Rail Commuters Action Group Presentation (see Appendix 2)
Airline Pilots Association South Africa Presentation (see Appendix 3)
Airport Company South Africa Presentation
Presentations were conducted by the Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA),
Rail Commuters Action Group (RCAG), Airport Company South Africa (ACSA) and the
Airline Pilots Association South Africa (ALPA). The following concerns were raised during the discussions following these presentations:
- the current problems with rail safety, especially due to the inefficiency of the private security guards;
- the consequent need for the reintroduction of the specialised Transit Police Service (TPS);
- general plans to improve rail safety;
- concerns that the National Railway Safety Regulator Bill may be seen as a solution to all problems facing all modes of public transport;
- the current safety measures and regulatory framework in place at South African airports; and
- proposed plans to increase safety at South African airports.
Briefing by ACSA
Ms Monthla Hlahla, newly appointed Managing Director of ACSA, introduced Mr Bongani Maseko, the General Manager of Gauteng International Airport and Mr Monwabisi Kalawe, the General Manager of Cape Town International Airport.
Ms Hlahla informed members that the presentation would discuss the manner in which ACSA is regulated, as well as the manner and extent to which South Africa abides by international laws. Apart from detailing the general regulatory structure, both Mr Maseko and Mr Monwabisi Kalawe would be able to provide specific insight into the inner workings of the Cape Town and Gauteng International Airports. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) are also present, and Mr A Govender will also be able to answer questions on the precise manner in which that body regulates the ACSA.
Mr Maseko conducted the presentation, and focussed on the following three primary issues:
- the history of ACSA and security issues;
- the current state of affairs; and
- the way forward.
Ms Hlahla informed Members that South African aviation security is not currently owned by the State, and therefore needs to be aligned with the national security structure and strategy. The Gauteng International Airport is the largest and busiest African airport, followed closely by Cairo International Airport, and huge amounts of money, including the national reserve funds of certain African countries, are constantly passing through Gauteng International Airport. The South African aviation industry thus needs the best personnel in terms of ethos and training, as well as the best technology to ensure both economic growth for South Africa and that our country may become the â€œhub of Africaâ€? as far as aviation is concerned.
Furthermore, the best intelligence methods should regularly inform Gauteng International Airport, so that the economy as a whole may be strengthened and improved. The achievement of this goal is not the sole responsibility of ACSA, but needs the assistance of all other government Departments, organisations and institutions involved in the aviation industry. The current challenges facing this industry are compelling leaders in the industry to arrive at a viable model to achieve these objectives.
Mr A R Ainslie (ANC) requested clarity on the different roles of the various security personnel currently employed at the airport, such as those patrolling the airline agencies and baggage handlers. Secondly, could ACSA explain how it coordinates these various security personnel, as ACSA is surely responsible for such coordination. It seems that the international trend is not to have increased governmental involvement in airport security, especially in view of the September 11 events.
Mr Maseko replied that South African Airlines (SAA) operates within the parameters of the National Keypoints Act, which effectively regulates the three primary international airports in South Africa: Cape Town, Gauteng and Durban. This Act provides that these keypoints are to fall under the jurisdiction of the South African National Defense Force (SANDF). The manner in which that Act coordinates these keypoints is currently being addressed to increase its response and sensitivity to the current position and concerns that arose from the events on September 11. Indeed, a Joint Planning Committee has been established to investigate this matter, and to make recommendations based on its findings to both the Minister of Transport (the Minister) and the Minister of Defence. These recommendations would detail the security measures to be addressed as well as proposed areas of reform.
The National Keypoints Act deals with the measures to be taken during wartime and states of disruption, and South Africa is clearly not experiencing either of these, with the result that the provisions of that Act are not entirely sensitive to the current position. It is therefore clearly in need of reform. There is thus a concerted effort to transfer this responsibility from the SANDF to the South African Police Services (SAPS), as the latter is better geared towards coordinating such issues, such as the theft of baggage etc. As mentioned earlier, means to improve awareness of this Act to the current position is presently being reviewed.
Mr G D Schneemann (ANC) referred to the statement made by ACSA in its presentation that one airport security structure is desired, and requested ACSA to detail any progress made thus far in this regard. By what time will this objective be reached? Secondly, ACSA is requested to explain the reason, if any, for the marked increase in SAPS presence at Gauteng International Airport. Thirdly, as far as the local tourism industry is concerned, are any plans being made to ensure safety and security at South Africa's international airports? Finally, ACSA is asked to explain whether any plans are currently being devised to increase security at the baggage handling areas.
Mr S B Farrow (DP) commented that it is an international security norm that the very purpose of the contract between the private security company and the airport in question is to ensure security and safety at the airport. ACSA is requested to clarify the role played by SAA in ensuring such security is maintained in its contract with the private security agencies operating at the national airports.
Ms Hlahla responded by informing members that the National Civil Aviation Security Plan (NCASP) has been devised, in which the specific role of each institution at the airport is defined. In this regard the various committees representing the Department of Transport (the Department), the airports itself and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) are actively involved, and input from all the senior players in the industry was received. ACSA has to ensure that all these institutions are present at the airports.
Mr Govender (Civil Aviation Authority) said that it was vital that the latest draft of the NCASP be fast-tracked, and this process has to be led by the Civil Aviation Authority.
The Chair then called on the Department to respond.
Mr Peege: Maritime and Aviation, Department of Transport, added to the sentiments regarding the NCASP, and stated that CAA serves as a link between ACSA and the Department, and the sole purpose behind its establishment is the provision of security, and is thus part and parcel of the NCASP. A written copy of the NCASP will be provided to Members as soon as possible.
Mr S K Mnumzana (ANC) requested clarity on the precise measures taken by ACSA in monitoring safety and security at the airports, especially regarding the constant flow of people into the airport halls. Are there any measures currently in place to ensure these private security officials are not themselves corrupt?
Mr W Madau (ANC) asked who had participated in the drafting of the NCASP, as well as the progress made in this regard.
Mr S Pillay (DP) asked whether the coordination requires special enabling legislation for implementation.
Ms Hlahla replied that the NCASP has to be approved by the Minister before it can be lawfully implemented as law. The National Keypoints Act details the functions of both the Minister of Safety and Security and the Minister of Defence with regard to the national keypoints, and the goodwill of these various keypoints is needed so that they may all be properly coordinated in the NCASP. Both the SAPS and the SANDF have an important role to play in airport security.
Furthermore, efforts are currently being made to extend the NCASP to include other crimes as well, so that civil aviation may have one coherent plan, as well as a single Act dealing with airport security.
Mr Pillay then asked whether this effectively means that the NCASP has to be tabled before Parliament.
Ms Hlahla answered in the affirmative.
The Chair then stated that the National Keypoints Act also has to be amended.
The Chair said it was clear from concerns raised that there is a strong message from this Committee that the South African government must take the lead role in some form or another. In this regard the message from the recent Montreal conference is influential, but ultimately the South African government has to make up its own minâ€? on the position it would adopt in this regard.
The Chair stated that he was of the opinion that the primary function of ACSA is to focus more on airline crashes and aircraft safety on the ground than the actual airport safety. It thus seems unfair to place the responsibility of ensuring security of the airport generally on the shoulders of the CAA. Is this the correct view of the current situation?
Mr Peege informed the Chair that the following important concerns were raised at the Montreal conference:
- the emissions from the aircrafts;
- the increasing amounts of suicide attacks occurring on aircrafts; and
- electronic or computer-based attacks.
It is thus evident that a wide variety of security threats have surfaced in recent times, and the NCASP itself has to be broad enough to effectively deal with these issues.
The Chair requested Mr Peege to provide the Committee with a comprehensive report on this matter, as this important for the Members to fully grasp the issues at hand.
Mr Peege replied that an â€œinfopackâ€? would be made available to Members detailing the process engaged in, the goals of this initiative and the relevant players involved.
On a lighter note, he encouraged Members to exercise patience when coming across long queues at the airport because, as frustrating as it may very well be at the time, it actually means the security agency is properly executing its job by ensuring the safety and security of passengers. It is however accepted that this cannot come be the expense of the passengers.
Mr Farrow reiterated his initial question with regard to the public perception that the airports are being run by ACSA entirely, with the result that any breach of security or safety would be blamed on ACSA alone. Thus ACSA has to provide assurance that, at ground level, a serious effort is being made to ensure these breaches do not occur, or that they have been properly remedied.
Mr Maseko explained that South Africa is engaging in practices in accordance with international standards in this regard, and all nations are under pressure. In fact, a recent American study has shown that airport security officials have failed to issue more than 1800 citations arising from the screening mechanism violations. It has been argued that this is the primary reason for the September 11 events. There can be no doubt that improved technology allows security personnel to do an efficient and proper job, and investment into such improvement should be encouraged and actively pursued.
Mr Ainslie contended that there can be little doubt that NCASP will eventually achieve its long-term goals, but the general public and indeed this committee are more concerned with the present state of affairs, as these are the important matters that need to be considered for possible improvement.
Ms Hlahla replied that ACSA is meeting regularly with the CAA and the local commissions in an effort to facilitate the process.
Mr Pillay requested ACSA to explain whether the scanning equipment currently being used is the best tool for the job, as these machines seem to â€œbeepâ€? when no-one passes through the scanner. This equipment does not seem efficient and does not seem to be fulfilling the desired purpose and function.
Mr Peege replied that a tender has been put out to improve these machines, and the adjudication on this tender will take place on 4 March 2002. The harsh reality of the matter is that, since the September 11 events, there has been a global order backlog of eighteen months for these units. The result is that alternative measures have to be used, and these include increased police presence and support to â€œbackupâ€? these security agencies. Additional personnel had to be hired to deal with these security breaches, and a culture change is needed to properly address this problem.
A good start would be the provision and training of specialised airport security personnel suggested earlier, as the security risks of which airport officers have to be aware are different to those of security officers employed in other establishments and institutions. There is thus a need for specialised training that has been made available to SAPS officers. These have to be instated as airport security to keep up with global trends as far as airport safety and security is concerned.
Furthermore, with regard to the question on the more active role of the state in this process, the United States has the Transport Security Authority, which is wholly controlled and operated by the American government, because they feel so strongly about the issue.
Mr Schneemann then requested clarity on the date by which the amendments could be expected.
Ms Hlahla answered that this matter is currently being grappled with, and plans have been made to introduce the plan in March 2002. The plan still has to be considered and then passed by the managers of the Department, as well as the Minister himself. The draft of the plan would then be deliberated upon, and in this process the Department would be actively involved.
Mr Farrow then inquired the extent to which Metrorail are involved here, if at all.
Ms Hlahla replied that they are very definitely part of the plan, as ACSA is part of their space and the two bodies are working closely together. Regular communications with all relevant governmental Departments is maintained to increase the capacity of the commissions and staff in effecting the proposed change.
Mr J H Slabbert (IFP) stated that there seem to be too many Ministers involved in this process, as this presentation now suggests that the Minister of Defence should also be included. Should the number of Ministries involved not be reduced, as it seems this Committee is currently fighting a losing battle?
Mr Ainslie suggested that Mr Maseko correctly stated that this is a matter of global concern, but the harsh reality of the matter is that the history of these private security companies employed by the airports have an established track record of corruption. ACSA is requested to explain whether these security personnel responsible to the CAA at all and, if so, to what extent.
Mr Maseko said that there are currently four licenced airport security companies operating at South African airports. Debates are being engaged on whether this is in fact the appropriate route to take, or whether the state itself should provide this service. ACSA is communicating with the security structures on this issue.
Mr Kalawe added that there is currently a body that deals specifically with such security breaches, and is chaired by airport officials.
The Chair referred to the earlier presentation that the number of police officers patrolling at South African airports have dropped dramatically since 1993, and contended that this â€œvacuumâ€? created by this sudden shift has since been filled by security officers employed by the apartheid architecture of the time. It seems as though some of these officers were actively involved in enforcing apartheid, and that the same people have been employed by these privatised security companies who took the opportunity to make money and, indeed, infiltrate ACSA itself. This is the scary part, and it is argued that these people xercised extensive influence over the Gosalane project's tendering process.
Ms Hlahla reminded the Chair that the Gosalane matter is still sub judice, and it is pleasing to see that this Committee has taken an active interest in such developments. ACSA is, however, battling with this very matter, but it is proposed that this Committee focus its resources on identifying solutions for improvement. It is firmly believed that such input would far outweigh the troublesome history of this facet of the airport industry.
Mr Maseko stated that, ideally, ACSA should compile background information on all its business partners so that security and safety breaches may be avoided. But the reality of the matter is that it does not have the resources to do this. In fact, ASA until recently had a â€œVIP Loungeâ€? for any traveller who made the proper reservations, but was recently informed by the Department that the largest Pakistani drug dealing organisation had been frequenting the lounge. The fact of the matter is that ACSA has no means of knowing this, and it relies on SAPS and the Intelligence Agencies to make it aware of such criminal elements. It therefore requires a joint effort. ACSA issues a permit to individual employees to work at the airports, but these agencies do not do any background checks at all. A joint robust approach is thus needed here.
Mr Slabbert suggested that the funds that are to be used by the ACSA to hire additional security personnel from the privatised security companies, should instead by given to the Minister of Police to acquire more police officers for airport duty. The reason is that the criminal element show very little respect for police officers, but even less for security officials.
Ms Hlahla replied that ACSA does not provide the State with funding, but a concerted effort is needed in this regard.
A Member then enquired whether any measures have been put in place to prevent the selling or fraudulent parking tickets at the airport parking facilities.
Mr Kalawe replied that the ticket system has changed to a pay-on-foot system, which means that each ticket is tracked so that only tickets issued by that system will be accepted by the machine. Furthermore, additional personnel have been employed to report and guard against crimes committed at the airport parking lots.
Ms M P Coetzee-Kasper (ANC) then enquired whether any mergers were planned to prevent the copying of these parking tickets.
Ms Hlahla gave an assurance that this problem is presently being investigated. There are a number of things ACSA has to improve upon, in the interest of tourists and passengers alike. This is the softer infrastructure dealing with the provision of easy access to general information and customer services and comfort. Should sufficient attention be paid to this infrastructure as well, the place of the South African aviation industry would be cemented as one of the best in the world.
Mr Ainslie then requested ACSA to outline the general progress it has made in decreasing crime levels at South African airports. Reports from previous years have set idealistic goals for 2001 of a decrease in crime by 80%, and a 50% drop in motor vehicle theft. ACSA is requested to clarify the progress made thus far in this regard.
Mr Maseko replied that the problem here is that the limits placed on the private security companies are now becoming very apparent, but members of the SAPS cannot be recruited because their services are needed elsewhere. The result is that crime levels at South African airports are increasing, yet the mandate for general crime prevention, as directed by the Constitution rests with the SAPS. The airport authority thus had no other choice but to employ members of the apartheid machinery, because airports are a natural crime attraction and every possible measure had to be taken to address this matter.
Crime levels have been dropping gradually, with the result that even the criminals are now feeling uncomfortable at our airports, and it is hoped that this model instituted by Gauteng International Airport would be likewise implemented here in Cape Town. If such measures are not effected, the criminal element from Gauteng would move down to Cape Town and Durban. But for this initiative to succeed, the full cooperation of the SAPS is needed.
Mr Farrow asked whether there would be any value in the Committee visiting the airports to acquire a hands on experience of the manner in which they actually work, as Members of this Committee do use the airports regularly. Would ACSA approve of such visits?
The Chair agreed fully with Mr Farrow, and suggested that a report on the public hearings and the subsequent recommendations made by this Committee should be tabled before Parliament. The aim here is to facilitate effective coordination and to speed up the process.
Ms Hlahla expressed her full support for the proposal made, and extended an open invitation to Members of this Committee to engage in such visits.
Briefing by Rail Commuters Action Group to commence its presentation
Advocate Paul Hoffman represented the Rail Commuters Action Group (RCAG), and conducted the presentation. The thrust of the presentation dealt with the call for the reintroduction of the Transit Police Service, as the only means by which rail security and safety may be restored.
Mr Slabbert stated that he had long ago urged for the reintroduction of the Transit Police Service (TPS). The Minister has expressed his agreement with such reintroduction, and thus also recognises this as the only viable solution.
Mr Farrow agreed with Mr Slabbert, and requested the RCAG to explain why this initiative should properly fall within the competence of the Department of Transport. Many arguments have been waging over the precise role of the Department in this regard, as well as the powers of arrest granted to SAPS under section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act 51 of 1977 and the restraints placed on this power by the Constitution. Indeed, there seems to be no valid objection to the establishment of a specialised police force that deals exclusively with rail security and safety, by the Department of Safety and Security. Surely the Metropols should play a more active role here.
Ms Coetzee-Kasper requested that the word â€œmanpowerâ€? referred to in the RCAG document be replaced with â€œhumanpowerâ€?, to reflect equality between the sexes. Secondly, Mr Slabbert had suggested earlier that too many Ministers are involved in this initiative. In this regard it should be remembered that the Department of Transport is only responsible for providing transportation services within the Republic, and the Department of Safety and Security should be made responsible for providing training for TPS. This is not within the competence of the Department of Transport. All the different Ministers involved should be requested to inform this Committee of their budgetary constraints and possible means in which they could contribute to the Department of Safety and Security for the provision of such training.
Advocate Hoffman responded that although the submission was thoroughly checked for any discriminatory statements, somehow 'manpower' still snuck in.
Mr Schneemann reminded the Committee of their visit to the Pretoria and Cape Town rail centres. Commuters were asked to give their honest opinion of the state of rail travel in South Africa. The Committee found that most commuters who were questioned experienced problems with their personal safety and security while commuting by rail. This is not good and has to be addressed as a matter of urgency by this Committee.
The Chair suggested that the progress to be made on this issue now lies with this Committee, and a report was submitted to Parliament requesting it to prioritise the reintroduction and funding of the â€œtransit rail forceâ€?. In the visit to the Pretoria station before the fire it was learnt that the security guards who were on duty at the time of the fire had been passively protecting the station's property, because this is precisely what they were trained to do in those circumstances.
These security guards also stated that they had made concerted attempts to communicate with the commuters, but that these attempts had proven futile because the public address system at the station was not functioning properly. They had also failed to consider physically telling the commuters of the situation. This incident clearly illustrates the desperate need for the introduction of TPS, who would understand the specific nuances unique to rail travel safety and security.
The tactical and political choice which now has to be made regards the smuggling in of the reintroduction of the properly paid TPS via this Bill, or whether pressure should be applied to Parliament itself to ensure that the TPS are reintroduced, but through a vehicle other than this Bill. The Chair stated that he is of the opinion that this Bill is not the appropriate medium through which this issue may be addressed, and this is evidenced by the following two reasons: firstly, it would be wrong to house this initiative within the Department of Transport. If those suggesting this route do so because the Department of Safety and Security does not have sufficient funds to effect this initiative, the harsh reality is that the Department of Transport has even less resources at its disposal. Furthermore, the Department has largely become a policy department only, and would thus not be best placed to address this issue.
Secondly, surveys of the operation of TPS in foreign jurisdictions have proven insightful here. As Mr Oliver Page from CSIR informed this Committee during its last session, these studies have shown that the trend is to allocate this function either to a national body or as a separate section of the rail transport system. This is the case in New York City. Therefore all significant foreign jurisdictions recognise the need for TPS, but this effort requires efficient personnel, financial support and proper training. The problem here, however, is that it is not entirely clear or certain that this project should properly fall with the Department of Transport. Perhaps the municipal or national structure is more appropriate here, as is done internationally.
Advocate Hoffman said that the primary concern of the RCAG with the current formulation of this Bill is that it effectively allows the National Commissioner of Police to wash his hands of the problem with rail safety. Therefore the RCAG firmly believes that the Department of Transport has to take over here, and any failure by it to properly address this matter would amount to it doing a big disservice to the public. If the intention of the Bill is to avoid the establishment of the TPS, it has to state so expressly and, as was mentioned earlier, the Bill only deals with operational security.
It is very clear that SAPS and indeed the National Commissioner are not interested, and this is evidenced by their conspicuous absence from these meetings. It is felt that the Department of Transport is best placed to handle this problem, because it alone knows what it needsâ€? in this regard, and the Department then has to inform SAPS of its requirements. This would entail a shift in the structural paradigm of SAPS, but this is a vitally important problem. The rail police of the early 1990's could still be redeployed, as there have to be members still active in SAPS.
The Chair replied that if TPS is not reintroduced, the other side of the matter also has to be considered, namely, this Committee should not create the impression that this would be the answer to all the problems regarding safety of all modes of public transport.
Briefing by FEDUSA
Mr Venter informed Members that the written submission is rather comprehensive, and the bulk of this presentation is to be found in it.
The Chair referred Mr Venter to the proposed definition of organised labour on page nine of the Bill. He contended that the present formulation, which seems to allow the Minister to easily do away with it, has to be steered clear of, as this is an important aspect which has to be included in the Bill.
Ms Coetzee-Kasper suggested that the proposed definition of â€œnetwork operatorâ€? should include the apportionment of blame and define the party to be held accountable.
The Chair referred to the Safety Management System (SMS) mentioned in the presentation, and contended that the Bill provides for considerable self-regulation within the operational aspect of the rail system. This framework can succeed, but the problems with taxing working hours and so forth, have to be reduced to a single national standard, and cannot be negotiated as it deals with issues of worker safety and security.
Mr Venter agreed with the Chair, and contended that the Minister should at least regulate certain minimum standards regarding rest periods and maximum hours of duty.
Mr Farrow asked what effect crimes committed against rail commuters have on rail employees.
Mr Venter replied that this is an important concern, and its effects have to be considered further.
The Chair then invited Mr Andrew Dunn to present the ALPA-SA submission.
Briefing by ALPA-SA
Mr Dunn briefly outlined his document.
Ms Coetzee-Kasper inquired whether the CAA investigation unit was independent of the SAA unit, or whether the two are somehow related.
The Chair replied that the CAA is both a regulatory and investigative body. It is being recommended that these two units be separated, as is the case in the United States. It is also proposed that the same then be applied to the rail transport system, where the regulator, operator and investigator are currently the same body.
The Chair requested the Department to prepare drafting alternatives by the next session of this Committee based on these presentations.
The meeting was adjourned.
FEDUSA SUBMISSION ON THE NATIONAL RAILWAY SAFETY REGULATORY BILL
Salstaff wishes to thank the portfolio committee for the opportunity to make representations on what we believe is a very critical piece of legislation, especially in view of the recent spate of tragic rail accidents.
We have a few general remarks on the philosophy adopted in drafting the bill where after we will suggest some specific alterations to the text of the bill..
Firstly, the question arises as to why the Canadian model was used as a basis for our circumstances and if other models of other countries could not have been used. Is the Canadian model really the world's best practice in terms of a railway safety regulator.
The process in which Labour was â€œconsultedâ€? has been cumbersome to say the least. What happened in practice was that a group of â€œexpertsâ€? in the field of Railway operations/ engineering drafted the document in isolation, and Labour was then expected to more or less rubberstamp what was drafted. This gave rise to frustrations in the process, marginalising Labour input and not providing a stimulus for our constructive participation.
It is our contention that the proposed bill was drafted by individuals on the instruction of e.g. Spoornet and Metrorail who by the sheer size and magnitude of its operations have a monopoly in rail transport in South Africa, hence the drafting was done to suit and protect the aforementioned organisations and to regulate new comers to the industry.
Another feature of the draft bill is that it would seem to allow differentiated standards on the same sections of lines, which we fail to understand. We would therefor like to suggest the following alterations which in our opinion would ensure better regulation and enforcability:
PAGE 5 Chapter 1
Include a definition â€œOrganised Labourâ€? means a Union/Unions recognised by an operator
PAGE 5 Chapter 1
Change definition (viii) â€œNetwork Operatorâ€? to read as follows: â€¦means an operator
Definition (xvi) change the definition to read as follows: â€œRailway Operationâ€? means the activities performed by an operator
Definition (xxii) Substitute the word â€œsafetyâ€? as in safety permit with â€œoperationâ€? wherever it appears in the proposed bill
Definition (xxiv) change definition of â€œStation operatorâ€? to read as follows: â€¦means an operator
Definition (xxv) change definition of â€œTrain operatorâ€? to read as follows: â€¦means an operator
PAGE 6 Chapter 2
Clause 2(a)- substitute the word â€œpromoteâ€? with â€œensureâ€?
PAGE 7 Chapter 3
Clause 6 (I) - add sub-clause (f) observe safety standards set in terms of clause 29.
Clause 7 (I) add new sub-clause (k) recognise formally organised Labour as representative of Railway employees to act on their behalf in respect of the development of safety standards
Clause 7 (I) - delete existing sub-clause (k) since it contradicts clause 29(2)
Clause 7 (I) - delete sub-clause (l) in its entirety since the Board is empowered to ensure Labour involvement
Clause 14 - delete the word â€œboardâ€? where it appears in the sub-heading
Clause 14(1) - to read as follows: The board/committee must keep minutes of its meetings and submit copies of the minutes to its members and the Minister/Board.
Â PAGE 12
Clause 15(b) - substitute the word employees with organised Labour where it appears in line 45
CHAPTER 4 - Change the word SAFETY PERMITS to OPERATING PERMITS through out this chapter and the rest of the document
Â PAGE 14
Clause 23 (5) - Change the wording to read as follows: The chief executive officer will require the applicant to -
Clause 24 (2) - add new sub-clause (j) and renumber the remainder: a requirement that employees of operators be licensed to execute certain railway operations
Clause 29(2) - insert the words â€œfor specific linesâ€? after adopted in the first line and correct the spelling of principles in the third line.
Clause 30 - add new sub-clause (f) approval of a proposed scheme for the regulation of maximum duty and minimum rest periods of all safety /operational employees of operators.
Clause 34(l) - delete the words â€œand with the approval of the owners of the propertyâ€? in the first and second lines
Clause 35(2) - insert the following words after â€œpersonâ€? in the second line - â€œmust be informed that he/sheâ€?
Clause 38 - insert the following wording after â€œmustâ€? in line 25 - â€œsubmit a report, co-signed by organised Labourâ€? to the Chief Executive â€¦
Clause 39 (6) - insert the words â€œmust be informed that he/sheâ€? after â€œpersonâ€? in the second line
PAGE 19 Chapter 8
Clause 40 (1) - substitute the word â€œmayâ€? with â€œshallâ€? in the first line
Clause 41 - substitute the word â€œmayâ€? with â€œshallâ€? in the first line
In conclusion we wish to emphasize the importance of a transparent and inclusive process to develop standards and regulations to ensure that safety standards be met and maintained. In this regard we feel that organised Labour involvement in these processes will be of cardinal importance. We trust that our above contribution will be of use to the Portfolio Committee and that it will add value to the envisaged regulatory process.
RAIL COMMUTERS ACTION GROUP
PARLIAMENTARY SELECT COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORT
REGARDING THE NATIONAL RAILWAY SAFETY REGULATOR BILL
Mr. Chairperson, honourable members, thank you for the opportunity and privilege of addressing you today. Together with my learned friend, Mr. Dippenaar, we represent the Rail Commuters Action Group, Mr Leslie van Minnen and Mrs Jane Styer on the instructions of Heyns & Partners Inc. A complimentary copy of the applicants' Notice of Motion and founding papers were made available to this Committee. A useful summary of the applicants' case, although not necessarily complete, was reported in the Cape Times of 22 February 2002.
Extract of the Cape Times of 22 February 2002 annexed hereto, marked â€œAâ€?.
The Rail Commuters Action Group was called into existence last year by concerned citizens of the Cape Peninsula and vicinity who felt the need to do something pro-active about the tidal wave of lawlessness and criminal violence which is perpetrated daily on commuter trains in the Western Cape. These phenomena are not limited to Cape Town, they are endemic to the whole of South Africa.
It was Margaret Mead, the famous anthropologist who said:
â€œNever doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world; indeed it is the only thing that ever has!â€?
We are here to plead the cause of passenger safety: safety on the trains, safety on the stations, safety for all passengers on the railways, irrespective of the fare they pay or the distance they travel.Â Â
The CEO of Metrorail acknowledges the need for a safe rail environment. In October 2001 he said, on the occasion of the launch of newly upgraded coaches:
â€œAll that passengers want is a punctual, safe and clean train and clean stationsâ€?.
Notice of Motion, record , p. 111, para. 120.
The serious issue with which the committee must grapple is how to go about changing the status quo for the purpose of achieving safety and security on the railways.
The Minister of Transport viewed the Bill now under consideration as the answer in October last year. He is quoted in the press as saying:
â€œWe have set up a rail policy process that will result in the adoption of a rail transport policy. The development of a rail safety regulator will take the form of an independent agency with the necessary legislative power, enforcement capability and human resource capacity to effectively monitor and manage rail safety risk, taking action wherever appropriate to ensure the risk remains within internationally acceptable norms. The body is expected to be functional by the end of this year.â€?
â€œThe bodyâ€¦â€? was not functional by the end of last year and the Minister has since refined his views on how safety is to be achieved. Earlier this month he told a parliamentary press briefing that the Cabinet has now agreed that a special division of the SAPS should be formed to guard key air, rail and port transport points.
The task of your Committee, Mr. Chairperson, is to at least bring the Bill into line with the new approach of the Cabinet or better still, you could take the process a step further and introduce the legislative framework within which a transit police service will manage, man and supervise the security infrastructure for, inter alia, the railway passengers whom we represent.
Our clients welcome the Cabinet's idea that specialised police units take the lead in managing rail safety. Their request is that this notion be developed and that the entire responsibility for passenger safety on the railways be placed in the hands of a specialised Transit Police Service which is run under the aegis of the Department of Transport.
We must draw attention to features of the Bill which make it abundantly clear that matters of safety and security of passengers are under consideration here today. This bill is not just about regulating self-closing train doors and correctly colour-coded signals - it is also about protecting life and limb against criminal elements.
In the preamble the bill recognises the
â€œsafety of all personsâ€?.
Preamble, line 1.
The preamble seeks to place responsibility for this on railway operators recognising:
â€œâ€¦ prime responsibility and accountability of railway operators in ensuring the safety of their operationsâ€?.
Preamble, lines 15 - 16.
These two quotes from the preamble taken together and properly interpreted, can only be construed as intending to place passenger safety squarely in the hands of the various operators conducting railway operations (as defined in clause 1(xvi)).Â Â
Bill, page 6, line 3.
See also definitions of â€œsafe railway operationâ€? â€œSMSâ€? and 'SMS reportâ€?.
Bill, page 6, lines 10, 15 and 20.
In clause 2 of the bill the first purpose of the proposed Act is to provide for safe railway operations and once again the â€œprime responsibility and accountability of operators in ensuring their [sic should be â€œtheâ€?] safety of railway operationsâ€? is emphasised.
Bill, page 6, lines 58 - 59.
In clause 5(a) the Regulator has the objective of overseeing safety by granting safety permits under clause 7(1)(a).
Bill, page 7, line 31, read with page 8, line 19.Â
Clause 7(g) obliges the Regulator to advise the Minister on matters â€œcapable of causing any actual or potential threat of harm â€¦.. to personsâ€? and the catch all provision in clause 7(p) allows the Regulator to â€œconduct any other activity relating to safe railway operationsâ€?.
Bill, page 7, lines 39 - 40 and page 9, line 5.
The conditions of safety permits envisaged in clause 24 make provision for â€œcriteria necessary to ensure the safety or protection, or both, of persons with disabilities, other persons â€¦..â€?
Bill, page 15, lines 13 - 15.
Under clause 32 the Minister is given the power to make regulations â€œto ensure the safety and security of all persons against any act of terrorism or any other threat to public safety and security at a railway or in connection with any aspect of railway operationsâ€?.
Bill, page 17, lines 4 - 9.
Our clients' plea is for the formation of a specialised Transit Police Service. It is right and appropriate that the responsibility for policing the railways, airports and harbours should fall under the Department of Transport. The Department of Safety and Security does not have any prior claims or particular entitlement to police these facilities. It is more efficient and goal-directed for the proposed Regulator and the Minister of Transport to bring their particular expertise to bear upon safety and security matters on rail facilities and to take responsibility for passenger safety from crime in the facilities owned and controlled through them.
The SAPS is clearly not especially interested or involved in safety and security on the transport facilities of our land. It has provided no public input to this Committee. It does not have sufficient manpower or expertise to fulfil its general functions adequately or properly. There is simply a lack of capacity within the SAPS to fulfil the functions required of a specialised Transit Police Service which should operate under the aegis of the Department of Transport. Should the Bill in its present form be passed into being the SAPS may be fully justified in taking up the attitude that safety and security affairs are the responsibility of rail operators. Seemingly this is the line which the SAPS is tending to take. The Bill will in effect be the perfect excuse for the SAPS to continue to wash their hands of all responsibility for crime prevention, detection and investigation of crime on commuter lines.
Shortages of manpower in the SAPS have led to a situation on the ground in which transport facilities are not adequately policed and protected. The safety and security of passengers is severely compromised as a consequence of this sorry state of affairs.
Metrorail spokespersons take up the attitude that passenger security against crime is a police matter. The Bill suggests that the responsibility for keeping crime at bay on the railways is in fact that of Metrorail and other operators, not the SAPS.
It is the onerous duty of this Committee to decide, in midwifing the Bill through Parliament, where the responsibility should lie and to clearly and unambiguously create a proper legislative framework within which to ensure the safety and security of all rail passengers, in particular the commuting public who are, by and large, economically active useful taxpaying members of society who do not deserve to die or be robbed, raped and assaulted during their daily train journey to and from their places of work.
Historically the situation was that until 1986 the then SATS and its predecessors had control of their own police functions. The then S.A. Railway and Harbour Police was incorporated into the SAP by the previous regime in 1986. The commuting public lost the services of a specialised dedicated and expertly focussed railway police service and had to rely on the ordinary police service to fulfil the functions previously carried out by the S.A. Railway Police. A spokes person for the Minister of Transport recently acknowledged on national television that this was a mistake.
The South African Rail Commuter Corporation Ltd and Metrorail, a business arm of Transnet Ltd, are obliged to prevent, investigate and prosecute conduct, acts or omissions that are specifically made offences in terms of the current South African Transport Services Act. That Act declares it an offence if a person who;
knowingly acts in such a manner as to inconvenience in an unreasonable manner a passenger in any vehicle controlled by Metrorail;
Section 12(1)(d) of Schedule 1.
disobeys a reasonable instruction from an employee of Metrorail, the purpose of which is to maintain order;
Section 12(1)(f) of Schedule 1.
performs any act on premises or a vehicle under the control of Metrorail that could cause the injury or death of a person or damage to property;
Section 12(1)(g) of Schedule 1.
performs any act that hinders the proper exploitation of a service of Metrorail or that endangers or might endanger the lives of persons travelling on a vehicle;
Section 12(1)(i) of Schedule 1.
without the prior permission of Metrorail brings a firearm onto premises or a vehicle under the control of Metrorail;
Section 12(1)(n) of Schedule 1.
willfully obstructs or hinders an employee of Metrorail in the execution of his duties;
Section 12(1)(q) of Schedule 1.
is present in a vehicle under the control of Metrorail and refuses, upon being requested to do so by an authorised official of Metrorail, to hand over a valid ticket, letter of authority or the applicable cash amount for the actual journey being undertaken;
Section 12(1)(s) of Schedule 1.
is present on station premises under the control of Metrorail and who-
intends to travel by train from such station premises; or
has completed a train journey at such station premises, and refuses, upon being requested to do so by an authorized employee of Metrorail, to produce or present a relevant ticket, a letter of authority, cash or other acceptable means of payment for such journey,
Section 12(1)(u) of Schedule 1.
In terms of Government Gazette No 12902 dated 7 December 1990 Metrorail and its employees are statutorily empowered to search persons for the purpose of granting permission to enter premises or vehicles occupied by, used by or under control of First Respondent.
The SAPS derive their powers from the common law and from the Police Act. They do not have any specific special powers created to deal with the particular problems of transit policing. There has been much back-and-forth negotiation between the SAPS and the railway operators which has not had the effect of improving the lot of rail passengers. Indeed, the contrary is the case. In February 2001 the National Police Commissioner drastically cut the number of police personnel patrolling trains. Here in the Western Cape the number was cut from 160 to 30. Gangsters and criminally inclined youths took this to mean that it was open season for them to prey on rail commuters, and they did. The incidence of crime on trains and stations has increased dramatically and many lives have been lost unnecessarily. Property has been lost, breadwinners have been incapacitated, and the general commuting public is in the grip of a very real fear that train travel has become unacceptably risky.
The idea of privatising security functions has not worked. Inadequate and uneven training, an absence of over-arching control and a lack of esprit d'corps have meant that passenger safety from crime has been seriously compromised in recent years.
The appointment of private security contractors gives rise to opportunities for nepotism and corruption. The latter is already under investigation by the Special Investigating Unit and this Committee is entitled to be informed of the current status of that investigation.
Enough commuters have been murdered, maimed and robbed while the authorities and operators pass the buck back and forth concerning responsibility for security. There is a crying need for very clear focus on security and crime prevention aspects of rail transportation. Profit-driven operators are not focussed on security. Ironically an incident on Cape Town station reported in â€œDie Burgerâ€? of 22 February 2002 proves this statement:
A woman whose jewelry was ripped from her neck by a robber who jumped through the open doors of a train leaving the Thornton station, attempted to do the expected, - that is to report the incident at the Metrorail information office. Instead of taking down her particulars, the official on duty handed to her a pamphlet, distributed the same morning by protesting learners of the Fish Hoek High School in support of the RCAG's pending civil case against Metrorail and others. The complainant was told to phone the RCAG's â€œhotlineâ€? number and the 'concerned' official remarked: â€œMaybe these people will be able to help you.â€? !
See extract of page 4 of â€œDie Burgerâ€? of 22 February 2002, annexure â€œBâ€?.
The Bill presents this Committee with a golden opportunity to recognise that the responsibility for passenger security and safety from crime is inadequately addressed in the Bill and to take proactive steps to set up a workable legislative basis for protecting the lives and improving the lot of rail passengers.
We respectfully suggest that, if national railway safety regulation is to be a success, then a chapter needs to be added to the draft bill, creating a transit police service. A precedent for this is to be found in Chapter IV of Act 65 of 1981 that provided for the establishment, composition and powers of the then South African railway police force. The appropriate clauses mentioned in paragraph 9 above will have to be adjusted accordingly. The Minister of Safety and Security should be only too pleased to be relieved of this most difficult issue as the resources under his command are already thinly spread, even without responsibility for security on the railways. It is time for the Department of Transport to reclaim responsibility for that which was its own until 1986. The Bill as framed does not pass the buck to the SAPS and it ought not to pass it to the operators.
A possible alternative way forward is to amend clause 32 to give the Minister of Transport the power to create the transit police service by way of regulation. This power may be implicit in the present drafting of clause 32, but it would be preferable in the interests of openness and transparency for such power to be expressly spelt out in clause 32. We are doubtful that Parliament would let the formation of so important a service be left to regulations and accordingly urge the addition of a chapter to the Bill which sets up the Transit Police Service.
This is not an opportune time to pass the buck to the Department of Safety and Security. It is urgent that quick and appropriate action be taken by Government to address the daily mayhem on the railways. This Bill presents such an opportunity and it is the task of this Committee to seize the opportunity. Many lives will be saved if a workable and swift solution to the lack of security and safety on the railways is put in place without unnecessary administrative delay.
R.P. HOFFMAN, S.C.
CAPE TOWN: 26 FEBRUARY 2002
COMMENT ON THE FORMATION OF A SOUTH AFRICAN RAILWAY Â Â Â Â SAFETY REGULATOR
AIRLINE PILOTS ASSOCIATION OF SOUTH AFRICA
ALPA-SA is an association representing the Airline pilots of SA. We are affiliated to IFALPA which represents 120000 pilots worldwide. You may ask why we are interested in the Rail Safety Regulator Bill? Fedusa made ALPA-SA aware of the bill. Being aware of the tragic rail accident which took place in KZN recently we pledged our support to our colleagues in the rail unions in their current endeavors to improve safety. An objective of our association is â€œto promote the highest standard of flight safety in the aviation industryâ€?. To be concerned about operational safety in railways is therefore natural.
SUPPORT FOR BILL
ALPA-SA wholeheartedly supports the formation of a neutral and independent Railway Safety Regulator as established in the SA National Railway Safety Regulator bill. The regulation of safe railway operations parallels our objective stated above. In fact, we would like to go a step further and advocate a national body that includes all transport modes. However as this forum is focussed on rail safety we will limit ourselves to positively contribute to this issue. In striving for aviation safety we have developed certain views which I will briefly share now in the hope that they can have a positive effect on your deliberations.
SEPARATION OF REGULATORY AND ACCIDENT INVESTIGATION FUNCTIONS
We note in the bill under Background that the regulator audits and inspects compliance with the operator's Safety Management System (SMS) and also carries out the safety function i.e. audits, evaluation of accident reports, statistics and trends. We share the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) view that the regulatory and accident prevention functions be separated. ICAO annex 13 par 5.4 states that â€œ the accident investigation authority shall have independence in the conduct of the investigation and have unrestricted authority over its conductâ€?. Considering aviation, it is interesting to note that countries with low accident rates, well below the commercial jet world average of 1.65 hull losses per million departures, have separated these functions. In South Africa the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulates aviation. The CAA also investigates accidents so as to identify the cause of aviation accidents. The contributing factors are identified so that safety recommendations are generated. Quoting the Commissioner of the CAA, Mr Trevor Abrahams, in his address on International Aviation Day 2001 (December 7) ; QUOTE â€œThese investigations are not directed at apportioning blame though their findings and recommendations may identify persons or agencies which failed to comply with existing safety regulations. In such cases, the investigation unit would recommend that the regulation monitoring sections of the CAA investigate the matter further with the possibility of enforcement actions under the civil aviation regulations or the provisions of our criminal legislation.â€? UNQUOTE We believe the task of the investigation unit would be made more difficult as their investigation could lead to enforcement. An accident is not only caused by the front line operator but also by a failure in the system, which could include the regulator. The regulator could be at fault and would then be called upon to investigate itself possibly leading to a lack of objectivity. ALPA-SA believes this is detrimental to safety and therefore recommends a separation of the regulatory and accident investigation functions.
NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION AND SAFETY BOARD
I am sure you are fully conversant with The US National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) but ask you to bear with me as I make one or two points with reference to this body. The NTSB was established in 1967 to conduct independent investigations of all civil aviation accidents in the US and major accidents in the other modes of transportation. It is not part of the Department of Transport and does not have any regulatory or enforcement powers. The board's analysis of factual information and its determination of probable cause cannot be entered as evidence in a court of law. This ensures that the board investigations focus only on improving transportation safety.
Safety recommendations are the most important part of the Safety Board's mandate. The Board must address safety deficiencies immediately and therefore often issue recommendations before the completion of the investigations. Recommendations are based on findings of the investigation, and may address deficiencies that do not pertain directly to what is ultimately determined to be the cause of the accident. Urgent recommendations can therefore immediately be implemented.
The Safety board does not investigate criminal activity but only provides any requested support.
The NTSB has an unparalleled safety record and is therefore an excellent model for any Safety body.
ALPA-SA enthusiastically supports the formation of a neutral and independent Railway Safety Regulator.
ALPA-SA recommends the consideration of the separation of regulatory and accident investigation functions of such a regulator.
ALPA-SA furthermore recommends the incorporation of positive attributes of the NTSB as alluded to above.
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