Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) interventions: Departmental progress report

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12 September 2011
Chairperson: Ms N Bhengu (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met to hear a briefing from the Department of Transport (DoT) on the progress made regarding the key interventions and turnaround of the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC). The entity had run into difficulties and a Ministerial Task Team was appointed to deal with governance and management issues, whilst the Committee had also asked the Department to assist. The Committee was aware of the legislative impediments to the proper functioning of the RTMC, but suggested that discussions on this be limited.

At the outset, a Member objected not only that the presentation did not reach the Committee in time, but that the presentation from the RTMC had not been given in the previous week but was now seemingly to be combined with a Departmental presentation. However, the Chairperson ruled that the presentation be given, and Members could then engage with it. After a brief introduction by the DoT, the RTMC noted that the strategy attempted firstly to stabilise the entity and then to turn it around. The problem that the RTMC had lacked strategic focus was being addressed, and the Minister and Shareholders Committee decided that it must focus on reducing road fatalities by improving road safety, ensuring safe cars and safe road use. It had firstly to diagnose where the main challenges to road safety lay, and although there was some question about accuracy of statistics, with the RTMC relying on statistics of others, it was able to isolate the major determinants, which were outlined, for the 14 000 road deaths each year. Education and information of road users was vital. A mark of the lack of success in reducing fatalities and accidents was the increased amount allocated to the Road Accident Fund, but it was also noted that human behaviour, environmental conditions and state of roads were contributory factors.

It was decided that RTMC should remain a national resource, and a National Traffic Police Unit had been established, and 280 traffic officers appointed. The Decade of Action on Road Safety targeted 50% reduction in fatalities, hopefully by 2015, in comparison with the targets of 2020 set internationally. Over one million cars a month were to be checked, and it was hoped to introduce 24/7 coverage by traffic law enforcement. There were some difficulties with the Constitutional requirements in relation to provincial and national mandates, but committees had been formed to address this. South Africa lagged about 15 years behind the rest of the world in terms of road safety. Statistics and database collection was to be improved, and staff were being trained. There were interventions also to reduce accidents at level crossings, and to enforce toll roads and weighbridges.

Internally, controls and governance had been strengthened and restructuring processes were under way. Various committees had been established and a Board was also to be established. Disciplinary charges were laid against officials implicated in misconduct, five had been dismissed, and other cases were ongoing, including that of the suspended Chief Executive Officer. The financial position and possible shortfalls had been declared to the Minister. RTMC had applied for an increase in budget. Although its Act provided funding opportunities, some legislative changes were first required. It would also be necessary to put key provisions of the National Road Traffic Act into operation, but before the RTMC could assume the functions prescribed by that Act, it would need more funding. Staff morale was presently low, but otherwise good progress had been made.

Members were in general pleased with the reports and with the interventions by the Department and RTMC. However, they expressed concerns on the need for good statistics, questioned whether it was the function of the RTMC to appoint traffic police, and cautioned that there should not be overlaps with the functions of other entities. They also debated, at some length, the cross-over into areas of provincial or municipal jurisdiction, which could include licensing and arrangements with other entities. They insisted that the delay in the corruption matters must be addressed urgently, and noted that the Committee would also have to pay urgent attention to amending the legislation, although the Department cautioned it would be necessary to do a thorough investigation and ensure that all difficulties were included in an amendment Bill. A Member urged that the demerit system should be implemented. Another Member suggested that the RTMC must work with driving schools, to strengthen their capacity to produce quality drivers, as well as educate pedestrians in road safety, whilst another suggestion was to introduce driver’s licence programmes to the Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges. They urged the Department to check that buses were not overloaded, and asked that proposed solutions for coordination should be presented, as well as interventions that would result in a drop in road death. The Chairperson noted the call by one Member for full details on systems, controls and achievements, and said that this would be called for in another meeting. The Department noted that Members of the Committee had some ideological differences, but called for a united approach to address road fatalities.

Meeting report

Road Traffic Management Corporation Interventions: Departmental progress report
Chairperson’s opening remarks
The Chairperson noted that the Department of Transport (DoT or the Department) would brief the Committee on the progress made on the interventions at the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC). A task team had been appointed by the Minister of Transport to deal with the serious challenges, in terms of governance and management issues, in RTMC, and the Minister had developed and presented an implementation strategy to the Committee. During the budget vote hearings, the Committee had also requested the Department to assess the situation, and try to rescue the RTMC. The Committee now wanted to hear the progress of the interventions that the Department had made, and to hear what changes could be expected as a result of that intervention.
She noted that the Minister was on leave, but the Director General would present the intervention report.

The Chairperson requested the Committee to separate the two issues to be dealt with in this meeting. Firstly, during the strategic workshop at the beginning of the year, it had been noted that the National Road Traffic Act (NRTA) itself caused problems in the relationship between the RTMC and traffic officers at local government. The second issue related to the institutional governance arrangements and management of the RTMC, which could impact upon its successful execution of its mandate. The Committee would have to try to find the best environment that would enable the successful functioning of the RTMC

Departmental Presentation
Mr George Mahlalela, Director General, Department of Transport, said that a team from RTMC would present the report to the Committee.

Mr S Farrow (DA) interjected at this point that the Committee was supposed to have met with the RTMC last week, but for some reason this was postponed, and he felt that this presentation might be the one that should have been given in the previous week.

Secondly, Mr Farrow thought that it would be unfair to the Members to now present them with a report that they had not seen earlier. There were serious problems at RTMC. On 24 May the Committee requested that the Regional Traffic Impact Analysis (RTIA) and RTMC were to be considered as part and parcel of a process that the Department should oversee, including a consideration of the respective mandates, and Members were supposed to see the results of that review. However, Members were now handed a presentation, having had no sight of it before the meeting, and this did not appear to address the real issues, nor did it appear to explain how the Department was going to put the RTMC back in a situation where it could operate effectively. He felt that this showed contempt for the Committee, and he thought that an explanation for this should be called for, before the presentation proceeded.

The Chairperson responded that the Committee had invited the Department to present on the strategic interventions. She noted the concerns raised by Mr Farrow, and said that this was not the first time the Committee had expressed its displeasure about late submission of documents. She reiterated that the Committee must receive documents in advance. She explained that the Portfolio Committee comprised members from different political parties, who had to sit in study groups to discuss issues to be raised, to give political mandates to their representatives.

Whilst the Chairperson agreed that Mr Farrow’s concerns were quite valid, she noted that the RTMC was in a difficult situation. Whilst she could not agreed that this report would answer all the concerns of the Committee, she thought that the Department and RTMC should nonetheless be given an opportunity to make their presentation, so that the Committee could then engage with it.

She asked the presenters to proceed.

Mr Collins Letsoalo, Acting Chief Executive Officer, RTMC, noted that the key interventions for RTMC adopted two stages. The first dealt with ensuring the stability of the corporation. The second would try to ensure a turnaround strategy for RTMC. Even though RTMC was still “in intensive care” it was still expected to deliver on some issues, and it was trying still to do so. However, one of the key problems was that RTMC lacked strategic focus as to what exactly it had to do. This had to be established, so that RTMC could then understand what the expectations for the entity were. Key interventions would also address strengthening of the institutional capacity, controls and governance, and consideration and implementation of the Ministerial Task Team recommendations.

In relation to the strategic focus, the view of the Minister and the Shareholders Committee was that the RTMC needed to focus on reducing road fatalities, by improving road safety, and ensuring safe cars and safe road users. It further needed to ensure effective stakeholder relations, whilst accepting that this could not be done alone. The RTMC must further ensure corporate excellence through monitoring and evaluation, project management, compliance, target setting and performance management. Corporate support must be provided through IT, finance, human resources, communication, legal and facilities management.

Mr Letsoalo noted that the RTMC, in order to fulfil its prime mandate of road safety, had to diagnose the challenges of road death and road injuries. It was aware of how many people died on roads in South Africa and the rest of the world. About 40 people were killed on roads per day. RTMC had also done a study on who was involved in road fatalities. In 2000, about 40% of people who died on South African roads were pedestrians, about 25% were drivers, about 32% were passengers, and 2% were cyclists and those using other non motorised vehicles. Most of the deaths and injuries were caused by head-on crashes, brutal side impacts at intersections, and hitting roadside hazards like poles and trees. For pedestrians and bicyclists, crossing and moving along roads were the most hazardous.

RTMC wanted to encourage a safe system approach. It was necessary for everyone to understand the need for safe cars and safe road users. People had to adhere to the rules of the road, and there had to be a safer road environment, so that if people did make mistakes on the roads they did not necessary die. That would be achieved through education and information supporting road users, and enforcement of road rules through law enforcement agencies, of which there were currently about 17 000.

Mr Letsoalo emphasised that prevention was indeed better than cure. However, the extent to which this had not happened was illustrated by the fact that the Road Accident Fund (RAF) had been allocated R12 billion to try to compensate for injuries arising from road accidents, although the road accidents should ideally have been prevented by the ailing RTMC. However, he hastened to add that other elements could not be discounted, as road user behaviour, machine problems in vehicles, environmental factors and the state of the roads all were contributors to the problem. RTMC believed that these issues should be addressed as a priority, before dealing with post-crash issues.

Mr Letsoalo stated that although he had outlined some statistics for the Committee, and had indicated that about 14 000 people died every year on the roads, that information was sourced from police reports. RTMC believed that in future it would have to analyse data from multiple data sources, which included police, hospitals, Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and Emergency Services, so they it could release its statistics in time and have a better grip on the figures.

Mr Letsoalo hen outlined some of the future strategies. The main strategic focus was that the RTMC should remain a national resource, in accordance with the purpose and mandate of the RTMC Act. The National Traffic Police Unit had been established, and 280 traffic officers had been appointed as part of the unit, to intervene in areas where local and provincial governments had failed. In regard to the launch of the International Road Assessment Programme (IRAP), the RTMC was seeking external assistance to check South African roads, to ensure road safety. In addition, the Decade of Action on Road Safety, 2011 to 2020, was launched in May 2011 by the Minister, and this targeted a 50% reduction of road fatalities by 2020. This was a world-wide target, but South Africa was hoping to achieve that 50% reduction already by 2015. The Decade of Action had been presented to and adopted by the Social Sector Cluster of Director Generals, and presentations to other clusters were being planned, because RTMC believed that a multifaceted approach was necessary, to achieve the goals.

Another focus area, which had commenced in October 2010, was the National Rolling Enforcement Plan (NREP) which sought to stop and check over 1 million cars a month. From this to date there had been issuing of 5.5 million notices, impounding of 50 000 vehicles, and 71 000 people were arrested for traffic offences. The RTMC was focusing on drunken driving, because 63% of people dying on roads, including 60% of the pedestrians, were under the influence of alcohol. Most road deaths occurred between 10 pm and 6 am, and between Thursday and Sunday. RTMC was therefore focusing on national rollout of a 24/7 shift system for traffic officers. There had been discussions with all provinces on the implementation of that shift to enable traffic law enforcement around the clock.

He noted that the Conditions of Service Coordination process had been instituted to try to address the fragmentation in the traffic fraternity that had arisen from to the provisions of Schedule 5 of the Constitution. Traffic was an exclusive function of Provinces, and those municipalities who performed traffic duties did so at the behest of the Provincial traffic authorities. However, as stated in all engagements, Section 42 of the Constitution recognised the need to regulate powers at national level, and the RTMC Act, National Road Traffic Act and Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act were examples of this.

Mr Letsoalo outlined what had been done in respect of the National Driving Schools Forum, which comprised entities that produced drivers. Plans were under way for a national summit. Preparations were also under way for the National AARTO summit. There were constant checks being done on the state of readiness of issuing authorities, and RTMC was focusing on the National Contraventions Register (NCR), which had been completed and was being tested.

Other issues on which the RTMC was concentrating had to do with stakeholder relations, collaborations and partnerships. It had become apparent, during benchmarking, that South Africa lagged about 15 or 20 years behind the rest of the world in terms of road safety. There was a huge need to improve data collection and crash reporting, and discussions were under way with a view to signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Statistics SA. RTMC was also collaborating with International Road Traffic and Accident Database (IRTAD) and collaborating with the Indian Government to train and equip RTMC staff on data collection and analysis.

With a view to reduction of crashes on level crossings across the country, Mr Letsoalo said that MTC had already signed a MoU with Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) and had embarked on training of officers to guard the level crossings. In relation to improving law enforcement on national roads, an agreement had been reached with South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL), around law enforcement on toll roads and weighbridge facilities. RTMC had trained and appointed 231 traffic officers for that purpose. It was hoped that improvement of information and research on road traffic matters would be achieved through the discussions with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) that were aiming for collaboration on road traffic research.

Following other best practice models, the RTMC had memberships in the United Nations Road Safety Collaboration (UNRSC), Road Injuries Research Network (RTIRN), and the International Road Safety Data and Analysis Group (IRTAD).

Mr Letsoalo then moved to a discussion on the strengthening of institutional capacity, controls and governance at RTMC. An organisational restructuring process was under way. The new organisational structure plans had been completed and awaited approval by the Shareholder’s Committee. All systems and controls at RTMC were being implemented, and these included the pay roll system, integrated financial management system, supply chain management policy and procedures, human resource management policies and procedures, and the cost containment strategy. In order to strengthen governance, various bodies had been established, such as the Independent Audit Committee, the Risk Management Committee, and the Shareholder’s Committee. The latter was considering the appointment of the Board.

Mr Letsoalo added that in terms the Ministerial Task Team recommendations, disciplinary charges against employees had been instituted. Five officials were dismissed but some cases were still sub judice, with some also being referred to the CCMA. An out-of-court settlement had been reached with two officials. The disciplinary case against the Chief Executive Officer was still ongoing.

There had been a declaration of the financial position of RTMC, and possible shortfalls, to the Minister of Transport and to National Treasury. RTMC had applied for an increase in budget. The Corporation was to initiate a focused collection of outstanding eNaTis transaction fees, with the support of the Shareholder’s Committee, and some progress had already been made in that regard. RTMC had also requested National Treasury for funding for AARTO implementation, although none had been received for this purpose as yet.

As far as the long-term funding of RTMC was concerned, Mr Letsoalo explained that Section 24(1) of the RTMC Act prescribed certain funding opportunities for the Corporation, but the dilemma was that legislative changes would be needed in order to unlock those funding opportunities. The engagement with National Treasury was ongoing. The recommendation that RTMC be registered as an issuing authority had already been followed, so that traffic officers were now attached to the National Traffic Police and could issue infringement notices.

Mr Letsoalo noted that, in addition to what had been said already, the RTMC Act needed to be reviewed and aligned with emerging corporate governance principles. This included specifying a minimum of two meetings for the Shareholder’s Committee, appointment of a Board with expertise and experience, the procedure for mandating the Board, and providing it with written delegations, the increasing of the number of Executive Directors, and increase of the number of Board members to 11. The Board should have the authority Board to appoint and dismiss the Chief Executive Officer. The Minister, as Chairperson of the Shareholder’s Committee, should be mandated to act on behalf of shareholders on specific and priority areas.

He reported that at the moment, RTMC had no Board appointed.

Mr Letsoalo concluded by noting the key challenges that faced the corporation. He reiterated that RTMC Act should be amended to enable sustainability of the corporation. The operations of the Shareholder’s Committee should be aligned with its governance requirements. The NRTA was still transitional, and most of provisions were not yet in use. Section 18 of the RTMC Act and Section 52 of the NRTA provided for mandatory functions to be performed by the RTMC. However, the current grant allocation was grossly inadequate. RTMC was experiencing low staff morale because performance bonuses had not been paid to deserving staff members due to financial constraints. Key expenditure drivers were payroll costs and accommodation rental, while costs for crash and accident investigations exceeded R5 million per annum. Despite these constraints, however, he thought that good progress had been made in turning around the RTMC, and this would hopefully continue.

Mr Farrow noted that the focus was correct, because primarily RTMC’s aim should be to stop deaths on the roads. However, he pointed out that the number of deaths was still around 14 000, and he thought that RTMC should focus on that. The only way it could do so was to have good quality statistics. During the last six months, however, RTMC had not given a single statistical report on the numbers of crashes and accidents in South African roads. It would have been useful to receive this, because that would have enabled RTMC (and Members) to identify the specific problem areas, and to strategise around those problem areas as the starting point, as was done in management systems across the world. He wanted to hear the plans for producing good statistics. Once the RTMC had a credible statistical report, it could then identify the main areas of concern, and start to focus on those specific instances in its communication about traffic safety, could then step up enforcement where needed, have policemen visible, and address other key interventions.

Mr Farrow thought that the Department of Transport had a role to play also. It was not the job of RTMC to put policemen on the road. However, the presentation indicated that 231 traffic officers had been trained and appointed. Mr Farrow had thought that this was an important area. However, he pointed out that the Act provided that if the mandate changed and another functionary was introduced, then this should be debated by the Portfolio Committee. He noted that in the past, the former Minister of Transport, Dullah Omar, had attempted to put a Highway National Patrol System in place. However, this soon ran into practical problems, in light of the Constitutional restrictions around boundaries of municipalities and provinces. He pointed out that the RTMC had to guard against duplication of services or law enforcement on national roads, or interference in the jurisdictional areas of others. He wondered if there was any budget for the 231 traffic officers, and, if so, wanted to see the figures. He thought that it would have been more important to meet the needs of the different metros and provinces in terms of their staff.

He added that a further problem with the cross-over into the areas of provincial jurisdiction could occur with licensing, and agreements with other agencies and the metros or municipalities. The National Land Transport Act provided for an inspectorate under the control of DoT. This should attend to, for instance, ensuring that buses were roadworthy before they left depots. He cautioned again that the RTMC should not overlap into the roles of others, lest this cause friction.

He asked why RTMC was employing IRAP to look at the assessment of roads, pointing out that this was not the function of the RTMC, but of SANRAL did that classification.

Mr Farrow noted that the Task Team had presented its report to the Committee one year ago, and that had brought the corruption to the attention of the media, although it was actually three years since corruption was first detected in the RTMC. He asked why there was such a delay in taking action and what the legal fees and legal processes had cost the RTMC.

Mr Farrow also pointed out that it was necessary to have a Board in place to mandate budget and expenditure, and to appoint an Internal Audit Committee. There were certain difficulties with a Shareholders’ Committee, as he noted that it was not able to meet four times a year.

Mr Farrow asked why the constraints posed to the execution of the mandate, by the RTMC Act, had not earlier been pointed out to the Committee, so that amendments could be effected.

Mr Farrow suggested that there was something wrong if two pilot schemes had already been run, one in Johannesburg and the other in Pretoria, yet now there was still a problem with the rollout of the AARTO Act. The Implementation Agency was waiting to implement the Act, but could not even do that since it was seemingly unable to grasp the key elements. If the RTMC really was serious about road safety, the demerit system was the way to go, and the Committee would fully support it.

The Chairperson said that some of the problems now being experience by the RTMC were in fact the result of the NRTA, which was passed by Parliament at that time. It would be unfair to blame the RTMC for not implementing its mandate if it was not given the necessary tools to do so. This was why she suggested, at the outset of the meeting, that the legislative issues and governance issues should be dealt with separately. This Portfolio Committee should taken cognisance of, and responsibility for, any legislative problems, and could not lambaste the RTMC rather than dealing with the legislative problems. The Director General of the DoT had pointed out the legislative problems during a workshop with the Committee, and Mr Letsoalo had reiterated those, emphasising sections 18 and 52. The Committee therefore knew where those problems were. It should consult with the Parliamentary legal advisers to see how the conflicts could be resolved, particularly in regard to the powers of the Department, entities and provinces.

The Chairperson noted Mr Farrow’s caution that RTMC should not infringe on powers of others. However, she pointed out that the purpose of legislation was to deal with problems and make it easier to provide services, and pointed out further that laws could be reviewed and amended. It was vital to find a way to deal with traffic management overall.

Mr Mahlalela noted that the Internal Audit Committee was appointed in terms of the Public Finance Management Act (PFMA), because all accounting officers should have an Internal Audit Committee. He noted that it was not correct to say that the Board must appoint such a Committee.

Mr Mahlalela responded to questions about national enforcement, saying that certain functions and mandates vested at the national level. These included matters dealt with by the Cross Border Road Transport Agency (CBRTA) which had an enforcement role. There was also now finalisation of the work on the National Public Transport Regulator (NPTR), which would have an enforcement role. SANRAL was responsible for the National Transport Road Network. It had to protect its assets, as a Departmental agency, and therefore had to ensure proper enforcement in regard to the SANRAL networks. The distinction was that the RTMC would be responsible for coordinating all the national enforcement efforts, on behalf of all departmental agencies. This did not mean that it would be encroaching on the efforts of other agencies, but it did mean that it would be ensuring that all the responsibilities in respect of the national functions were being carried out.

Mr Mahlalela then addressed the question about traffic officers. He noted that the argument was frequently raised that there were no traffic officers on national roads, because the primary duties of traffic officers, who were in the employ of provinces and municipalities, lay in protection of their provincial roads and municipal roads. There were still challenges and questions to be resolved in regard to who should protect national roads.

Mr Mahlalela addressed the current standing of the RTMC. He, and the Shareholders’ Committee, were of the view that in fact the RTMC had stabilised, was no longer in such dire straits, and the new management was doing an excellent job. The reports that Mr Letsoalo presented reflected that the management systems were in place, all the PFMA requirements were being met, including the creation of the Internal Audit Committee, and the organisation was now functioning optimally.

Mr Mahlalela agreed with Mr Farrow that there were limitations in regard to the data, and he said that this was currently the only data available to the RTMC. It did need to be corrected, but this notwithstanding, the RTMC was working and performing, and the impact of this was being felt.

Mr Mahlalela referred to the challenges outlined, and agreed that the issue of sustainable funding at RTMC did need to be addressed. This needed a collective effort. There needed to be debate and resolution on the funding and resources from National Treasury or eNaTis.

Mr Mahlalela then expressed agreement that the disciplinary processes, including that of the suspended Chief Executive Officer, needed to be accelerated and resolved. At the last meeting of the Shareholder’s Committee, it was agreed that this issue should have been resolved by the end of the current financial year, so that the new financial year started with a full-time and permanent Chief Executive Officer in place, who would then be responsible for the appointment of the rest of the management team. The Shareholder’s Committee also agreed that it could not continue to have the Minister and Shareholders effectively taking the place of a Board, as they did not have time to do so, and the appointment of the Board also needed to be accelerated.

Mr Mahlalela then noted that it was important for everyone to understand exactly what legislative changes were needed, before attempting to pass those amendments. The RTMC team was only now forming a good understanding of exactly what the problems were, and what must be changed, and a full report could be obtained on what had to be changed in each of the relevant pieces of legislation, in order to effect full and meaningful amendments.

Ms D Dlakude (ANC) commended the report from the RTMC, and congratulated the current staff and DoT for a job well done. The Committee needed to support RTMC in what it needed. She was also encouraged by the progress on the corruption cases, and encouraged Mr Mahlalela to move speedily in resolving outstanding cases. She also supported the Chairperson’s suggestion to consult with the Parliamentary Legal Advisors on the changes needed to the legislation.

Mr D Ndleleni (ANC) was impressed by the work done at RTMC, and echoed his colleague in the need to support and assist RTMC. Its overall objective was to reduce and eliminate carnage on South African roads, and the turnaround strategy indicated that RTMC was on that path. It was important for them to identify strategies that would assist it in working better, and one of those would be to ensure that entities could work together without encroaching on each other’s mandates. He urged that more people be employed to lessen the road deaths, and he thought that nationally-driven campaigns were needed to look after roads, and interventions supported that would work. He also stressed that it was important to work with driving schools, to strengthen their capacity, so that they could produce quality drivers. There was a need also to educate pedestrians in road safety and obeying rules of the road.

Ms N Mdaka (ANC) commended the entities for the work done, and asked that the Committee should be invited to the launch of any programmes. She asked the Department to introduce a driver’s licence programme to the Further Education and Training (FET) Colleges.

Ms R Motsepe (ANC) said she was happy with the report, saying that it was important to have traffic officers visible on the road. However, she remained concerned that buses were dangerously overloaded, particularly when transporting school children, and she asked that the Department take active steps to check this in her province on this.

Mr M De Freitas (DA) was concerned that the presentation talked a lot about the obvious things, but had not actually provided any solutions for coordination of traffic police and road management. It also talked about statistics, but RTMC itself had changed the international standards, and changed the way that statistics were monitored and collated in South Africa, making it out of touch with the rest of the world, at a stage when RTMC had been much better positioned.

Mr De Freitas asked what specific plans were in place to try to reduce road deaths by 2020. He asked what point there was in stopping one million cars a month while the statistics of road deaths continued to rise. The RTMC instead had to benchmark itself and commit itself to doing something that would actually reduce road deaths in the country. Whilst he was also pleased to hear that the RTMC was concentrating on addressing drunken driving, this had also not contributed to a drop in numbers of fatalities.

Mr De Freitas was concerned that the AARTO was not yet functioning, although it wanted to do so. He urged that the systems must first be fixed, to ensure that it could work.

Mr De Freitas noted the remark that South Africa was 15 years behind the rest of the world, but said that in fact he would have thought it was further behind, as it seemed to have fallen behind.

Mr De Freitas was concerned that there were so many duplications between the various entities, and said that better coordination was needed, as functions were not necessarily assigned to one alone, and he was concerned that money should not be wasted.

Mr De Freitas noted the comment that systems and controls had improved, but he asked for full details. He also wanted details of what exactly had been done in relation to the corruption. He was concerned that RTMC wanted more funding but it did not produce results, and that it was in fact calling to take on more responsibilities. He thought that this was incorrect in principle. It should have a single mindset to run efficiently and cut road deaths, concentrating on the resources it already had at its disposal.

Mr De Freitas asked why people were being trained in India, as they could be trained in the country, through the private sector.

The Chairperson noted that the purpose of this meeting was not to receive results from RTMC, but to look at the overall intervention strategy, to hear how it proposed to improve, and to get a sense of the progress since the last meeting. She noted that results would be given and compared to targets, after the turnaround strategy was implemented. RTMC was actually asking for resources that would allow the entity to deliver on its mandate, and reduce road carnage by 50% in 2020. It had already noted that it was about 15 years behind other countries in road technology, and people were sent to India because this country was ahead of South Africa.

Mr Letsoalo stated that one of the problems in regard to the legislative competencies was that there was no reference to “national” in the schedules that set out legislative competences. However, it appeared that the Schedule 5 regulations were not as limited as they first seemed. Parliament could pass legislation in terms of section 76(1) of the Constitution, and that would include legislation in regard to traffic, or something that was necessary to maintain essential national standards, and in respect of minimum standards required for service delivery. It was under those provisions that the NRTA, RTMC Act and AARTO Acts were passed.

Mr Letsoalo noted that section 18(1) of the RTMC Act was very clear, listed ten functions, and that RTMC’s actions were based on those functions. Section 2(1) of the RTMC Act stated that the objective was to establish the RTMC as a partnership between National, Provincial and local spheres of Government. The Shareholders Committee mandated the Chief Executive Officer of the RTMC to establish national traffic police, and to harness the powers of the Minister and all MECs responsible for traffic to try to reach enhanced cooperation, coordinated road traffic planning, facilitation, and law enforcement.

Mr Letsoalo noted that the RTMC was, in terms of the AARTO Act, the “issuing authority” but it could not issue infringement notices without having staff to do so, and that was another reason for setting up traffic police. The Road Traffic Management Committee, comprising representatives from all provinces, was set up to deal with coordination, and this was where the proposed 24/7 enforcement and coordination issues would be discussed. As far as overlaps were concerned, a National Rolling Enforcement Plan was drafted by a Law Enforcement and Technical Committee (LETCO), also involving provinces and municipalities, to try to avoid overlaps.

Mr Mahlalela said that all discussions to date had led out of the crisis. The broad issue of “road safety” had not really been discussed as a strategy. Members of the Committee had some fundamental ideological differences about how to tackle the problem. He thought that there was still a need for debate on this, as everyone had to be of a common mind to tackle road safety, despite the fact that there may be differences as to whether local, provincial or national government must drive the process.

The Chairperson noted that there had been specific proposals made, and she had not heard any arguments to the effect that any of the interventions proposed by the Department or RTMC contradicted the recommendations of Ministerial Task Team. It was also not suggested that they were moving outside their mandate. There were, however, some differences about how matters should be tackled. The DA called for more information on specific issues, and she assured Members that she would call for a follow up meeting to specifically deal with those issues. Generally, the Committee was satisfied with progress, and was also satisfied that the RTMC was giving effect to the strategic interventions required in terms of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) plans and the Budget Review. She said that now the RTMC needed to prepare an operational plan that outlined specifics, in order that it could effect to the strategic interventions.

The meeting was adjourned.


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