An Acting Chairperson was appointed, who explained that the purpose of the meeting was that the Committee should go through the draft Budget Review and Recommendation Report of the Committee in respect of the Department of Transport (the DOT) and its entities, and finalise the recommendations, so that the Report could be finally adopted on 20 October.
Members summarised, during their input and the discussions, that the Department of Transport had thirteen entities, most of whom had performed quite well, apart from the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC). However, there were concerns raised around the impact of job creation, and lack of funding had been raised by many of the entities. Members also expressed concerns that some of the DOT’s projects did not appear to be time-bound and recommended that time frames must be given especially in relation to the Scholar Transport Programme and the bicycle programme, and it was noted that although questions were asked of the Department about the stakeholders, they were not specifically answered. There should be a breakdown of how many buses were owned by women, and the Committee also needed to get a statement of the constraints, as the Department could not be assisted if it did not spell out what the challenges were, what the Department would like to see changed, and what had to be done to effect those changes. Members recommended that a breakdown of the numbers and schools to which bicycles were allocated under the Shova Kalula project must be given. Members also asked that the twelve identified research studies be names, and said that the Committee should check also with the Department what role the Committee would have to play to make an impact in the road shows. This information would be obtained from the Department. It was clarified that although there was a time frame for the approval of the national Scholar Transport Policy, the Department had not met it, and had only tabled the first phase of the draft. A Member thought that it should be stated that a bad decision had been taken to sell the country’s ships in 1993, and that the lack of railway lines to ports was a further problem. Another Member suggested that the issue of pedestrian bridges must be included in the report. Members felt that the call for this Committee to intervene in the
Committee’s Budget Review and Recommendation Report 2010/11
Mr L Suka (ANC) was appointed to chair the meeting until the Chairperson, Ms N Bhengu (ANC) could be present.
He recapped on the three days of meetings that the Committee had held in regard to the transport portfolio, with the Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA), the Department of Transport (DOT) and some of DOT’s entities. He reminded the Committee that DOT had 13 entities, of whom six had given a presentation to the Committee. Most of the major issues seemed to have occurred around policies, and here the Committee would have to intervene to make sure that the gaps were closed. Many of the presenters had raised the same issues around insufficient budget, and there were concerns about the impact on job creation.
The Acting Chairperson reminded the Members that there were some entities that did very well, like South African Maritime Safety Association (SAMSA). The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) had performed very badly, and in future it should submit quarterly reports to the Committee. The Acting Chairperson suggested that members could add to the recommendations set out on page 12 of the draft Budget Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR or the Report). The Acting Chairperson reminded the Committee about concerns expressed by Ms N Mdaka (ANC) to the effect that the Department of Transport and entities always seemed to pilot in, or ran projects that benefited the three provinces of
A short adjournment was given to allow all Members to read through this document.
The Acting Chairperson informed the members that the Portfolio Committee would adopt the report on the 20 October 2011. He then asked the Members to guide him on the process of consideration of the BRRR.
Ms N Mdaka (ANC) asked the Committee to clarify what Outcomes 5 and 6 of the Report meant.
Mr M De Freitas (DA) explained that words “to the” had to be added in the heading of outcome 5 and the word “reduction” also had to be added in the heading of outcome 6.
Mr P Mbhele (COPE) stated that the approach used by the Committee to adopt the Report was not correct, and it should not be looking to correct aspects of the Report.
The Acting Chairperson explained that the Committee also had to do grammatical corrections.
Mr N Duma (ANC) explained that the Department of Transport had said they were going to achieve outcome 5, so the Committee had to amend the word “reduced”.
Mr De Freitas remembered that outcome 5 was not fulfilled by the Department.
The Acting Chairperson agreed with Mr De Freitas and went on to explain that that was the reason why the Department was still doing summits on the subject.
Mr Mbhele said that perhaps his understanding was incorrect, if it differed from what other Members recalled.
The Committee Chairperson Ms N Bhengu (ANC) joined the Committee at this point, and the Acting Chairperson summarised how far the Committee had gone. She asked that he continue to chair the meeting.
Ms N Ngele (ANC) wanted to know if there were no weighbridges before.
The Acting Chairperson explained that there were weighbridges but South African Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) had had none of its own weighbridges.
Mr De Freitas stated that the trucks were avoiding routes with weighbridges because they knew that they were overloaded, so SANRAL had the idea of introducing movable weighbridges and moving them from one road to another.
Ms N Bhengu (ANC) explained that some of the Committee recommendations were indirect and were also not categorised.
Mr De Freitas suggested that at the end of the report there should be a separate section setting out the Committee resolutions.
The Acting Chairperson agreed with Mr De Freitas.
The Acting Chairperson added that the Scholar Transport Programme was supposed to have a time frame.
Ms Ngele welcomed the improvement of rural access, and the infrastructure mobility outcomes, if they were to work, even though they may use other forms of transport.
The Acting Chairperson suggested that the bicycle programme also had to be given a time frame.
Ms R Motsepe (ANC) suggested that the Department had to be forced to do its projects within a stated time frame, and the Department had not mentioned some timeframes for its programmes.
Ms D Dlakude informed the Committee that the reason for scholar transport was because of policy formulation. She suggested that the Committee should ask for the breakdown of how many Ria Vaya buses were owned by women as the taxi industry had taken over the Ria Vaya project. Lastly she wanted clarity as to whether it was the industry, or the Department, that had money constraints.
Ms Bhengu wanted clarity as to why scholar transport was not included in outcome 3.
The Acting Chairperson informed Ms Bhengu that the Committee did ask the Department about the stakeholders, but no straight answer had been given on this. He suggested that the subheadings of the report had to be adjusted, and that the Committee had to have recommendations on the time frame of the projects of the Department.
Mr De Freitas suggested that two sentences had to be inserted. One should be to the effect that the Committee wanted time frames on Department’s projects. The second sentence had to ask about the constraints that were stated by the Department.
Mr E Magubane (ANC) stated that the bicycle project had experienced problems as far back as 2006 and he believed it would never materialise. He wanted to know why the bicycles were given to few schools. He told the Committee that former-Minister Jeff Radebe said that the policy was going to be decentralised to provinces, and Mr Magubane believed that this would be a problem.
Ms Bhengu said that she thought that the Department was failing if it did not spell out its challenges.
The Acting Chairperson wanted clarity as to whether Ms Bhengu was suggesting that a study tour be taken.
Ms Bhengu explained that the Department had to first set out, in a strategic document, the problems that it was facing, had to state what changes it would like to implement, and then had to identify what exactly would be done to deal with the problems.
Ms Ngele stated that the Committee had to be given a breakdown of the 1 500 bicycles in the Shova Kalula project, showing how many had been distributed, and to which schools.
Mr Suka stated that the Committee had asked about the maintenance of the bicycles and the Department responded that there were only two places that dealt with the maintenance of the bicycle in the whole country.
Ms Dlakude wanted clarity as to the reasons for reprioritising the funds intended for the Research Study project, and she also wanted to know more about the twelve identified research studies. She also wanted to know what role could be played by the Committee to make an impact on the road shows.
The Acting Chairperson suggested that the Committee had to flag the issue, and then had to check back with the Department, before 20 October, when this Report would be adopted.
Mr Duma explained that there was a time frame for approval and implementation of the National Scholar Transport Policy but the Department did not meet the time frame.
Mr Sifiso Ngesi, Parliamentary Researcher, informed the Committee that during the year under review, the Department had only tabled the first phase of the draft.
Ms Bhengu stated that the Committee had to state what capacity constraints the Department was speaking of. She thought that
Ms Dlakude suggested that the issue of pedestrian bridges had to be included in the report, pointing out that scholars and their parents often had to cross big rivers when they went to school.
Ms Mdaka wanted to know why, under the section dealing with scholar transport and manufacturing of bicycles bullet point, there was inclusion of vans.
Mr Mbhele raised his concern about the making and distribution of bicycles.
Mr Duma explained that the Committee never had a debate about vans and he suggested that vans had to be removed from the report.
Mr Mbhele reminded the Committee that Cross-Border Road Transport Agency had asked Parliament to intervene on the
The Acting Chairperson emphasised that any Member of the Committee who wanted to add inputs to the Report after the meeting had to send input to the Office of the Chairperson or give any suggestions to the Committee Secretary.
Ms Bhengu explained to the Committee that the Report was supposed to be based on the Committee’s findings and recommendations, because this Report was intended to inform the public, and therefore should also be in user-friendly format, as opposed to the problematic formatting in the last year. She reminded Members that the Committee could only recommend what the Department should do, but could not actually order it to do so.
Ms Bhengu also noted that bullet points would not be included but instead the recommendations would be numbered. She said that the last bullet point did not state the findings of the Committee, and did not set out who should prioritise the matters. She also added that the word “recommend” should be used, and not the word “should”.
Ms Motsepe wanted clarity as to the meaning of the bullet point dealing with vacancies on the ACSA Board.
The Acting Chairperson suggested that the Report should be consistent on use of acronyms.
Mr De Freitas explained that the ACSA board facilitated the airport operations.
Ms Bhengu noted that the acronym ACSA stood for Airports Company of
Ms Bhengu asked if the budget constraints should be raised. Another issue was that there did not appear to be technology to upgrade gravel roads in rural areas, as mandated by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in 2003 to lead the way on upgrading the gravel roads, nor the funding to do so.
Mr De Freitas stated that he would like to see recommendations around the lack of funding, which posed a big obstacle, and the filling of vacant posts, and he also wanted to suggest that the Department must attend to skills development.
Mr Duma reminded the Committee that the issue of funds was raised, but he was not sure where exactly, and he said that he was going to check his notes and inform the Committee.
Ms Dlakude explained that the issue of constraint of funding was raised by Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC).
The Acting Chairperson stated that almost all the entities said that they had financial constraints and the Cross Border Roads Transport Agency had asked the Committee to intervene on the
Ms Bhengu explained that the Department had thirteen entities, some being implementing agencies of the Department, some being regulatory agencies, and the last group was charged with the responsibility of monitoring traffic. Those entities who usually ran out of funds were the implementing and traffic monitoring agencies, and they had been invited to address the Committee as their presentations related to their performance to carry the mandate. They lacked funds and resources. The entities that performed well but had no funds were not called upon to make a presentation. The Department’s strategic plan was related to those of the entities, and the Department’s strategic plan had to speak to the National Strategic Plan. However, the recommendations of the Committee were not currently related to the National Strategic Plan, such as the requirements on job creation.
The Acting Chairperson explained that the seven entities that were not called would be dealt with in other ways.
Mr Magubane emphasised that the Department had to deal, as a matter of urgency, with border transport, rural transport, rail transport and scholar transport. He said that the scholar transport was working only in urban areas, and he did not understood why government could not see that the Department of Transport needed to do its job properly throughout the country. Mr Magubane did not understand the rationale behind the recapitalisation, and why expensive taxis had to be bought at a cost of millions. He believed also that the large bus companies, who were subsidised, were not performing their tasks.
Ms Dlakude agreed and she suggested that the Committee had to recommend that the taxis should also be subsidised, as they were transporting people, particularly in the rural areas.
The Acting Chairperson thanked Members for their constructive contributions on the report. The Report would be adopted on 20 October.
The meeting was adjourned.
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