Transport Budget Review and Recommendation Report adoption

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19 October 2011
Chairperson: Ms N Bhengu (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee had, at a previous meeting, given consideration to the first draft of the Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR) for the transport sector, and now met to finalise the Report. It was noted that the Committee’s recommendations were set out from page 11. It was recognised that these were in too general a form, and it was suggested that a small subcommittee be formed to tidy up the recommendations, grammar and formatting, which was done.

The subcommittee noted that specific recommendations should be inserted in respect of rural roads and development, and safety issues. References to the policy directive on fuel prices were excluded, since the Committee could make no recommendations about existing policies. References to the toll roads were inserted. Reference was also made to the 2003 Transport Survey, and it was noted that Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal and Western Cape had not felt that there was sufficient consultation on the toll roads. It was suggested that the Department had to arrange urgent meetings to discuss the issue. In relation to scholar transport, it was noted that it was also important to look at the condition and the type of the vehicle. The Committee encouraged the Department to move urgently on this issue. In relation to the rural roads, the Committee noted that new technology was available to extend the lifespan of gravel roads but it was expensive. It was also noted that the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) had done further research into roads, but the Department of Transport was not making use of it, and it was therefore recommended that this research should be used.

When the full Committee reconvened, they considered the new draft, which was projected on the screen, and resolved to adopt the Report.

Meeting report

Transport Budget Review and Recommendation Report adoption
The Chairperson reminded Members that they had recently considered the first draft of the Budget Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR or the Report) on the Department of Transport (DoT or the Department) and had inserted some information, and she had interacted further with the Committee Secretary on the formatting. The Committee’s recommendations now appeared from page 11. The Chairperson had also looked at the guidelines for drawing the BRRR, which were silent about whether the strategic plan had to be mentioned, although this strategic plan could be used to analyse the findings of the Committee. She also said that the Committee was not expected to include oversight reports in the BRRR.

The Chairperson suggested that the Committee had to take other reports and check what the Committee could use, particularly in regard to human resources. She had asked Mr De Freitas to check the grammar.

The Chairperson recognised that the Committee recommendations had been stated in too general a form. There had been nothing about refocusing or increasing of the budget of the Department of Transport (DoT or the Department). The Chief Executive Officers of the entities were asked to give some more information on the budgets. The report was also silent on rural roads and development, and about road safety, despite the fact that there had been a public transport survey.

The Chairperson thought that pages 1 to 10 of the BRRR were acceptable.

Mr L Suka (ANC) thanked the Chairperson for what she had done and proposed that the Committee should look at the report from page 11.

The Chairperson said that policy directive on fuel prices had to be excluded. The Committee could make no recommendations on a policy that was already in existence. References could be made to the oversight reports, Auditor-General (AG) report, State of the Nation Address (SONA), Acts of Parliament and mandates of all the entities. She thought that some of the findings might, however, need to be rearranged.

Mr S Farrow (DA) stated that the report of the AG was excellent, and he proposed that it would be useful to extract information from it, and place it in context in the BRRR. He reminded the Committee that the role of the Committee was to give support, and that the Committee’s recommendations had to be given to the Minister. He said that the report was very good in content, although he did agree that the format needed some attention.

Mr M De Freitas (DA) agreed that there was some editing work to be done and agreed that a small sub-committee could be appointed to tidy it up. However, he felt that the Committee needed to look at what it wanted to be included, and consider the meaning of what had been stated.

Mr Suka suggested that oversight reports had to be taken as point of reference, to strengthen the Report. He also suggested that the Committee had to list certain information given by the Chief Financial Officers from the entities.

Ms N Ngele (ANC) agreed with Mr Farrow, but was concerned about the time this might take.

The Chairperson suggested that the full Committee should adjourn, and the subcommittee should stay behind in the meantime to consider the matter. She thought that a number of the issues on page 20 of the guidelines could be used. A sub-committee consisting of the Chairperson, Mr L Suka, Mr N Duma, Mr S Farrow and Mr M de Freitas, plus the Committee researcher and Committee Researcher was appointed, and they proceeded to discuss the Report.

Mr Farrow wanted clarity on paragraph 6.1.2, on page 13 and he suggested that more words had to be inserted.

Mr De Freitas suggested that a new sentence must be inserted, that would include reference to the toll road.

The Chairperson suggested that some sentences had to be paraphrased to refer to the 2003 Transport Survey. She also mentioned that Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape Province were not happy with the toll roads.

Mr Farrow suggested that the Director General and the Department ought to have an urgent meeting to look at the issue of toll roads.

The Chairperson stated that paragraph 6.1.1 should be moved to the section dealing with aviation.

The Chairperson noted that teachers could not decide what transport they wanted, but had to inform the Committee of the number of scholars who wanted the transport. When looking at scholar transport, it was also important to look at the condition and the type of the vehicle. The Chairperson suggested that the Committee must encourage the Department to move urgently on this issue.

A Member of the Committee wanted clarity concerning maritime matters, on page 13.

The Chairperson noted that the Committee should add another subheading to deal with the rural road infrastructure. She explained to the Committee that there was new technology, which would extend the lifespan of a gravel road, but consultants were not keen on using it, as it was expensive, costing about R1.2 million per kilometre for repairs.

Mr De Freitas stated that he had visited Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), in a private capacity, and thought it would be useful for the Committee to meet it, as it had done some research that was not apparently used by the Department.

The Chairperson informed the Committee that she was also in communication with CSIR, and suggested that the Report should contain a recommendation on under-use of its research by the Department.

The Chairperson also suggested that the Minister had to consider the establishment of a rural road fund so that the Committee should monitor it.

The full Committee reconvened at 14:52, but had no time to discuss the edited version, nor could that draft be printed. However, everyone in the meeting had read the amendments from the overhead projector.

Members adopted the BRRR, with amendments.

The meeting was adjourned.


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