The Department of Transport briefed the Committee on its Annual Report for the 2010/11 financial year. The presentation highlighted four areas- these included the programme performance report for 2010/11, the audit outcomes for 2010/11, highlights of 2010/11 financial statements, and human resource management and development plans.
The Department achieved several highlights in the year under review. Some of those listed included the development of an integrated public transport systems, investments in rail infrastructure and the national road network, the progress of the Gautrain rapid rail link, the completion of the National Master Plan and the 2020 Public Transport Action Plan, the establishment of two chapters of the South African Maritime Chamber and the ratification of the African Union Maritime Charter.
The Department reported on the performance and projections of 5 key indicators. The indicators covered a wide spectrum of issues such as the number of taxis scrapped per year, the number of fatal road accidents per year, the number of bicycles procured and distributed per year, and the number of integrated rapid public transport network and operational plans developed per year in metros and large cities and the total number of districts with improved rural transport in integrated sustainable rural development nodes per year.
Members asked questions about vacancies, irregular and wasteful expenditure and poor infrastructure particularly in rural areas. They also asked about the ShovaKalula project, road maintenance, driving license centres, legislation, scholar transport and the lack of traffic officers after 6pm.
The Chairperson opened the meeting by welcoming everyone present, and invited Committee Members to introduce themselves. He then requested the delegation from the Department of Transport (DoT) to present its briefing.
Briefing on the Department of Transport’s 2010/11 Annual Report
Mr Mawethu Vilana, Deputy Director-General of Integrated Transport and Planning, DoT, stated that the presentation would focus on four specific areas. These included:
•the programme performance report for 2010/11
•the audit outcomes for 2010/11
•highlights of 2010/11 financial statements and
•human resource management and development
The highlights of the performance of the department in 2010/11 included the following:
•The development of integrated public transport systems, including the bus rapid transit networks and taxi empowerment continued
•Investments continued in rail infrastructure, stations and rolling stock and the Gautrain rapid rail link
•The long distance bus company, Autopax, was recapitalised.
Investment in the national road network and the focus on asset preservation and maintenance has continued
•Completed the national master plan, and the 2020 public transport action plan
•Two Chapters of the South African Maritime Chamber were established in Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Eastern Cape with the intention of organising one voice of BEE companies and to meet the requirements in bilateral negotiations
•The process of ratifying the African Union Maritime Charter has progressed successfully
The Department highlighted the following legislation to be approved by the Minister and Cabinet:
•The Civil Liability Convention Bill
•Oil Pollution Compensation Bill
•Electronic Fare Collection Regulations
•Merchant Shipping Civil Liability Convention Bill 2010
•Merchant Shipping International Oil Pollution Compensation Fund Contribution Bill 2010
The following studies were finalised:
•The feasibility of the development of a Transport Data Act
•The contribution of civil aviation to the South African economy
•The post implementation practicalities of inter-modal transport
•The socio-economic impact of open skies / Yamassoukro Declaration
•The socio-economic benefits of roads on the South African economy
•The development of car ownership and use in South Africa
Mr Vilana went over selected performance indicators, including the number of integrated rapid public transport network and operational plans developed per year in metros and large cities, the number of taxis scrapped per year, in which there was an increase of 30% in 2008/09 and then a 15% decrease in 2009/10, number of fatal accidents per year, and the number of bicycles procured and distributed per year.
Mr Vilana gave a detailed breakdown of the planned output and actual performance for each outcome. The aim of Outcome 1 was to create an effective and integrated infrastructure network that served as a catalyst for social and economic development. Some of the achievements here included the completion of an Institutional Framework, identification of projects and implementation plan for the 2050 Vision for the Durban-Gauteng Transport Corridor.
The goal of Outcome 2 was to develop a transport sector that was safe and secure. The Department recorded several successes in this category, inter alia, the finalisation of a Draft Southern African Development Community (SADC) vehicle testing and overload standard and the completion and hand over of all planned railway police stations to the relevant authority.
Outcome 3 was designed to improve rural access, infrastructure and mobility. In this area, the Department developed a policy on Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) facilities and procured 15,000 bicycles, of which 1,340 were distributed.
Outcome 4 concerned the development of an improved public transport system. Recorded results include the establishment of Public Transport Integration Committees in all provinces.
Outcome 5 focused on an increased contribution to job creation. In line with this, job targets were set for all provinces and preliminary discussions held with SA Local Government Association on establishing processes for engagement with municipalities on a range of roads development processes to identify best practice EPWP programmes.
Outcome 6 was directed towards an increased contribution of transport to environmental protection. The majority of energy currently came from fossil fuel or coal, which was detrimental to the environment. A business plan and literature review for the emissions model was developed, and an energy efficient framework report was submitted to the United Nations 18th session of Commission on Sustainable Development.
For the detailed performance in 2010/11 of the programme for Transport Policy, Research, and Economic Analysis, Mr Vilana reported that travel analysis zones were updated, the bulletin for 2009 was completed, six provincial road shows on Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) were conducted, the draft Monitoring and Evaluation Framework for the department and the draft Target Setting Framework for all modes of transport were both finalised.
The Transport Regulation and Accident and Incident Investigation programme successfully inspected all driving licenses testing centres on record, seven new sites were evaluated, two chapters of the South African Maritime Chamber were established in Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Eastern Cape, the draft Maritime Transport Policy was tabled for review, and South Africa was re-elected to the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation for three years. Additionally, skills workshops were conducted in three provinces for the South African National Women in Transport (SANWIT), and 291 women were audited and skills improved.
Progress was also made in the Freight Logistics and Corridor Development Programme, with forums established in all nine provinces, as well as in the Public Entity Oversight and Border Operations and Control programme, in which workflow models and the Border Control Oversight Framework were finalised.
Mr Vilana briefly went over the audit outcomes of 2010/11, including the predetermined objectives, reliability of information, the actions taken against irregular expenditure and fruitless and wasteful spending, and leadership. He also described the commitment to address internal control deficiencies dealing with leadership, financial and performance management and governance.
The Chairperson noted that it was the fifth year that the DoT had received an unqualified audit report but with findings. He expressed concern that the leadership did not exercise its oversight responsibilities, which resulted in wasteful and fruitless spending. It was troubling that the accounting officer did not take steps to prevent irregular expenditures. The Committee therefore wanted to know much was actually wasted and if the Department had put measures in place to cut irregular and fruitless spending. Furthermore, he asked about the action taken against those individuals who had contravened, and why the data from the
Ms M Themba (ANC;
Mr M Jacobs (ANC; Free) State commented on the lack of poor planning, and said that the Committee did not raise issues in previous meetings just ‘to debate for the sake of debating’. He emphasised that follow-up was necessary to ensure that matters were addressed fully. In addition, he commented that there were no traffic officers out after 18:00pm, so drivers did not have that ‘conscience’ to drive at the right speed. He noted that the issue of roads and bridges had been raised repeatedly and asked why the DoT did not ask for assistance from the Department of Defence (DoD), since there were soldiers who could build roads.
Mr Jacobs claimed that in the
Mr Jacobs believed that the Department needed to find a way to assist children to get to school. A safe and reliable railway network was needed so that people turned to public transportation rather than using private vehicle which caused traffic congestion. There had not been enough progress made on this front. The Gautrain must ‘succeed’ in all areas, not just in
Mr Jacobs remarked that driving license centres had poor management and infrastructure, with no available forms for applications, only one eye-testing machine, and long queues. He further noted that the Harrismith Logistic Hub had been ‘sung many times’, but remained a concept. This should be seen as a way to create jobs.
The Chairperson commented that the Members of Parliament that had spoken came from those provinces with serious issues. He noted that in the
The Chairperson said that there were allegations of fraud and non-payment against the Road Accident Fund (RAF), as well as driver’s licensing centres. It was necessary for the Department to explain these assertions. He also wanted the DoT to be specific and tell the public how the distribution of bicycles for the ShovaKalula project was done (15, 000 bicycles were procured, but only 1, 340 were distributed). There were no proper monitoring systems in place, and that money was paid for these bicycles. It was easy to launch a project, but some officials lacked the fundamental basics to complete and sustain projects.
Ms L Mabija (ANC;
Mr H Groenewald (DA;
Mr Groenewald further asked what was done to create jobs around the
The Chairperson allowed the DoT respond.
Mr George Mahlalela, the Director-General of the DoT stated that the annual report did not cover this financial year, only the period before, and therefore did not cover budgets in each province at all or the public transport expenditure because it was a provincial allocation. It also did not report on the programmes in extreme detail. A national monitoring service was set up after the reporting period for this report, hence the reason it was not included in the presentation.
He agreed that the capacity of provinces to deliver transport services to its people was essential. A ‘no-show’ committee as well as an audit committee were now in place, fighting against fruitless and wasteful spending.
Concerning vacant posts, he said that the Department was in the process of restructuring and there would not be any vacancies by the end of April.
Mr Mahlalela clarified that only existing businesswoman were audited in order to know what support they required. It was not about creating new businesswomen. However, the Department would attempt to find ways to increase the numbers.
Mr Mahlalela said that all issues about the
The matter about the lack of traffic officers out in the evenings had been referred to the Department of Labour. According to his understanding, overtime pay had been reduced, and therefore the traffic officers were not paid after 18:00.
The Department hoped to finalise the Scholar Transport Policy soon and then bring it to Parliament. The DoT had used the old funding formula, and has planned to resolve the issue of funding.
Mr Vilana replied that transport was one of the biggest challenges around rural development, and new plans were in the process of being made. There was ‘a lot of progress’, citing a reduction in the number of incidents due to interventions. The government put money into the railway systems, so a significant amount of money was directed at creating a safer and more reliable system.
In terms of the problems around the Gautrain, he assured that the routing was sorted out and there were no indicated additional costs. He emphasised that though it may not look as if many projects were completed, the next annual report would show a great deal more progress. He also clarified that there were differences between the responsibilities of the DoT and the municipalities.
Addressing the comments about the maintenance and distribution of bicycles, Mr Vilana explained that in each of the provinces there were ‘satellite people trained in the maintenance of the bicycles’, and a delivery agent was used to distribute the bicycles.
Ms Maria du Toit, Department of Transport, said that she worked on the no-fault policy, and addressed the question of the Chairperson about lawyers getting most of the money by requesting to make a separate presentation on the Norfolk Policy and service delivery issues of the RAF at convenience of the NCOP. She said that the Norfolk Policy, or RABS Bill, was approved by Cabinet and was the legislation that the DoT will introduce into Parliament this year.
On the issue of fraud allegations, she said that a specialised forensic unit within the RAF was established, as well as an anonymous tip hotline. The time frame for the implementation of the RABS bill was through this financial year, and the business plan would be finalised in 2014/15. Furthermore, she said that they needed support from the NCOP to make this a success story.
Mr Jacobs asked if the Department had looked into the use of different shifts for the traffic officers.
Ms Themba asked whether there were other bills coming to Parliament. She also wanted clarifications on slides 22 and 23.
A Member agreed with Ms Themba about the confusion on slides 22 and 23.He said that there were other legislation and policies coming into Parliament this year, including the Merchant Shipping Act, the National Land Transport Act, the Maritime Shipping policy, the RAF policy, and the Civil Aviation policy.
The Chairperson stated that the presentation on the RABS bill would be put into the Committee’s programme. He said that the issue of accountability had not been properly addressed, nor had he been told the specific amount of money lost to fruitless and wasteful spending.
He advised the DoT to convince the Committee so that it could support the DoT in its endeavours. He further suggested that the Department reply to some of the outstanding issues in writing.
The meeting was adjourned the meeting.
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