The Portfolio Committee on Transport considered the Draft Report on the Budget Vote 37 and Strategic Plan of the Department of Transport with particular emphasis on the overview of the 2011/12 financial year. The outcomes that had been identified to guide and enable the Department to deliver on its mandate included: an efficient and integrated transport infrastructure network; a transport sector that was safe and secure; improved rural access, infrastructure and mobility; improved public transport; increased contribution to job creation; and increased contribution of transport to environmental sustainability.
Members felt that the Committee Researcher’s report was not of the expected standard. They expressed their concerns and recommended that the Researcher do the following:
● The achievements of the Department, the shortcomings, weaknesses, strengths, progresses made and the impact made must be explicitly highlighted and analysed.
● The budget of the 12 entities listed must be reported as this will empower the Committee in making viable decisions.
● Make an extra effort to make a comparative research between 2011/12 and 2012/13 so that the Department could be held responsible for underperformance. The research should not be based on reports received from the Department but his research should be carried out independently.
● The outcomes one to six were not carried out and not explicitly recorded.
Members noted that the Department must inform the Committee, how it proposed to integrate the different modes of transport.
The adoption for Draft Committee Programme was postponed subject to corrections being made.
The Committee’s proposed Second Term Programme was discussed. Members noted that the proposed bills had not been submitted by the Department and that this would impact on the Programme. The Secretary was urged to get in touch with the Department and create an awareness of the importance of early submission. Members also discussed planned oversight visits and study tour. The programme was approved with a view that there would be amendments.
Members briefly discussed the letter addressed to the Chairperson by Mr Ollis. He had expressed concern about the recent road death toll figures released by the Minister of Transport. The Committee agreed with the sentiments expressed and resolved to address these concerns.
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Transport on the Budget Vote 37 and the Strategic Plan of the Department of Transport
Mr Sifiso Ngesi, Committee Researcher, presented the Draft Report, which outlined the strategic objectives of the Department and its entities. The Department oversaw the work of 12 entities:
● Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA)
● Air Traffic and Navigation Services Company (ATNS)
● Cross-Border Road Transport Agency (CBRTA)
● Ports Regulator
● Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA)
● Railway Safety Regulator (RSR)
● Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA)
● South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA)
● South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL)
● South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA)
● Road Accident Fund (RAF)
● Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC)
The focus of the presentation was the Overview of 2011/12 Financial Year (FY). This was broken down into five outcomes:
Outcome 1: An efficient and integrated transport infrastructure network for social and economic development.
Outcome 2: A transport sector thn6at was safe and secure.
Outcome 3: Improved rural access, infrastructure and mobility.
Outcome 4: Improved public transport.
Outcome 3: Increased contribution to job creation.
Outcome 5: Increased contribution of transport to environmental sustainability.
Outcome one was achieved by the institutionalisation of the management of Durban-Free State-Gauteng Logistics and Industrial Corridor which was part of the 17 Strategic Integrating Project approved by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission.
Outcome two pertained to the inspection of 391 registered Driving Licences Testing Centres and 107
dangerous goods operators to ensure compliance with their legislative requirements. The Department
also launched a Decade of Action and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Road
Safety Campaign which was aimed to improve safety of all road users in South Africa and within the
For outcome four, 53 000 passengers were transported on the Rea Vaya and My Citi Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) systems. Operations for the Integrated Rapid Public Transport Networks (IRPTNs) were also finalised for Rustenburg, eThekwini, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay.
With reference to outcome five, a Maritime Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) conference was hosted by the Department of Transport in Durban in partnership with the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic
Development. The conference was aimed at soliciting for suggestions pertaining to the creation of more
jobs in the maritime industry.
As regards outcome six, the Minister signed the African Union Maritime Charter (Oil Pollution Prevention) in Angola in November 2011.
Mr I Ollis (DA) interrupted and suggested that it would be repetitive and time consuming if Mr Ngesi had to read what was in the report. He should instead give the highlights of the report.
Mr L Suka (ANC) supported the suggestion.
The Chairperson stated that Mr Ngesi should present the achievements, shortcomings and challenges of the Department based on the particular year in focus.
Mr Ngesi went ahead to read the remaining part of the overview.
The Chairperson then interrupted and asked what year was being reported in terms of the performance of the Department.
Mr Ngesi replied that it should have been the 2012/13 FY but given that all the Departments had not yet tabled their annual reports and would only do so at the end of September 2013. Forecasts for 2013/14 were made based on the 2011/12 report. They were dealing with the 2013/14 budget. The Department had identified three priority areas for the period, which were:
● Maintaining road infrastructure.
● Upgrading rail infrastructure and services.
● Constructing and operating public transportation infrastructure.
These policy priorities were in line with what the National Development Plan (NDP) with regards to socio- economic development. The NDP maintained that sound economic infrastructure was a precondition for economic growth and that the country’s transport infrastructure was a sine qua non of attaining this. The major recommendations of the NDP were to improve public transport planning and integrate it with spatial planning. In his 2013 State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Zuma identified transport as a catalyst for the country’s socio-economic development.
The budget allocation of the Department responded to the Government strategic objectives raised in the SONA. This was evidenced by massive investments in the road, rail and public modes of transport which received R18.2 billion, R10.3 billion and R9.9 billion respectively. This augured well for economic growth and job creation. Of the R588.7 billion total appropriation by vote, the Department of Transport received R42.2 billion in the 2013/14 financial year. The budget allocation had increased by 1.0 % in real terms and 6.6 % in nominal terms since the previous year.
The programme analysis revealed number programmes. The administration programme coordinated and rendered effective efficient strategic support to the Minister, DG and the Department. It also developed transport skills for the sector. In the 2013/14 FY, this programme received R353.1 million, up from R333.8 million in 2012/13.
The integrated transport planning programme managed and facilitated national strategic planning for new projects. It also conducted research and formulated national transport policy, including for the cross-model area of logistics. In addition, the integrated transport planning programme coordinated international and inter-sphere relations. The budget allocation for this programme had decreased drastically from R118.5 million in the 2012/13 FY to R80.6 million in 2013/14.
The rail transport programme facilitated and coordinated the development of sustainable rail transport policies, strategies and systems. Moreover, it oversaw rail public entities. In 2012/13 the budget allocation was R10.3 billion and it increased to R11.2 billion in 2013/14.
The road transport programme was tasked with regulating road traffic management and ensuring the maintenance and development of an integrated road network through the development of standards and guidelines. Expenditure on the programme increased from R18.2 billion in 2012/13 to R19.5 billion in 2013/14.
The civil aviation programme was responsible for regulating and investigating the development of an economically viable air transport industry that was safe, secure, efficient, environmentally friendly and compliant with international standards. The programme budget decreased from R520.3 million in 2012/13 to R140 million in 2013/14.
The maritime transport programme coordinated the development of a safe, reliable and viable maritime transport sector. For the 2013/14 financial year, the maritime transport programme was allocated R105.3 million, down from R149 million in 2012/13.
The public transport programme developed norms, standards, regulations and legislation to guide the development of public transport for rural and urban passengers. It received R9.9 billion in 2012/13, which increased to R10.8 billion in 2013/14.
The Chairperson reminded Mr Ngesi that the Portfolio Committee had to identify the achievements of the Department for the previous year, the shortcomings and changes if there were any. The progress made and the impact of the progress made must be analysed. The weaknesses and strengths of the programme and the Department must also be highlighted. If the Department had a target to reduce road accidents by a particular number, the Committee would not only be interested in the events held like awareness programmes but would also be interested on the effect and impact made. Conclusions and recommendations would then be based on these results.
Mr Ollis added that the Committee would also like the budget of the 12 entities listed to be reported as this would empower the Committee in making viable decisions. The budgets of the previous year and the year before were needed to make informed decisions. Was there an increase or a decrease in the budget? Why was did change? The Committee would then know where to make compliments or raise concerns.
Mr Ngesi said he agreed entirely with the Chairperson, however, in analysing the performances of the Department, the annual report was solely relied upon. The challenge was that the annual report for 2012/13 FY had not been tabled. The previous year’s annual report was therefore used to rate the performance of the dept and to make the 2013/14 budget.
Mr Suka suggested to Mr Ngesi to make an extra effort based on his own passion for this work to make a comparative research between 2011/12 and 2012/13 so that the Department could be held responsible for underperformance. The researcher should not base his submissions on reports received from the Department but his research should be carried out independently so that the Committee could be adequately empowered. The critical challenges, achievements, shortcomings, recommendations, findings, how far they have gone should be researched upon by the researcher. The Committee Secretary, Ms Valerie Carelse, could be of assistance in his research work.
The Chairperson furthermore emphasised that the outcomes that were listed on page 2 suggested that the Department would be guided and would deliver on its mandate in the year 2011/12 Financial Year. He reminded Mr Ngesi that he was the Committee’s researcher and not the Department’s researcher. With his critical analysis of the report, was outcome one fully realised and achieved? Had the four modes of transport been integrated? The Durban example given would not be adequate to make conclusions on whether outcome one had been a success or not. The Durban Airport in KwaZulu-Natal was not easily accessible. There were no buses to transport workers to and from the airport. Now that the airport had been moved to another location, it had grown even worse. This example proved that the transportation system in South Africa was not integrated. The Department must therefore propose how they intended to integrate the modes of transport. This illustration confirmed that transportation in South Africa was expensive and slow. As long as there was congestion at the taxi rank, there was no improved public transport as outcome four depicted.
Mr Suka asked what the problem was at the Department that hindered Mr Ngesi from conducting his research as he should. A meeting could be held with the manager so that these issues could be ironed out.
Mr P Mbhele (COPE) said he understood the researcher’s plight in carrying out his duty towards the Committee. However, he had been empowered and should be mindful that the Committee’s only source of empowerment as to the activities of the Department would be received from him and should therefore carry out his work as such. The Department had declared 2013 The Year of Maritime. However, this had not been explicitly represented in the report. In addition, nothing was happening on a local level that depicted integrated transport.
The Chairperson said that public transport had to do with Universal Access. Universal Access meant that any person regardless of colour, class, geographical location, gender and faith will have access to the mode of transport of their choice. Did people in wheelchairs have easy access to taxis? Was the system informative enough to advise people on where to alight from a public transport? Was a train user-friendly to a blind person? Airlines catered for a particular few in South Africa. Low cost airlines have gone bankrupt as a result of high costs incurred. The transport system therefore was very selective. Furthermore, was there a way of controlling providers of transport so as not to exploit passengers? If passengers could wait for more than six hours for a bus with no shelter or waiting room provided, did it then depict a safe and secure transport? The researcher had a responsibility therefore to the Committee to point out these issues to the Department.
Mr Suka suggested that there was no need for Mr Ngesi to comment on these issues. Instead, he must note them down and endeavour to work on all the issues raised.
The Chairperson informed the researcher that the Committee expected him to carry out the necessary research within the confines of the problems he had cited.
Mr Ngesi replied that his challenge was that there were laid down rules which had to be adhered to and not deviated from or else one would be penalised or queried. However, he was in total agreement with all the suggestions made.
The Chairperson responded that a meeting would be scheduled between the unit and the Committee. Any template on the ground for research purposes must be aimed at meeting the need of the Committee not the Department. It should assess the performance of the researcher in empowering the Committee and not focus on the needs of the Department. The template should assess the researcher as a support staff of the Portfolio Committee and not as an employee of the parliament. Moreover, as regards the outcomes listed and the scanty way in which the explanations were given, these did not portray a rigid template. It showed the shoddy way in which the researcher carried out the work. The Department and its entities were reported but there was no mention of the Maritime policy that the Department had been working on. There was also no mention in outcome six of what the Department had done in terms of aligning South Africa’s laws and policies to international standards. Outcome five should not be considered based on just one event. According the report no effort was made to create jobs in the road or rail infrastructure. There was no mention of enterprise development, a strategy for job creation and for comparative development. What had been done by SAMSA to train young people on maritime? This was not reflected in this analysis.
Ms R Dlakude (ANC) said that the researcher must find a way to work around the template and then explicitly incorporate the issues raised. Were there achievements, shortcomings, improvements and budget cuts? Which areas were the cuts and what were the reasons?
The Chairperson asked that a way forward be proposed.
Mr Suka proposed that the Mr Ngesi be given time to work on the areas discussed and report back at the next meeting. There was also a need to meet with the Departmental Manager so as to deliberate and reach an understanding of what was expected by the Committee from the researcher. In addition, Mr Ngesi should make sure that, he must have findings, solutions, recommendations which would facilitate the decisions made by the Committee. Mr Ngesi was also free to contact any member of the Committee to assist him where possible.
Ms N Mdaka (ANC) said that all the issues raised with Mr Ngesi were clear enough and that she hoped that he would not take these comments negatively.
Mr Ngesi replied in the affirmative. He would certainly work on all the issues raised.
The Chairperson said she would accept the route suggested by Mr Suka. It was obvious that there was a framework on ground that Mr Ngesi was confined to. Therefore the framework would be discussed and changed.
Committee Minutes dated 26 March 2013
The Chairperson tabled the minutes for consideration.
The Chairperson suggested a follow up of item 3.4, which stated “the Committee felt that there was a need for the Department to conduct a skills audit and this was needed to happen during its planning phase”.
Ms Mdaka moved the motion for the adoption of the minutes, seconded by Ms Dlakude.
Mr Suka commended the Committee Secretary on the improvement in timely reports and that there was no backlog of reports.
Committee Second Term Programme 2013
The Chairperson asked the Committee Secretary to take Members through the programme.
Ms Carelse informed the Committee that the proposed bills had not been submitted by the Department, although the importance of this had been emphasised the day before. It must be as a result of the deadline for submission that had been fixed for 2 June 2013.
The Chairperson said that the Department must be informed that it should not wait till June before submission because the Committee needed time to work on the bills. The Secretary should therefore get in touch with the Department and create an awareness of the importance of early submission. The Chairperson would discuss the matter with the Minister. The Draft Programme should therefore be approved with a view that there would be amendments that would be informed by the bills received.
Mr Ollis asked which particular provinces or entities would be visited for oversight. How long would these visits be?
The Chairperson replied that these oversight visits were provisional. The House Chairperson said that he would not want Portfolio Committees to conduct oversight visits before their bills were approved. This decision however looked confusing in that oversight visits were intended to allow the Committee to make informed decisions in preparation for a budget. May 2 and 3 oversight visits might be difficult to undertake because May 1 was a public holiday and members would still be at their constituencies. These dates should be noted and amendments made and would then be brought back for adoption.
Mr Mbhele asked whether a study tour would be undertaken by the Committee.
The Chairperson replied in the negative. No study tour would be undertaken because the rules of Parliament stated that it must be undertaken once every five years. The study tour that was undertaken in 2010 was to China. However, the Committee could not make any comparative analysis with other countries. Japan, France and Germany were the leading countries in rail transportation but there was no opportunity to visit these countries. Japan and China have low transport costs because their basic modes of transport were trains and airplanes. In addition to that, Japan built all needed structures close to train stations, including hotels, markets and even residential houses, so as to reduce movement from one place to the other.
Ms N Ngele (ANC) informed the Committee that there was no law or policy that stated that committees were only eligible to make trip once, particularly if the Committee on Transport was one of the five Priority Committees.
The Chairperson confirmed that the Transport Committee was one of the priority committees. A four-member delegation had been invited for a conference in China in July 2010 but permission was not given to go. The Ambassador to the USA had also advised the Committee of a Maritime Programme, however, it was not allowed to attend that either. The continued shuffling of members should be discouraged because it hindered continuity. It would also be difficult to hold Departments accountable.
Mr Ollis said that there was a new Draft Policy on rail and proposals to change the gauges used for the railways. As an oversight Committee in charge, the Committee should be up to date on which one would be the best. The Committee must also endeavour to read books and search the internet for information. South Africa would be spending around R123 billion on new trains with new and improved technology. An opportunity should be given to see what was happening in other countries.
Mr Mbhele said that a study tour was needed for proper oversight functions to be carried out. There was definitely limited knowledge when it came to these issues; therefore, proper empowerment must be undertaken if the Department was to be properly overseen.
Mr Suka suggested that an initial visit should be made to Kraaifontein where the trains were assembled. These sites should be inspected and as much knowledge as possible should be gained from which would assist in making comparative analysis with other countries.
Mr Ollis also added that Union Carriage and Wagon could be visited. This company had built several
trains and was probably the biggest train company in South Africa.
The Chairperson agreed with the proposals made. The Departments involved must be motivated to be involved in oversight visits so that there would be a consensus as to what was expected. Study tours should include the Committee Researchers as these would facilitate the extent of the research. She suggested that the Whip of each party should motivate to retain Committee members for more than two years. Frequent movement of members destabilised the Committee.
The Committee approved the programme with a view that there would be amendments.
Letter by Mr Ollis
A letter from Mr Ollis addressed to the Chairperson was read to the Committee: “The recent road death toll figures released by the Minister of Transport, Mr Ben Martins, raise serious concerns which require the immediate attention of the Portfolio Committee on Transport. The figures indicate a substantial increase over the previous year. The Transport Portfolio Committee had yet to have the opportunity to address concerns relating to transport with the current Minister of Transport. On the issue of those deaths, there are discrepancies between the figures released by the Department of Transport and the studies done by the National Institute of Mortality Studies and the Medical Research Council, October 2012. I therefore request that you invite the Minister of Transport to meet with the Portfolio Committee on Transport as a matter of urgency. Mr Martins should report on the reason for the increase in the road mortalities, the successes and challenges of the current Road Safety Campaigns and what was being done to address South Africa’s poor ranking by World Health Organization (WHO). Every possible measure should be implemented to reduce deaths on our roads”.
Mr Suka acknowledged the letter which was a serious matter that needed urgent attention. Three issues were raised in the letter: the high rate of road mortality, discrepancy in figures presented by the Department and the research group, and South Africa’s poor ranking. Was it a result of road infrastructure, the recklessness of drivers, or a combination of other issues that warranted this low ranking by international standards?
The Chairperson thanked Mr Ollis for the letter. Previously, the Committee had raised issues with the Department as to why they kept changing targets set, why targets were not in line with the Millennium Development Goals, the manner in which their programmes were being made, what technologies could be used reduce the level of alcohol abuse, and other technologies to reduce law violation. These issues were supposed to have been researched and feedback given to the Committee. However, this had not been done.
Mr Suka said that the standard and class of vehicles in South Africa must be examined to establish whether they were of international standard.
The Chairperson said that the letter sent to the Department must be specific as to what report was expected of them. In addition the accidents that involved school children must be listed. Most school children were transported to school crammed up in bakkies.
The Chairperson adjourned the meeting.
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