The Committee reconsidered the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill. The Bill had been adopted by the Committee on 6 May. However, the Democratic Alliance lodged a complaint with the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces that the Committee had not followed the proper processes on the Bill. Hence the Committee was reconsidering the Bill and the Committee Report dated 7 May 2013 was rescinded.
The Chairperson at the outset of the meeting said that the Committee would deal with the Bill strictly in accordance with the processes outlined in the NCOP Parliamentary Rules. He emphasized that if there was any disagreement in the Committee, it should be raised at the meeting. It was a sign of internal dysfunction that issues got taken outside of the Committee.
The Democratic Alliance representative said that he did not wish to be difficult. The matter had not been discussed by the Committee in previous meetings. In previous meetings he had tried to discuss the matter but the Chairperson had stopped him from doing so.
The Democratic Alliance wished to engage in discussion on the Bill as the public was dissatisfied that no public participation on the Bill had taken place while it was in the NCOP. This Bill had provisions on e-tolling which impacted upon the lives of all South Africans in all provinces. The DA felt that the Bill was being "pushed through" and that discussion on the Bill had not taken place.
The ANC responded that the public had been afforded the opportunity to make submissions on the Bill. Public submissions were a form of public participation. In any event, public participation on the Bill was not necessary since the Bill was merely amending two pieces of legislation: South African National Road Agency Limited and National Roads Act of 1998 and the Cross-Border Road Transport Act of 1998. On e-tolling itself, public participation would take place. The point was made that the Committee would not be debating toll gates at the present meeting. The meeting was convened to process the Bill. The time for discussion on the Bill had passed.
The Democratic Alliance asked how could government allow the Cross-Border Road Transport Agency (CBRTA) to collect tolls on its behalf. The CBRTA could not even manage its own affairs; neither could it manage cross border boundaries. The Auditor-General had given the CBRTA a disclaimer on its financial statements for the last couple of years. How could they handle the collection of huge amounts of e-tolling funds?
The Chairperson placed the Bill before the Committee for voting. The Committee approved each clause of the Bill and thereafter considered it in its entirety. The Bill was adopted by a majority vote of five votes against two. Five votes in favour of the Bill by the ANC, and two votes rejecting the Bill by the DA and COPE respectively.
Mr Chris Hlabisa, Deputy Director General: Roads, National Department of Transport (NDOT), apologised for the absence of the Minister of Transport Mr Benedict Martins, Deputy Minister Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga and Acting Director General Dr Maria Du Toit.
Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill
The Chairperson provided the background to why the Committee was meeting again on this Bill which had already been adopted on 7 May.
He said the Committee had in fact completed work on the Bill and had sent its report to the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP). The NCOP Chairperson had contacted the Chairperson to inform him that the Democratic Alliance had lodged a complaint that the Committee had not followed all processes on the Bill. The Chairperson did not wish to go into the specific complaints. He emphasized that the Committee took parliamentary processes very seriously. If there were complaints that the Committee had weakened the will of the people of South Africa, then the Committee would take action. Hence the Committee was reconvening to deal with issues. By taking an extra week, the Committee was stealing a week from its oversight work. In the future, if there was any disagreement in the Committee, it should be raised at the meeting. It was a sign of internal dysfunction that issues got taken outside of the Committee.
He suggested that the Committee Report dated the 7 May 2013 that had appeared in the ATC (Announcements, Tablings, Committee Reports) be rescinded.
Mr M Jacobs (ANC, Free State) proposed that the Committee Report dated the 7 March 2013 be rescinded. Ms M Themba (ANC, Mpumalanga) seconded the proposal.
The Committee Report dated the 7 May 2013 was thus rescinded.
Mr H Groenewald (DA, North West) said that it may be that the Committee was stealing time from its oversight work but he would do it ten times over if it was in the interests of the people. The idea was nevertheless not to steal time from the Committee. It was the right of the DA to pass comment if they did not agree with something. It was not a personal thing and the Chairperson should not take it as such. The DA was representing how the public felt. There were many people who did not agree with the Bill. Hence, the DA was asking for public participation in all the provinces. There were other organizations besides the DA who were also against the Bill. It was felt that the Bill was being pushed through Parliament. There should be more discussion as long as there was dissatisfaction with the Bill.
Mr Jacobs wished to correct Mr Groenewald. If there was dissatisfaction then it should have been raised within the previous Committee meeting. There would not be public participation on the current Bill. The Bill itself was merely amending the South African National Roads Agency Limited and National Roads Act of 1998 and the Cross-Border Road Transport Act of 1998 and hence there was no need for public participation. On the issue of e-tolling itself, there would be public participation.
The Chairperson reacted that Mr Jacobs was correct. There were lots of forms of public participation. Opening the process for submissions on the Bill was public participation. The Bill was tagged as having national competence (Section 75). He suggested that Members focus on the Bill itself. If there were issues, these could be raised.
Mr E Van Lingen (DA, Eastern Cape) was glad that the Chairperson encouraged Members to focus on the Bill. Public participation was part of focusing on the Bill. It was best to take the Bill to the public, to be patient and to resolve issues. It was true that the Bill was a Section 75 Bill but so was the Protection of State Information Bill and yet public hearings were held on that Bill in the NCOP.
Ms L Mabija (ANC, Limpopo) commented that the public should have made submissions on the Bill while it was in the National Assembly if they wished to comment.
Mr P Zulu (COPE, Kwazulu-Natal) stressed that if the Constitution allowed for public participation then there should be public participation. It did not matter that it was a Section 75 Bill.
Mr Jacobs said that the issue of public participation could not be debated endlessly. The issue had already been debated. The Committee needed to process the Bill. Yes, it was a Section 75 Bill. There was no talk of tollgates in it. The two pieces of legislation previously mentioned were merely being amended. The Committee was not debating the issue of tollgates. The debate was on the two pieces of legislation. There were processes in place. There was no need for the Bill to go to the provinces. He suggested that the Committee proceed with the processing of the Bill.
The Chairperson agreed that the Committee should proceed with dealing with the Bill. The process on the Bill had started a long time ago. Many submissions on the Bill had been received in the National Assembly. Only one submission had been made to the NCOP. The Committee could not force the public to make submissions. Public participation was very broad. There had been public participation. An extension had even been given for public participation.
Mr Groenewald did not agree with the Chairperson’s sentiments on public participation. The DA had a different view of public participation. Why were people out in the provinces not asked to comment on the Bill? The public was angry. The public wished to have their say. Yet no time and place had been provided for the public to do so. The DA would not accept the Bill without public participation. He agreed that in 2007 and 2008 there had been public participation on tollgates but not on e-tolling.
Ms Van Lingen pointed out that in the Select Committee's first meeting on this Bill, the Office of the State Law Adviser had said that the Committee had the authority to call for public participation on the Bill. The NCOP had to perform its function and should not be concerned with what happened in the National Assembly. She gave the example of the court case on the Choice on Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Act of 2004 brought by Doctors for Life Doctors for Life International v Speaker of the National Assembly and Others . The Act was invalidated by the Constitutional Court because in terms of Section 72 of the Constitution there was a need for the issue to go for public participation. She said that the Committee must not confuse the e-tolling in different areas. It was related to the Bill. E-tolling was expensive.
Mr S Montsitsi (ANC, Gauteng) said that it seemed that Members would not be able to agree on the issue. He suggested that the Committee agree to follow the process.
Mr Jacobs agreed and suggested that the Committee proceed with the Bill clause by clause.
The Chairperson proceeded to take the Committee through the Bill clause by clause.
Clause 1: Amendment of section 4 of Act 4 of 1998
The Chairperson asked Members if they wished him to read out the clauses.
Ms Van Lingen pointed out that the Bill was close to being a money bill. The Bill provided for the Cross-Border Road Transport Agency to collect tolls on behalf of the South African National Roads Agency Limited. How could it be allowed given the fact that the Cross Border Road Transport Agency (CBRTA) could not manage its own finances? They were unable to explain how the funds would be collected. Why in the Bill, was the levying and collection of tolls excluded from the ambit of the National Credit Act?
Mr Montsitsi asked the Chairperson to continue with the Bill clause by clause.
Mr Groenewald agreed that the Chairperson should continue with the Bill clause by clause.
The Chairperson placed Clause 1 before the Committee and asked whether there was agreement.
Ms Themba said there was agreement from the ANC’s side.
The Chairperson asked if there was any seconder.
Mr Groenewald interjected that he was not with the Chairperson. Clause 1 implied that SANRAL allowed a sub agency, the CBRTA, to collect tolls on its behalf. The CBRTA could not even manage its own affairs; neither could it manage cross border boundaries. The Auditor-General had given the CBRTA a disclaimer on its financial statements for the last couple of years. How could they handle the collection of huge amounts of e-tolling funds?
Mr Montsitsi said that dissenting opinions by Members could be noted as the Committee proceeded through the Bill clause by clause. The Committee had passed the stage of debating on the Bill. Objections on clauses by Members should just be noted.
Ms Themba pointed out that Mr Groenewald was raising the same issues again as when the Committee had first started discussions on the Bill.
Ms Mabija agreed with Ms Themba.
Mr Groenewald responded that he did not wish to be difficult. He pointed out that the issue had not been discussed by the Committee in previous meetings. He had in previous meetings tried to discuss the issue but the Chairperson had stopped him from doing so.
Ms Themba said that the bottom line was that Mr Groenewald should simply say that he did not agree with Clause 1. He could elaborate in the House why the DA did not agree with Clause 1.
The Chairperson said that Mr Groenewald’s concern and dissent about Clause 1 was noted.
Clause 2: Amendment of section 1 of Act 7 of 1998
Mr Jacobs noted that the ANC agreed with Clause 2.
Ms Themba seconded the assent.
Mr Groenewald said that the DA disagreed with Clause 2.
Clause 3: Amendment of section 27 of Act 7 of 1998
Mr Montsitsi said that the ANC agreed with Clause 3.
Mr Jacobs seconded the assent.
Ms Van Lingen noted that the DA disagreed with Clause 3. She asked whether the State Law Adviser’s Office could explain the clause.
The Chairperson stated that the Committee was strictly following processes.
Ms Van Lingen asked if Members were simply present to tick boxes.
Ms Themba said that the process was that the Committee was dealing with the Bill clause by clause.
Ms Mabija added that the Committee should continue with the process as it was the DA who had asked that things be done procedurally.
Mr Jacobs agreed that the Committee needed to follow correct procedures. He noted that Ms Van Lingen was not a member of the Committee. She was not entitled to propose anything, Mr Groenewald, being a member of the Committee, could.
Mr Montsitsi said that there were rules in the NA and the NCOP. The meeting was in line with parliamentary rules.
Ms Themba reacted that Ms Van Lingen had not been present in the meetings when the Committee had dealt with the Bill and when the State Law Adviser had explained the Bill. Ms Van Lingen could listen and in the event that she needed an explanation she could approach the Office of the State Law Adviser after the meeting.
Mr Groenewald complained that he had raised his hand to speak many times but the Chairperson had not acknowledged him. He said that in the first session in dealing with the Bill the National Department of Transport (NDOT) had briefed the Committee on the Bill. In the second session the NDOT, SANRAL and the Deputy Minister of Transport had been present but none of them had made inputs. How could Members then allege that discussion on the Bill had taken place when it had not? He had asked many questions but none of his questions had been answered by those previously mentioned parties. As a result, discussion on issues had not taken place.
Clause 4: Amendment of section 58 of Act 7 of 1998
Mr Montsitsi said that the ANC agreed with Clause 4.
Ms Mabija seconded the assent.
Mr Groenewald stated that the DA rejected Clause 4.
The Chairperson said that the DA’s rejection was noted.
Mr Jacobs, referring to Clause 4(c)1(B), stated that the Committee had made a suggestion on this clause. He now proposed to rescind the suggestion and to leave the clause as it was reflected in the Bill.
Ms Themba seconded the proposed rescission.
Mr Groenewald said that the DA supported the rescission.
The Chairperson asked Ms Van Lingen to refrain from chatting to Mr Groenwald whilst proceedings were on.
Ms Van Lingen responded that the Chairperson should not pick on her for chatting as Members of the majority party were also doing so. Besides she had every right to chat with her colleague.
Mr Groenewald said that the DA was in the meeting to discuss the Bill which dealt with e-tolling. He said that if he wished to raise concerns then he would. He did not care what newspapers said, he was concerned about the Bill.
Clause 5: Insertion of section 59A in Act 7 of 1998
Mr Jacobs noted that the ANC agreed with Clause 5.
Ms Themba seconded the assent.
Ms Van Lingen pointed out that Clause 59A(1)(b) was where the exemption of the Credit Act came in. She felt that the Credit Act should be applicable. If the Credit Act was not applicable, then the relevant Agency would be able to claim monies from people’s bank accounts.
The Chairperson said that Ms Van Lingen’s concern was noted.
Mr Groenewald stated that the DA disagreed with Clause 5.
The Chairperson asked Adv Adam Masombuka, Chief Director: Legal Services, NDOT, to clarify Clause 5.
Mr Jacobs raised a point of order and said that it was not advisable to ask the NDOT legal adviser to explain the clause. The Committee had already crossed that bridge.
Ms Van Lingen nevertheless felt that Members still had the right to ask legal advisers to explain clauses. Members were not only there to tick boxes.
Mr Montsitsi said that parliamentary rules did allow for discussions after a Bill had been passed.
Clause 6: Amendment of section 60 of Act 7 of 1998
Mr Jacobs noted that the ANC agreed with Clause 6.
Ms Mabija seconded the assent.
Mr Groenewald said that the DA rejected Clause 6.
Clause 7: Amendment of Contents of Act 7 of 1998
Mr Jacobs noted that the ANC agreed with Clause 7.
Ms Mabija seconded the assent.
Mr Groenewald said that the DA rejected Clause 7.
Clause 8: Short title and commencement
Ms Themba stated that the ANC agreed with Clause 8.
Mr Jacobs seconded the assent.
Mr Groenewald said that the DA agreed with Clause 8.
The Chairperson proceeded to place the entire Bill before the Committee for adoption.
Mr Jacobs noted that the ANC supported the adoption of the Bill.
Ms Mabija seconded the assent.
Mr Groenewald noted that the DA disagreed with the Bill.
The Chairperson noted the DA’s disagreement of the Bill and said that the Bill was adopted by the Committee. He added that the Bill would appear on the ATC (Announcements, Tablings, and Committee Reports) and would be discussed in the National Council of Provinces.
Mr Groenewald wished it to be recorded in the Committee’s Report that the entire Committee had not been in favour of the Bill. He was part of the Committee. Saying that the Committee agreed to the Bill included him. The DA after all had disagreed with the Bill.
Ms Themba responded that the minutes of the meeting would reflect the DA’s disagreement with the Bill.
The Chairperson asked Mr Groenewald if he would be happy if the Bill was voted on. He noted that the Committee worked as a team.
Mr Groenewald felt a vote would suffice. He agreed that the Committee did work as a team but there were times when there would be disagreement. It did not make sense to him how the Bill could be supported when the public out there was unhappy with it.
The Committee voted on the Bill.
The Chairperson, Ms Themba, Ms Mabija, Mr Jacobs, and Mr Montsitsi voted in favour of the Bill. In all there were five votes in favour of the Bill from the ANC.
Mr Groenewald (DA) and Mr Zulu (COPE) voted against the Bill. In all, there were two votes against the Bill.
The Chairperson signed the Committee Report and said that the Report reflected the will of the majority of the Committee.
Mr Monshitsi asked how soon the Minister would make the regulations on the Bill available.
The Chairperson suggested that Members not open up discussions.
The meeting was adjourned.
Previous meetings on the Bill:
Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment "e-Toll" Bill: adoption, with Deputy Minister in attendance 6 May 2013
Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment "e-Toll" Bill: briefing 30 April 2013
Transport Laws & Related Matters Amendment Bill "e-Toll": adoption 26 Feb 2013
Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment "e-Toll" Bill: deliberations & adoption 21 Nov 2012
Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment "e-Toll" Bill: public hearings 20 Nov 2012
Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment "e-Toll" Bill: briefing 23 Oct 2012
Address by the Minister of Transport
Mr Dikobe Ben Martins [MP] on the Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill 2012
22 May 2013
National Council of Provinces
Ladies and Gentlemen
The South African economy requires infrastructure to develop and grow, create jobs and to fight the scourage of unemployment and inequality.
In terms of the overall infrastructure programme, it is important to note that Government took a decision to proceed with the infrastructure programme, despite the global economic crisis. Without the required infrastructure funding for roads, human settlements, electricity, water, etc., it will not be possible to pay for and maintain optimally our infrastructure at the requisite level.
The current financial reality in South Africa is that there is a growing budget deficit that, if allowed to increase, will be detrimental to the economy and growth prospects of South Africa. This reality makes it is necessary to find additional sources of funding to assist the fiscus to meet the various demands made on it, so that social expenditure can be maintained, and infrastructure projects implemented. In order to meet these challenges, these infrastructure projects have to be funded through the selective use of a user charge. It is the responsibility of Government to implement prudent policies that will result in long term benefits to South Africa.
This outlook, as reflected in the White Paper for Transport, as well as in the National Development Plan makes provision for alternative funding sources from the capital markets and the user pay principle, to implement road development projects. In the context of the overall road network in South Africa that exceeds 700 000 kilometres, a very small proportion is tolled. Only 3200 kilometers, approximately 17% of the total national road network of 19000 kilometres, is tolled. The National Treasury therefore still makes available funding for the bulk of roads in South Africa, and tolling is used selectively to provide high standard infrastructure.
Funding the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project through a user charge has enabled the upgrading of some 201 kilometres of roads that would otherwise have taken in excess of 12 years to fund with the concomitant loss of opportunity. Furthermore, it also ensures that funds for future maintenance and operations are available. Without this project, traffic in the province would have been in gridlock by now. Members may be interested to note that the traffic volumes on the Gauteng freeways increased with between 27% to 42% for different freeway sections, since 2006. On the N1 between the Allandale Interchange and Buccleuch interchange, morning peak hour traffic increased from 9000 vehicles in 2008 to 13 000 vehicles in 2013. An independent survey carried out by a company providing navigation services showed that the improvements have led to a 50% reduction in travel times on the N1 between Johannesburg and Tshwane in peak hours.
This translates into huge savings to the economy. Prior to this, a study conducted by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry showed that the loss to the economy due to congestion was in the order of R10million per hour.
The electronic toll collection system, popularly known as e-toll, is a mechanism for the collection of tolls without disturbing the flow of traffic, at least cost. This system is already in use in the east of Pretoria on the Platinum toll highway and is programmed to also be implemented at other existing tollplazas.
Notwithstanding the consultations since 2006 with various stake holders including NEDLAC, Government again engaged with stakeholders at various times through various structures over the past two years with regard to the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project. These engagements were aimed at finding ways to mitigate issues that were raised by stakeholders and the public. These engagements took place via a Steering Committee that was appointed by my predecessor and the Inter Ministerial Committee appointed by Cabinet and chaired by Deputy President Motlanthe. Engagements took place with organised labour, religious leaders, stakeholders representing road users the AA, the Road Freight Association, OUTA and directly with the public.
In order to assist the public and business, various measures were announced by Government which include the following:
1. The exemption of qualifying public transport vehicles that are providing commuter public transport services;
2. A financial contribution of R5,7 billion by National Treasury that enabled the reduction of toll tariffs;
3. Increased e-tag user discounts;
4. The introduction of monthly toll caps for qualifying vehicles (vehicles registered and fitted with e-tags); and
5. Increased time of day discounts, especially for heavy vehicles. These discounts will also serve as a travel demand management measure that will encourage heavy vehicles to travel outside peak periods.
The Transport Laws and Related Matters Amendment Bill 2012 will enhance the legislative framework for the implementation of projects with electronic tolling, and will assist to improve the effectiveness of toll operations and enforcement.
The Bill has been necessitated by the development of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) as well as the future plans for the development of road infrastructure in the Republic.
The South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) was established in terms of the South African National Roads Agency Limited and National Roads Act 1988 (SANRAL Act). The SANRAL Act was brought into operation on 1 April 1998. It established SANRAL to manage and control the Republic’s national roads system and to take charge of the development, funding, maintenance and rehabilitation of national roads within the framework of government policy. The existing Act further provides for the establishment and operation of toll roads, including provisions for electronic toll plazas.
Apart from the physical infrastructure, the GFIP will result in the operation of a road network that involves the utilization of “intelligent” transport systems. An important component of the network is the Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) system. The Bill is essential to enhance the appropriate implementation of the ETC system.
Honourable Chairperson, the Bill seeks:
1. To provide more effectively for the collection of toll;
2. To amend the Cross-Border Road Transport Act, 1998 (Act No. 04 of 1998) in order to empower the Cross Border Road Transport Agency to assist SANRAL in the collection of tolls at the border posts.
3. To amend the SANRAL Act to insert a definition of “owner”;
4. To further provide for the differentiation in respect of the amount of toll that may be levied;
5. To provide that the regulations made by the Minister of Transport must be published by notice in the Government Gazette calling for comments from members of the public;
6. To empower the Minister of Transport to make regulations relating to specified toll related matters;
7. To provide for certain presumptions relating to the driving, operation and use of vehicles on toll road and the use of electronic evidence to prove an alleged contravention of the SANRAL Act;
8. To exclude the levying and collection of toll from the ambit of the National Credit Act, 2005; and
9. To amend the contents of the SANRAL Act.
The non-collection of tolls may impact negatively on the ability of SANRAL to raise capital for infrastructure development projects. The Bill must be seen in the context of Government’s plans to fund its envisaged infrastructure programme. SANRAL has issued bonds to fund the project of R20 billion plus capitalized interest amounting to approximately R3.4 billion that needs to be paid from the toll revenue. Failure to collect tolls and repay the bonds would have very serious financial implications for SANRAL and for the National Government which approved guarantees in respect of most of the SANRAL roads.
The inability to collect revenue would damage the credit reputation of SANRAL amongst investors, who may price the bonds higher to cover this risk. This in turn would likely have a negative impact on both SANRAL and the government’s credit ratings.
A draft amendment Bill was published in Government Gazette No. 31715 on 19 December 2008 and again on 15 March 2010 for public comment. This particular bill was published for public comment by the Transport Portfolio Committee on 15 August 2012. A Notice of intention to introduce the Bill in Parliament was also published in Government Gazette No.35550 of 2012 under Notice No. 661 of 2012.
The Bill was presented to the Portfolio Committee on Transport. The Portfolio Committee also called for public hearings on the Bill and various organization like COSATU, SALGA, The South African Chamber of Commerce made representations to the Portfolio Committee and the committee incorporated some of their comments. The Portfolio Committee considered the Bill and it was adopted by the National Assembly. The State Law Advisor has certified this Bill as Section 75 Bill.
I kindly request your consideration of the Bill as submitted and the approval thereof.
I thank you.
No related documents
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.