The Portfolio Committee on Transport met to hear a presentation from the Road Traffic Management (RTMC) Corporation on its Strategic and Annual Performance Plan for 2014/15. The RTMC was established as a partnership between national, provincial and local spheres of government under the Road Traffic Management Corporation Act of 1999. The specific reason for its establishment was to effect the pooling of road traffic powers on the Minister of Transport, Members of the Executive Councils (MECs) and the resources of the national and provincial spheres of government responsible for road traffic management. The constitutional mandate of the RTMC was related to other spheres of government and the functional areas of concurrent national and provincial competence focused on public transport, road traffic regulation and vehicle licensing.
The RTMC was aware of the role it needed to play in the National Development Plan (NDP), Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment, and also the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. Currently, the RTMC focused on five pillars, which were to improve and institutionalise stakeholder relations, enable legislation to promote road safety, improve financial sustainability, create a dynamic and transformed organisation, and foster good governance.
The RTMC planned to establish a 21st century curriculum and cadre, aiming to improve the efficiency and image of the traffic profession, as it was still characterised by shortcomings, ineptness and inappropriate screening processes. This project would focus on capacity building and sustainability as key focus areas. Capacity building would focus on revising basic traffic officer qualifications and the curriculum, the up-skilling of current traffic officers, and recruitment of 1 000 new traffic officers in January 2015. The budget allocated for the RTMC to deliver on the 2014/15 AAP was R624 million, but this was regarded as insufficient to execute all its strategic objectives.
Members asked whether the RTMC had an alternative funding model that would raise the revenue required, as there was still a heavy reliance on the transaction fees charged for the sale of services. They also suggested that the RTMC needed to standardise traffic violations and fees throughout the country. One Member asked if there was a strategy in place to monitor traffic officers while on duty, as some worked fewer hours than required. Some Members questioned whether there was a plan in place to deal with the backlog of available information on accident investigations and recording in the country, as this was affecting the overall release of statistics on road fatalities.
It was suggested that the RTMC needed to address the enforcement, investigation and actual firing of traffic officers who were incompetent and unskilled. One Member remarked that the use of Accident Reporting (AR) forms in capturing accident information was likely to add another layer of red tape, and suggested the use of inexpensive technology to capture the information, as this was more likely to be more efficient. Most Members were worried about the absence of time-frames for the completion of the key performance indicators. The entity needed to deal with fragmentation at the local, provincial and national level.
The Chairperson said that the Department of Transport would not be allowed to proceed with the presentation of its 2014/15 first quarter expenditure, as scheduled, as the presentation contained incorrect figures and it would be embarrassing for the errors to be corrected during the presentation.
The Chairperson welcomed everyone to the Committee meeting and said that the purpose of the meeting was to hear a briefing from the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) on its Strategic and Annual Performance Plan for 2014/15, and the Department of Transport on its first quarter expenditure. The regulation of traffic was important to reduce the scourge of road fatalities in the country, as this had an impact on the economy. There was an apology from the Minister of Transport, Ms Dipou Peters and acting Director-General (DG), Mr Mawethu Vilane, who both had to attend an urgent meeting. She handed over to the RTMC.
Road Traffic Management Corporation
Adv Zola Majavu, Chairperson, RTMC, presenting the Strategic and Annual Performance Plan (APP) for 2014/15 to the Committee, said there was no doubt of the role of the RTMC in the country, considering the number of people who die daily on the roads. The enforcement of traffic regulation was important to protect the road users. He then handed over to the Chief Executive Officer to make a full presentation.
Adv Makhosini Msibi, Chief Executive Officer, said that the RTMC was established as a partnership between national, provincial and local spheres of government under the Road Traffic Management Corporation Act of 1999. The specific reasons for the establishment of the RTMC was to effect the pooling of road traffic powers on the Minister, Members of the Executive Councils (MECs) and the resources of national and provincial spheres of government responsible for road traffic management. The emphasis was also on the enhancement of co-operative and co-ordinated road traffic planning and regulation, facilitation and law enforcement. The RTMC was also responsible for the enhancement of the overall quality of road traffic services and, in particular, to ensure safety, security, order and discipline and mobility on the roads. He said that the RTMC also planned to phase out, where appropriate, public funding and phase in private sector investment in road traffic on a competitive basis, and also introduce commercial management principles to inform and guide road traffic governance and decision making. It was important to strengthen, regulate and monitor intergovernmental contact and co-operation in road traffic matters, to stimulate research in road traffic matters and effectively utilise the resources of existing institutes and research bodies.
The constitutional mandate of the RTMC was related to other spheres of government, and the functional areas of concurrent national and provincial competence -- schedule 4 Part A -- focused on public transport, road traffic regulation and vehicle licensing. The provincial government competence -- schedule 5 Part A and B -- basically focused on provincial roads and traffic. The functional areas of municipalities -- Section 156 of the Constitution -- gave a municipality the executive authority to administer local government matters listed Part B of the schedule 4, and Part B of schedule 5 dealt with traffic, parking and municipal roads. Section 64 E of the South African Police Amendment Act of 1998 provided that the functions of the municipal police, including traffic policing, must be subject to any legislation relating to road traffic, policing of municipal by laws and mostly the prevention of crime.
Adv Msibi said that RTMC had ten functional areas and the responsibility of administrative adjudication of road traffic offences had been transferred to the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA), which is another schedule 3 A institution. These functional areas are categorised into 3 components, the one being law enforcement, safety and capacity development. Three of the functional areas of the RTMC, including vehicle and roadworthiness testing, testing and licensing of drivers and vehicle registration and licensing, was still under the Department of Transport (DoT), as it had procured the services of Tasima since the year 2000, and were to be transferred to the RTMC in April 2015. The RTMC regarded communication and education as important in dealing with the issue of road safety, and capacity development was needed to improve road traffic information, accident investigations and recording and also infrastructure safety audits.
The RTMC was also guided by the government framework, like the Constitution of South Africa, 1996 Act No.108, the Public Finance Management Act, 1999 and the National Road Traffic Act, 1999. It was also cognisant of the role it needed to play in the National Development Plan (NDP), the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act, No.53 of 2003 and also the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals. These were canvassed precisely to ensure that for the Corporation to fulfil its wide range of functions, it must satisfy a complex range of governance frameworks.
Adv Msibi said the RTMC initially had four pillars, with the focus on making roads safe in the country, ensuring effective stakeholder relations, ensuring corporate excellence and providing corporate support. The brief history of the RTMC was important for the new Committee Members, as it allowed for identification of the weaknesses that had been addressed in the defined strategy for 2014-2019. He highlighted that the RTMC now focused on five pillars, which were to improve and institutionalise stakeholder relations, enable legislation to promote road safety, improve financial sustainability and also to create a dynamic and transformed organisation and foster good governance.
The RTMC needed to play a leading role in combating fraud and corruption, as this would ensure that incompetent road users were removed from the roads. There was a need to develop a 21st century curriculum that would provide training of traffic personnel that would be aligned with the environment and challenges that prevailed on the roads.
The key strategic goals, objectives, and key performance indicators for the first goal focused on improving and institutionalising stakeholder relations, with particular attention on promoting and supporting road safety, mobilising and sustaining relations with other spheres of government and the promotion of private sector participation. The focus was also on combating fraud and corruption and playing a collaborative role with the DoT on road safety. The key performance indicators for these strategic objectives involved road safety education and awareness campaigns, road safety marketing plans and the constant checking of the vehicles. The RTMC also planned to conduct high impact operations and fraud and corruption programmes.
The second goal paid particular attention to enabling legislation to promote road safety. The strategic objective was to regulate the road traffic environment, and the key performance indicator for this included the finalised national law enforcement.
The third goal planned to improve financial sustainability with its strategic objectives dedicated to more effort on improving revenue generation, effective management and operation costs, and developing and implement a funding model. The key performance indicators planned to ensure that there was a reduction in non-core costs and the development and implementation of funding models.
The fourth goal focused on creating a dynamic and transformed organisation. The strategic objectives to achieve this were to develop a 21st century curriculum and cadre, the establishment of a centre of excellence, and creating a learning organisation. There were also plans to enhance public confidence and trust in road traffic information, and to implement innovative technologies. The key performance indicators for these included the revision of the curriculum, and the development of traffic officer deployment models and a driving school qualification curriculum. The RTMC also planned to establish an academy that would deal solely with traffic problems, development and implementation of norms and standards and the execution of research and development.
The fifth goal paid special attention to fostering good governance. The strategic objectives for this goal emphasised following the rule of law, an equitable and inclusive organisation, and responding to developmental goals. There were also plans in place to implement delegation of authority and creating a conducive environment, geared towards service delivery. The key performance indicators would focus on compliance and risk management systems, corporate social investment and creating multilateral relations and support for road safety structures.
Adv Msibi said the RTMC planned to establish a 21st century curriculum and cadre, planning to improve the efficiency and image of the traffic profession, as it was still characterised by shortcomings, ineptness and inappropriate screening processes. This project would focus on capacity building and sustainability as key focus areas. Capacity building would focus on revising basic traffic officer qualifications and the curriculum, the up-skilling of current traffic officers and the recruitment of 1 000 new traffic officers in January 2015. In order to ensure that this project was sustainable, the focus would be on ensuring that there were good intergovernmental relations by creating a traffic training centre, development of the officer deployment model and multi-skilling of traffic officers.
The RTMC was particularly concerned about the road traffic injuries which often resulted in disability and loss. There was a need to build capacity and sustain efforts to address this problem. The planned capacity building to tackle the problem of road fatalities involved development and implementation of a road safety qualification, driving school instructor qualification, the training of road safety officers on a specialised curriculum, and the recruitment of lecturers, facilitators and road safety community liaison officers. In order to ensure that the country was able to drastically reduce road fatalities in a sustainable way, the emphasis needed to be on establishing a National Road Safety Advisory Council, increased road safety marketing, and partnerships with institutions of higher learning. The RTMC also needed to form partnerships with the private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and ensure that there was an alignment between road safety and law enforcement.
Adv Msibi said that in order for the country to deal with the scourge of road fatalities, it also needed to canvass multifaceted strategies that had been implemented successfully in countries like Sweden and Finland. A systematic approach to the management of traffic information was crucially important in reducing traffic congestion and road fatalities. The capacity building of this project would focus on defining norms and standards for road traffic information, the publication of reports and reinstating credible systems to be standardised in all provinces. The RTMC also planned to appoint accident information officers at all key police stations to capture Accident Reporting (AR) forms, streamline systems across all the provinces and establishing a Road Traffic Information Committee. The RTMC also needed to work in collaboration with StatsSA, the Departments of Health and Home Affairs, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR), the South African Police Services (SAPS) and the Medical Research Council (MRC).
The RTMC was funded from the transaction fees charged for the sale of services, like the issuing of learners’ and driving licenses, penalties and fines. The RTMC was also receiving funding from interest on invested cash balances, and the monies appropriated by Parliament. There was a need for a revised funding model that would see the Corporation finding alternative ways of raising revenue. The budget allocated for the RTMC to deliver on the 2014/15 AAP was R624 million, and this budget was insufficient. Although the RTMC obtained a surplus between the financial year 2011/12 and 2013/14, this was not a surplus in real terms as it was caused by a lack of cooperation between the DoT and the RTMC.
The Chairperson said she was impressed by the strategy on ways to reduce road fatalities in the country, and agreed that the funding for the agency was insufficient to execute its 2014/15 AAP.
Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC) commended the presentation of the RTMC, and said that there were good indications that the entity had a good strategy in place to reduce road fatalities in the country. He raised concern about the slow pace in executing all the corporation’s strategic objectives, and wanted reasons for this. He asked whether the corporation already had plans on finding alternative ways of raising revenue. What was the strategy in place to standardise traffic regulation and violations throughout the country? The RTMC needed to devise ways to ensure that there was a uniform standard of employment of traffic officers. This was in line with retaining the skills of experienced traffic officers. He remarked that the RTMC needed to have an effective monitoring of traffic officers while on duty, as there were traffic officers idling under the trees during the day. What was the corporation’s experience of collaborating with the different spheres of government?
Adv Msibi responded that indeed the pace of executing the strategic objectives was very slow, as the agency was still in the construction stage and still wanted to lay a solid foundation. The RTMC had a shareholder constituting of 9 MECs from all the provinces and the Minister, and this made it easier to foster cohesion and cooperation. However, the history of the RTMC indicated a bedevilled relationship when it came to fostering cooperation, and the entity now had to start rekindling the relationship of collaborating with the different spheres of government. The Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) was already in an advanced stage to review the conditions of service of traffic officers and there was a need to benchmark the appropriate salary for traffic officers, with consideration of overtime salaries. There was a need to review the deployment process of traffic officers in terms of the visibility strategy, as this was important. The shortage of roadworthy vehicles for traffic officers was also identified as a contributing factor to traffic officers being idle.
Adv Majavu added that the current RTMC Act was useless, as it was not aligned to other pieces of legislation. This often led to contestation, and collaboration between the different spheres of government was sometimes not always there. The only solution to ensure there was collaboration and coordination within the different spheres of government was to conduct a legislative review, especially the RTMC Act.
There was a challenge with road accident victims sitting in hospitals, and some died after the official release of statistics. He emphasised that there was a need to ensure that there was coordination and cooperation between the traffic officers, police and other law enforcement agencies to ensure that traffic offenders were penalised. He said all the questions posed by the Members were valid and would assist the entity going forward.
Mr C Hunsinger (DA) asked whether there was a plan to deal with the backlog of available information on accident investigations and recording. He was disappointed that the key performance indicator on promoting road safety was only the finalisation of the national law enforcement code, as he was expecting more information, considering the importance of road safety in the country. He wanted the specification on the completion of a 21st century curriculum and cadre, as this was an important plan to deal specifically with road traffic regulation and safety. There was a need to strictly regulate the K53 learner’s test in the country. How would the enforcement, investigation and actual firing of the traffic officers who were incompetent and unskilled, be addressed? He asked whether the combination of all the performance indicators was likely to reduce road injuries and fatalities in the country.
Adv Msibi responded that indeed there was a backlog on the available information, as the last statistics were compiled in 2012, but the problem emanated from the fact that provinces had different independent systems of reporting. This problem often led to disagreement from different provinces over the actual number of people who died on the roads, and the DoT was often accused of distorting the statistics on road fatalities. The RTMC was currently sitting with all the provinces to ensure that there was standardisation in the system of reporting. The national law enforcement code did not refer to road safety but referred to traffic. It emphasised the need to have an instrument that governed the traffic officers and the code was on the factors that would ensure that there was uniformity in terms of the police and traffic officers. He said that the K53 was privately owned, and the RTMC was in the process of reviewing its manual book, as it was completely outdated. There was also a need to review the curriculum of the driving schools, as it had not been amended since 1966 (National Road Traffic Act).
Adv Majavu added that indeed there was a problem with the integrity of data on road fatalities, and as Adv Msibi had already mentioned, StatsSA had also been called upon to deal with the collection, auditing and release of the data information.
Mr M de Freitus (DA) said that it was a positive presentation by the RTMC. He was pleased that the RTMC had adopted the strategy he proposed back in 2010, although he had then been accused of politicising the matter of road safety and regulation. He echoed the view that there was a need to standardise the training of traffic officers and violation fees throughout the country. There was no clear indication on whether the strategic objectives could be measurable to see a real decrease in road fatalities. It was almost impossible for the private sector to invest in road traffic on a competitive basis, as this was unlikely to generate profit. He was concerned about the release of unreliable statistics on road fatalities, and said this would lead to a continual problem with the issue of road safety. The issue of e-Natis needed to be addressed, as it was currently ineffective. He also wanted the time-frame for the completion of the 21st century curriculum and cadre training. The corporation needed to introduce modern and relatively inexpensive technology to deal with fraud and corruption. The continuous use of accident report (AR) forms in capturing accident information was likely to add another layer of red tape, and he suggested the use of inexpensive technology to capture the information, as it was more efficient.
Adv Msibi responded that the entry to the data in capturing accident information was the AR forms. This formed the basis for the court. The RTMC was collaborating with pathologists, mortuaries and the police to ensure that the data on accidents was captured accurately. He pointed out that there was a need to separate the case dockets, depending on the number of people who died in a car accident so as to avoid distortion of information. StatsSA was going to be responsible for auditing, verification and release of the statistics on road fatalities in the country, and this had the potential to generate revenue for the agency, as the private sector and government institutions would be required to pay in order to receive the data.
AdvMsibi said it was almost impossible to deal with the technological aspect without dealing with the manual system. The reason for the introduction of AR forms was to establish a solid foundation before moving to an electronic system.
Ms S Boshielo (ANC) commended the work that had been done by the new board at the RTMC, as there had already been reports that the entity would be dissolved because of insolvency and mismanagement. She urged the RTMC to ensure that there information was disseminated on ways to drive safely during rainy days. There was a need to come up with an alternative funding model to sustain the RTMC, as the current one was unsustainable. She urged the RTMC to work together with SANRAL to prevent the issue of pedestrians being killed crossing highways, and also suggested the need to fix roads that were prone to accidents. There was a need to enforce regulation on municipalities that were disrupting drivers and sometimes causing major accidents. There was a need to regulate and facilitate roadblocks, especially during the peak hours, as this was interrupting the flow of traffic. The campaign to remove vehicles that carry hazardous goods on the roads should be intensified, as this was dangerous to other road users.
Adv Msibi agreed there was a need to disseminate more information about ways to drive safely, not only during the rainy days, but also at night as these were the times when most accidents occurred.
Mr T Mulaudzi (EFF) said that the new board had managed to improve the efficiency of the entity in a very short space of time. He asked whether there was communication between the RTMC and sister entities like the Road Accident Fund (RAF) and the South African National Road Agency Limited (SANRAL). There was a need to deal with the fragmentation of traffic officers throughout the provinces. The RTMC needed to ensure that there was standardisation on the uniform of traffic officers. He urged the RTMC to offer assistance to traffic officers in rural areas, by expanding its national footprint. What was the strategy in place to ensure that traffic officers prioritised road safety, instead of generating funds? The training of traffic officers was still the same as in 1966, and this required a turnaround strategy to ensure that the driving school curriculum was updated. He also echoed the view that the K53 was not effective and needed to be reviewed. He suggested the establishment of a council where traffic officers would be required to register as practitioners, so as to monitor the suspended, dismissed and charged traffic officers.
The RTMC needed to communicate with SANRAL to deal with issue of potholes, as this was contributing to road fatalities. There was a need to manage and regulate the blue-lights as this was interrupting the flow of traffic. The entity also needed to monitor and regulate hazardous goods on the roads. The RTMC needed to be clear on its strategy to curb drunk driving, especially dealing with the eradication of the alcohol limit for driving. He asked whether there was a possibility to have an annual cost analysis of road accidents in the country. He suggested that the RTMC needed to centralise the accident investigators throughout the provinces.
Mr G Radebe (ANC) recommended that the RTMC should provide facilities to apprehend people caught drunk and driving. He asked whether the RTMC had enough capacity to take over the three particular functional areas. What was the alternative source of funding model for the RTMC? He wanted the specifications for the commencement of training of traffic officers, and the dedicated police stations that would be responsible for the completion of the AR forms. What was the relationship between the RTMC and the provinces? This was in relation to the visible disjuncture in the release of statistics on road fatalities. He suggested that the RTMC needed to start preparing to deal with the issues of gender equity and transformation.
Ms S Xego-Sovita (ANC) mentioned that a lot of work had been done by the RTMC in a short period of time. It was good that the RTMC prioritised road safety in its strategic objectives. What strategy was in place to rollout the awareness programmes on road safety? Was there a system in place to manage the issuing of traffic fines?
Mr M Sibande (ANC) suggested that there was a need amend the legislation of 1966 (National Road Traffic Act) as it was outdated and not aligned to the trajectory of the current government. There was a need to provide time-frames for the completion of the key performance indicators. There was a need to standardise the system of recording road fatalities throughout the provinces. What were other pieces of legislation that were outdated and still needed to be reviewed? He was concerned that some of the provinces were using a lot of money on consultancy.
The Chairperson said due to time constraints, the RTMC needed to summarise the responses to the questions posed by the Committee Members. She asked if it was possible for the entity to provide the Members with the budget it expected to execute its strategic objectives.
Adv Majavu remarked that all the questions posed by the Members had been noted and needed to be taken into consideration. The RTMC was only obligated to execute its strategic objectives based on its legislative mandate. The RTMC had deliberately refrained from offering time-frames for the completion of the key performance indicators, as there were certain fundamental imperatives that needed to precede that. The RTMC was in a state of readiness to present its proposals to the shareholders on 19 September 2014. He reiterated that the RTMC was only as good as the legislation that had brought it into being and in the next five years, the entity was expecting to be fully-fledged, with all the structures in place. The specification on the time-frames for the execution of the key performance indicators was expected in the next financial year. He stated that the RTMC would provide a written response to all the questions posed by the Members.
The Chairperson said that the RTMC needed to resolve the issue of its legislative mandate, as it was likely to affect the entity going forward. The issue of road safety needed to be a matter of emphasis, as road fatalities had a socio-economic impact on the country.
The Chairperson said that the DoT would not be allowed to proceed with the presentation on its 2014/15 first quarter expenditure, as the presentation contained incorrect figures, and it would be an embarrassment for the errors to be corrected during the presentation.
Adoption of minutes
The Chairperson asked Members to consider the minutes of 9 September 2014
Mr Hunsinger suggested that the question on the alternative funding model for the Road Accident Benefit Scheme (RABS Bill) needed to be answered by the RAF. The focus on the RABS Bill meeting was also not noted in the minutes.
Ms Boshiole said that the first sentence on page 4 needed to be restructured to make sense. She also mentioned that it needed to be noted that the Members had already agreed that the implementation of the RABS Bill still needed to be discussed and reviewed, as the Department had promised to provide dates for such proceedings.
Mr Ramatlakane moved the adoption of the minutes, and Ms Xego-Sovita seconded.
The minutes were adopted with amendments.
The meeting was adjourned.
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