Two of the entities falling under the Department of Transport (the Department) briefed the Committee on their Strategic and Annual Performance Plans for 2014/15. The Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) said that its plan was premised on results and outcome-based management, with emphasis on outcomes and impacts and made explicit provision for organisational learning and accountability. It also differentiated between strategic, tactical and operational targets, focused on the external environment and was placing greater emphasis on collaboration and intra-departmental work. The strategic approach supported the policy framework for the Government-Wide Monitoring and Evaluation System (GWMES). It was noted that in this year and the following two years, the RSR would be focusing on execution of the strategy, but a higher level focus on external impacts would require it to look at critical issues such as value creation, sustainable growth of rail as a safe, reliable cost-effective and more energy efficient mode of transportation, and stakeholder engagement. The RSR needed to understand the risk landscape, global best practice and demonstrate an integrated approach.
Members commended the Regulator on its target for 60% for the new procurements from Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Enterprises, but some suggested that the focus should be on cooperatives and engineering companies in order to progressively empower the Historically Disadvantaged Individuals (HDIs), and asked for more detail on the strategy. One Member objected to the focus on "black economic empowerment" and questioned whether this was not discriminatory to other groups. More than one Member pointed out that a number of targets were not reached and questioned whether they were not perhaps too ambitious and wondered how that would affect the next audit reports. They sought confirmation that the previous problems with the inadequate financial statements had been addressed and asked whether the current legislation would require review or amendments, particularly given the budget. They expressed displeasure at the lack of representation from the Department of Transport at the meeting.
The Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) was committed to six strategic objectives for the 2014/15 period, which included: enforcement of compliance by penalising contravention of road traffic laws and payment of penalties, changing of the behaviour of road users, increasing the administration & resourcing of the Agency and access to Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) information management processes. Greater focus was also needed on generating and disseminating road safety information and training initiatives. It was noted that the The other strategic objectives included generation, packaging and dissemination of road safety information. Detail was provided on each of the strategic objectives and how they would be achieved. It was emphasised that the RTIA had now taken over functions and bank accounts under the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act, and since that date, more than R250 million was disbursed to implementing agents and the Agency. New partnerships were established. Policies included plans to penalise guilty offenders through de-merit points, and rewarding good behaviour through reduction of such points, as well as strengthening cooperation between law enforcement and prosecuting authorities. It would be important to ensure that there was a highly visible and efficient law enforcement operation, on a continuous basis, and it was reported that a recent survey regrettably ranked South Africa very low on law enforcement rates. Whilst infringement revenue had increased, the budget for expenditure had also, because the RTIA was increasing its capacity, but it was pointed out that there were no longer questions about its status as a going concern. Cash flow was strong and net surplus was realised in the financial period. It had an unqualified audit opinion but the Auditor-General would also be looking into reviewing the AARTO accounts in line with municipalities' year-end dates. By 31 March, R133m total revenue was disbursed to and 98% of revenue was paid out, with 2% payable after collection from other municipalities. Challenges facing the RTIA varied, through National Contraventions Register (NCR) functionalities, lack of correct address details on NCR to update on document delivery status, and incorrect vehicle type list and rules on the system. There had been refusal by Electronic National Traffic Information (eNaTIS) contractor to cooperate with assessment, whilst road safety education, marketing and communication, lack of a comprehensive National Road Safety Strategy and the need for stronger enforcement of penalties and a credible database also needed to be addressed.
Members expressed concern that the Agency had only 4 call-centres, which was out of kilter with the size of the country and number of drivers and vehicles. They commented that the R56 million budget for postage was a lot of money, and there was a need to consider migrating to electronic services to send invoices on traffic infringement, as this was more convenient and likely to save scarce resources, as well as to consider whether other processes could not also be automated. They asked what the situation was with postal charges and delivery during the strike, and wondered if the 21 days for adjudication of offences was realistic. Members queried the difference in the budgets for compensation of employees over the medium term years. They asked if National Treasury had given an support for the shares of fine collection as the payments were now able to be made nationwide, asked if provinces and municipalities were ready for this, and how it would work. They wondered how RTIA would persuade more people to pay. They also questioned the content, cost and capacity to run the rehabilitation programmes. They asked when the new legislation was likely to be brought to the Committee, and urged that the RTIA should be getting its own budget, not reliant on the Department.
Members adopted the minutes of the meeting on 4 November.
The Acting Chairperson noted a number of apologies from the Acting Director General and Acting Deputy Director Generals from the Department of Transport (DOT or the Department) and from Mr Japh Chuwe, Chief Executive Officer of the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA), as well as from Members of the Committee.
Railway Safety Regulator: Strategic and Annual Performance Plans 2014/15
Mr Nkululeko Poya, Chief Executive Officer, Railway Safety Regulator indicated that the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR or the Regulator) placed priority on overseeing and enforcing railway safety in the country, which was particularly important given that the majority of people in South Africa used railway as a form of commuting. The 2014/15 strategic approach was premised on results and outcome-based management, with emphasis on outcomes and impacts. The plans made explicit provision for organisational learning and accountability. They also differentiated between strategic, tactical and operational targets, were more focused outwards, on the external environment, and placed greater emphasis on collaboration and intra-departmental work. The strategic approach supported the policy framework for the Government-Wide Monitoring and Evaluation System (GWMES). The policy aimed to establish a political and administrative culture characterised by accountability, continual improvement, efficiency, a concern for ethics and avoidance of conflicts of interest by facilitating a clear sequence of events based on critical reflection and management action. This was in response to an analysis of the relationships between the resource inputs, service delivery outputs and their associated outcomes and impacts.
Mr Poya stated that the 2015/16 and 2018-19 financial years will focus on strategy execution and a higher level focus on external impacts. This would require specific attention to the following:
- value creation, contributing to sustainable growth of rail as a safe, reliable and cost-effective and more energy efficient mode of transportation
- stakeholder engagements~
- understanding the risk landscape
- the RSR must practice and demonstrate integrated thinking
- concentration on an upwards matrix-transformation journey.
The strategic objective 1.1 focused on ensuring that there would be effective compliance with legislation, by conducting sufficient and effective audits and investigations. The Key Performance Indicator (KPI) used was on the number of inspections conducted. The Regulator conducted 25 out of 120 targeted inspections for quarter 1, and 33 out of 30 targeted inspections for quarter 2. There were 21 of the targeted 20 audits undertaken for quarter 1, and 25 out of 25 audits undertaken in quarter 2.
The strategic objective 1.2 focused on ensuring continuous improvements in railway safety through innovation and this could be achieved by paying more attention to research and implementation of innovative techniques and methods. The KPI used was the strategy to regulate the maintainer developed. The target was achieved for quarter 1, as a literature review was completed and first draft of the strategy to regulate the maintainer developed was completed and the target achieved for quarter 2.
The strategic objective 1.3 concentrated on strengthening the regulatory framework and approach and this was to mitigate risks of occurrence, by designing and establishing an appropriate regulatory framework to oversee, monitor and enforce railway safety. The KPI used was the impact of the regulatory framework and tools assessed. The target was not achieved in both quarter 1 and 2 and the RSR was therefore still looking to achieve this target.
The strategic objective 2.1 focused on cultivating and instilling a culture of safety in the stakeholder environment by driving education initiatives and effective communication. The KPI used was on education awareness campaigns conducted, but the target was not achieved in both quarter 1 and 2 due to other operational activities, and the workshops were postponed to quarter 3. The RSR managed to have one stakeholder engagement session for both quarter 1 and quarter 2, therefore the target was achieved.
The strategic objective 2.2 focused on informing stakeholders on the state of safety in rail, in order to increase public knowledge and guide stakeholders on the issues and challenges in the rail environment. The KPI used was on reporting to the South Africans on the state of safety in rail and number of External Technical Safety initiatives. The RSR failed to failed to submit a report in quarter 1 but the report was approved by the Board in quarter 2, and therefore the target was achieved. There were two External Technical Safety workshops conducted for quarter 1 and three for quarter 2, and both of the targets were achieved.
The strategic objective 3.1 paid more attention on a process for RSR safety assurance of rail investment and technological changes, so as to guide the industry investment to ensure safety compliance and improvements. The KPI used was on technology reviews conducted. 80% of the total technology reviews were done in quarter 1 and the target was achieved. There were 25 out of the 35 reviews received conducted for quarter 2.
The strategic objective 3.2 focused on ensuring corporate sustainability and growth. The KPI used was on the number of initiatives to assist South African Development Community (SADC) countries and the communication strategy implemented. There was already an infrastructure and rolling stock audits in Namibia. However, the target was not achieved for quarter 1 and 2 as a number of initiatives were still scheduled to take place in Namibia and required a set amount of days to be completed. The RSR did not manage to book sufficient time to conclude these audits, due to conflict of schedules between RSR and the operator. The progress report on the process of establishing the call centre was completed for quarter 1 and 2, and the target was achieved.
The strategic objective 4.1 focused on ensuring that there was effective resource management to support the sustained growth and development of the RSR. The KPI used was on the percentage of revenue effectively collected, the National Information and Monitoring System (NIMS) implemented and procurement from black owned enterprises. In quarter 1, only10% out of the target of 95% revenue was generated from exchange transactions collected, and the target was not achieved. The gazette containing the new permit fees schedule was issued in May 2014, resulting in RSR having to grant extensions to permits expiring in quarter 1. In quarter 2, 35% of revenue was generated from exchange transactions collected and the target was achieved. The target of 60% for new procurement from Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE) Enterprise was not achieved for both quarter 1 and 2, and the RSR promised to endeavour to achieve the target of 60% for the financial year, recognising that it was important to empower black owned enterprises.
Ms D Carter (COPE) said she supported the intention behind the B-BBEE target, but questioned whether the Regulator was getting the same product for the same value as previously. The issue of fronting needed to be addressed, as it seemed that transport initiatives were not in fact directly benefiting the Historically Disadvantaged Individuals (HDIs).
Ms Thembi Msibi, Acting Chairperson, RSR, responded that B-BBEE did not mean that there would be substandard service and the Board ensured that the standard was kept to the same level.
Ms Carter asked if there was any fruitless and irregular expenditure in the first quarter, as this was not mentioned in the presentation.
Mr Solomzi Maye, Chief Financial Officer, RSR, responded that there was no irregular and unauthorised expenditure in the first quarter. The issue of fronting needed to be addressed, as he agreed that this was robbing the country and the very intention behind the B-BBEE.
Mr M Sibande (ANC) welcomed the presentation and sought clarity on why the Regulator required additional funds while there was still money available, according to the final statements. He asked what exactly was the problem with the finances. He suggested that comments from the Auditor-General (AG) should be included in the presentation, as this would assist the Committee on issues that required emphasis. He asked if the RSR had a risk management function. He expressed concern that the Regulator had unrealistic targets, as it was clear that most of the targets from quarter 1 and 2 were not achieved, and said this was directly linked to the under expenditure of the budget.
Ms Msibi apologised for not including the comments made by the AG, but promised to provide the Members with these when the RSR next reported to the Committee. The risk management function was fulfilled within the Audit and Risk Committee and it is an important Committee that reports to the Board on how to deal with risk.
Mr Maye added that the comments made by the AG included the concerns around the failure to disclose the lease and this had now been addressed. The funds available for the Regulator was for all the budgeted activities up until the end of the current financial year and the figures did not mean there were additional funds that had not been utilised.
Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC) said the presentation was encouraging, as it was clear that a lot of good work had been done. He asked whether the current Act required any reviewing, amendment or assessment, especially when taking into consideration the budget allocation. He was impressed about the 52% achieved for the B-BBEE but wondered about the footprint of the B-BBEE itself, and the measures required to assess the contract, especially considering the commitment on job creation and skills development. He sought clarity whether the 60% for the new procurement from B-BBEE Enterprises was a quarterly or annual target.
Mr Poya responded that the current version of the Act had been in existence since 2008, and the Regulatory Impact Assessment was done in order to understand where the Regulator was going wrong. and what strategies should be put in place to address the challenges. The 60% for the new procurement was both a quarterly and annual target, and this showed how the Regulator was serious about transformation and empowering HDIs in the country.
Mr T Mulaudzi (EFF) welcomed the presentation but pointed out that the phrase "Black Owned Enterprises" was unconstitutional, as it was exclusionary to other South Africans, such as whites and coloureds, in the country and violated the very basis of the Constitution. He asked what was the strategy in place to achieve 60% of new procurement from B-BBEE.
Mr Poya responded that the phrase "Black Owned Enterprises" was part of the legislation that had been agreed upon by Parliament, and this had focused on progressively empowering black people in the country, so he did not feel there was any need to be apologetic about that.
Ms P Boshielo (ANC) remarked that it was difficult to link the objective statements and the outcomes, and this was because the regulatory framework was more of the Department of Transport (DoT) than the entity. She too thought the targets may not be realistic, and asked the reason for putting unrealistically high targets, as this was likely to affect the statement of the finances and performance. She suggested that if the Regulator planned to cut the budget then it needed to reconsider the number of initiatives to be undertaken to assist SADC countries. The Regulator should focus on cooperatives for the target of 60% of new procurements from B-BBEE enterprises, as they had the potential to empower HDIs.
Ms Msibi responded that the Board was very clear that 60% of new procurements from B-BBEE enterprises had to go to the core services of the Department, which were specialised services and engineering companies.
Mr Poya added that it was critically important to transform the sector and empower the HDIs, in order for South Africa to move forward. South Africa already had the capacity to use its resources to assist the SADC countries, and this did not require additional funds. The purpose of these initiatives was to ensure that the SADC countries were on the same level as South Africa, especially around regulatory systems, so as to allow the free flow of goods between the various SADC countries. The targets were monitored by the internal auditors and progress on them was reported to the Board and Audit and Risk Committee, and there would be no recurring findings within the , as internal controls had been put in place to deal with the issue. The Annual Report showed that there had been progress and the Regulator was doing exceptionally well in terms of meeting the targets at the end of financial year.
The Chairperson requested the Regulator to explain the diagram on page 5 of the presentation, about RSR’s new strategic direction. She asked who were the external stakeholders and what were their roles towards ensuring that there would be safety in railway transport, and asked whether they understood the operating environment.
Mr Poya explained that the diagram on page 5 showed that, over time, the Regulator would be required to make the changes necessary to respond to the regulatory framework. The Regulator would need to collaborate with other operators in order to achieve its mandate and vision. The future of the Regulator was about making impact on the communities and introducing a risk approach to regulation, so that the communities can be a lot safer.
Mr G Radebe (ANC) asked whether the unachieved targets were not going to affect the audit opinion at the end of the 2014/15 financial year. The Department would have to produce an explanation on why the Regulator was failing to achieve its target. The Auditor-General (AG) mentioned concerns around the predetermined objectives and he asked if the Regulator had managed to do a follow up and rectify this challenge in the current financial year. He sought clarity on whether the Regulator managed also to fix the problem of inadequate financial statements.
Mr Radebe agreed that B-BBEE was a policy and legislation that had been agreed by the Parliament and it was good that the Regulator prioritised 60% of new procurements from B-BBEE enterprises.
Mr Maye responded that the Regulator would be open to the AG, regarding the reasons for the failure to achieve the targets. The Regulator had managed to do a follow up regarding the predetermined objectives, so as to achieve the targets.
Mr Sibande was grateful to hear that the Regulator had stated that there would be no recurring findings from the AG but suggested that this needed to be noted specifically, as entities often made similar promises and then expressed surprise when the AG's report was released.
Mr Ramatlakane appreciated the fact that Mr Poya had effectively "put his head on the block" to promise that there would be no recurring findings from the AG on the unachieved targets, and hoped that there were measures in place to fulfil the promise. He asked if the B-BBEE model was based on small or big companies in the transport field where RSR was operating.
Mr Radebe remarked that the presentation showed that numerous targets were not achieved but failed to mention the real cause of such underachievement. He maintained that it seemed clear that the Department was abdicating its responsibility, and this should not be taken lightly as it undermined Parliament. It was also of concern that the Deputy Director General of the DOT who was responsible for rail transport was not present in the meeting, and instead chose to send someone with no particular knowledge around rail transport to answer the questions posed by the Members.
Mr Sibande remarked that there was indeed a missing link between the Department and the Regulator and it was unfortunate that the Department had once again shown some disregard for the Committee, and he suggested that this matter should be taken directly to the Minister.
Mr John Motsatsing, Chief Director: Road Transport, Department of Transport, responded that he was not responsible for the RSR but for RTIA, and therefore had no particular knowledge around the recent developments between the RSR and the Department
The Chairperson said the Department of Transport must provide the Committee with an explanatory letter on the reasons why the DDG responsible for the RSR was absent. It was clear that there was a lot of work that had been done by RSR, but this would require assistance from the Department, and this was clearly lacking.
Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) briefing on Annual and Strategic Plans 2014/15
Mr Thabo Tsholetshane, Chief Operations Officer, Road Traffic Infringement Agency, noted that the Board of the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA or the Agency) had dispensed its mandate as best it could and exercised its fiduciary duties vigilantly. The Board and management were committed to good governance, evidenced by excellent audit performance. Performance was attributable to a strict control and compliance environment.
He noted that the Agency had now duly implemented the Minister’s resolution regarding the transfer of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act function and bank accounts - an impediment that had plagued the Agency from inception. Since take-over of AARTO function, more than R250 million had been disbursed to implementing agents (IAs) and the Agency to date. The Minister's and the Deputy Minister’s leadership role on road safety, with the 2013 summit, had galvanised the Agency’s efforts. New partnerships had been established, in particular, with the inter-faith movement from the local communities.
The RTIA’s vision was to have an informed, compliant and safe road user community and the general mandate was to encourage payment of traffic penalties, establish effective adjudication procedures and alleviate the burden on courts for trying offenders. The Agency also prioritised penalising guilty offenders through de-merit points, and rewarding good behaviour through reduction of such points, and also strengthening cooperation between law enforcement and prosecuting authorities.
The Agency was committed to six strategic objectives for the 2014/15 period and these included:
- enforcing compliance by penalising contravention of road traffic laws
- enforcing the payment of penalties
- changing the behaviour of road users
- increasing the administration & resourcing of the Agency
- increasing access to AARTO information management processes
- generation, packaging and dissemination of road safety information
Strategic objective 1 focuses on enforcing and penalising and contravention of road traffic laws and the sub-programmes here focus on implementing effective adjudication processes, rehabilitation programme and establishment of Traffic Rehabilitation Schools (TRS) model. The emphasis is also on serving courtesy letters and enforcement orders and providing an updated and reliable National Contraventions Register (NCR). The RTIA managed to achieve 151 734 adjudications in the previous financial year, in excess of the planned target of 44 000, and the reason for exceeding that target was mainly due to Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) adjudications for infringement notices issued outside the provisions of Section 30 of the Act. The medium term targets included 100% representation on adjudication for both 2014/15 and 2016/17 financial years.
Strategic objective 2 focuses on enforcing the payment of penalties and the sub-programmes here focus on increasing collection of current infringement revenue (new infringements) and outstanding infringement revenue (old debt). The target of increasing collection of current infringement revenue was achieved in the previous financial year, as R80.7 million, and that of increasing outstanding infringement for old debt was partly achieved, as R4.0 million out of the planned target of R45.4 million was collected. The reasons for these figures included non-rollout of AARTO and non-compliance with the AARTO Act by all role players. The medium term targets showed that in 2014/15 the Agency had so far collected R240 million traffic penalties, and planned to increase this to R375 million by 2016/17.
Strategic objective 3 focuses on public awareness and education and the sub-programmes here focus on reviewing and enhancing the effectiveness of public awareness and education programmes and entering into strategic partnerships to market AARTO with key strategic stakeholders. Both of these sub-programmes were achieved although insufficient financial resources presented challenges. The medium term targets included establishing strategic partnerships and conducting 22 public awareness and community outreach programmes.
Strategic objective 4 pays more attention on increasing access to AARTO across the country and the sub-programmes included the preparation report of AARTO rollout readiness for all IAs; rollout AARTO to IAs and then monitoring the implementation of the AARTO in all authorities. The medium term targets included developing concept document on AARTO Information Management System by 2014/15 and eventually implementing the AARTO Information Management System by 2016/17.
Strategic Objective 5 mainly focuses on enhancing administration and resourcing of the RTIA and the sub-programmes highlighted the need for capacitating staff at the RTIA and acquiring enabling infrastructure. The medium term targets emphasise the need to have 160 total staff capacity by 2014/15 and again increase to 202 by 2016/17. The Agency’s capacity could be expanded through infrastructure support programmes, organisational support infrastructure maintenance and the support of regional offices.
Strategic objective 6 focuses on generation, packaging and dissemination of road safety information and this is a newly introduced strategic objective by the Agency. The medium term targets for 2014/15 highlighted the implementation of monitoring and evaluation framework, model and tools. The quarterly monitoring reports are to be completed by 2015/16 and the mid-term evaluation is to be completed by 2016/17.
Mr Tsholetsane indicated that it would be important to ensure that there was a highly visible and efficient law enforcement operation, on a continuous basis. However, world-wide best practice proved that for law enforcement to be effective, it must be supported by equally effective public awareness, communication and education programmes; as well as a highly efficient, transparent and expeditious adjudication process to bring traffic offenders to task. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) “Global Status Report on Road Safety” , South Africa’s quality of law enforcement rates ranked amongst the worst in the world – 2.6 out of 10, compared with the world average of 6.0 and a high of 8.6 (France).
Ms Palesa Moalusi, Chief Financial Officer, RTIA, stated that the category Infringement Revenue had increased significantly in the last financial year and this one, but there was also an overall increase in expenditure as the Agency was capacitating itself and obtaining the necessary resources to fulfil its mandate. There had been some worries about whether it was a going concern in the past, but that assumption was now positive, due to improved performance and financial indicators. It was also clear that cash flow is strong and net surplus realised in the financial period. The AARTO was transferred to RTIA in October, and this was audited by the AG. The monthly reconciliations were done and the revenue was disbursed to IAs. By 31 March, R133m total revenue was disbursed to and 98% of revenue was paid out, with 2% payable after collection from other municipalities. Prior to October 2013 the issuing authorities were not receiving any infringement revenue and therefore not cooperating. The AG had suggested reviewing AARTO accounts in line with municipality year end dates. The AG would assess and make findings on AARTO accounts separately.
The Agency obtained a clean audit for 2013/14 financial year and this was the first comprehensive and integrated audit undertaken. The AG audited performance information and issued an opinion on each strategic objective individually, for the first time. The AARTO accounts were also reviewed separately and no material findings were issued. The RTIA recognised the critical role it played on road safety and was fully committed to achieving its mandate. During the current financial period the Agency planned to continue with its relentless focus towards effectively dispensing its duties and establishing a lasting legacy for sustainable road safety
Mr Tsholetsane took the Committee through the challenges still facing the entity. These included:
- National Contraventions Register (NCR) functionality
- Lack of correct address details on NCR (as evidence by a 62% rejection rate by South African Post Office (SAPO)
- Lack of updates on document delivery status
- Incorrect vehicle type list and rules on the system
- Refusal by eNaTIS Contractor to cooperate with assessment
- The continuous need for more road safety education, marketing and communication campaigns
- Lack of Comprehensive National Road Safety Strategy
- Enforcement of penalties & credible database
Ms Boshielo expressed concern that the Agency had only four call-centres, considering that the country had over 10 million vehicles and 8 million drivers. She noted that the RTIA would have to deal with the time-frame of 21 days for the adjudication of the case. She wondered if there was a possibility that the RTIA could automate some of the programmes so that people could submit a query or representation electronically. She pointed out that the R56 million budgeted for postage was a lot of money, and there too, there was a need to consider migrating to electronic services (e-mail) to send invoices on traffic infringement, as this was more convenient and likely to save scarce resources.
Ms Boshielo asked how the rehabilitation programme would work, and what the purpose was behind that.
Ms Boshielo pointed out, as a follow up to some of the issues already raised, that the Post Office strike was likely to affect the 21 days allowed for the adjudication of the case and wondered if there had been some strategy put in place to deal with that. She wondered also what the reason was for stipulating the 21 days for adjudication of the case in the Act, whilst the RTIA still lacked the resources to make this possible.
Ms Boshielo asked what had informed the R55 million projected budget for Information Technology (IT) in 2017/18. She remarked that it was of concern that the compensation of employees increased from R33 million in 2013/14, with further projected increases to R88 million in 2014/15 and R123 million in 2015/16. She felt that the RTIA would need to explore other alternative sources of funding instead of relying on traffic infringement as a source of funding, as this was likely to affect the enforcement of compliance with road safety.
Mr Tsholetsane responded that it was indeed a challenge to manage such a large amount of vehicles with only four call-centres, and there was a proposal to increase the call-centres to 20 throughout the country. The Agency had already begun the process of considering automation of some of programmes as this would make the process of inquiry and submission of representation run more smoothly. The R56 million for postage expenditure would be regarded as fruitless and wasteful expenditure because of the strike, but the Agency would not incur any actual loss as it would not pay the Post Office for non-delivered mail.
He stated that the Agency would look again at the principle behind the 21 days for the adjudication of the traffic offences but the thinking was to adjudicate the cases whilst people's memory was still fresh. He expressed concern that some of people used the time-frame to abdicate from their responsibility to pay traffic fines.
Mr Tsholetsane noted that the rehabilitation programmes were mainly set up for those individuals whose licences had been suspended, and the idea was to require them to re-do driving courses or undergo psychological help, and there was already funding for these programmes. The Agency was in the process of migrating to electronic services and this would surely save scarce resources and improve convenience.
Ms Moalusi responded that the setting up of the initial infrastructure was where the Agency (like other institutions) was likely to expend the most, and any sort of extensions and additions would cost less by way of comparison to the initial set-up. She admitted that the number of staff that the Agency planned to hire was set to increase, but that needed to be balanced with available resources. The Agency was planning a partnership with other transport entities to share the resources on the national rollout of RTIA, so as to lower the cost. The projected decline in budget in 2014/15 was directly linked to plans to share resources with the entities.
Mr Mulaudzi asked the Agency to brief the Members on IAs currently active and the status quo of all Metros and the provinces. He asked whether the money for traffic offenders adjudicated in court went to the Agency or the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development (DOJ&CD). He asked whether the Agency had any other sources of revenue, as this was not specified in the presentation.
(Mr Mulaudzi also asked that the Agency should explain to the Committee the reason for the escalation of budget for the compensation of employees, and the rehabilitation programme, and these questions were answered when dealing with the previous Member's questions).
Mr Mulaudzi asked what strategy was in place to ensure a conducive environment for the payment of traffic fines to any provinces.
Mr Tsholetsane responded that the Agency meet with provinces and Metros on a quarterly basis and most of the provinces vouched that they needed AARTO in their provinces. However, the Agency had taken further steps to ensure that indeed the provinces were ready to have AARTO in their provinces and this included the AARTO Issuing Authority Readiness Form. The money related to traffic fines went straight to the IAs, and not the Department of Justice. The Act itself stated that any other sources of funding were possible, without specification.
Ms Moalusi added that the increase of budget for compensation of employees was caused by the rollout of AARTO and currently the Agency was operating in Gauteng, Tshwane and Johannesburg Metros. However, when rolled out nationally this meant that it would be extended to the rest of the Metros in Gauteng and other eight provinces, which meant the RTIA would go from dealing with two Metros to 300 nationally. The more that people accepted that it was convenient and access was easy to paying fines, the more there would be compliance, and so the Agency just needed to maintain the relationship with all the payment platforms.
Mr Sibande asked about the relationship between the RTIA and the provinces and municipalities, as there was often lack of coordination between the provinces. He indicated that he was impressed by the pilot project in Mpumalanga, where a kombi collected about 800 000 traffic fines in two days and this needed to be rolled out to other provinces, especially rural areas. The Agency should provide the Committee with its organogram so the Committee could check whether transformation was taking place, whether based on race or gender. He asked when the legislation was likely to be reviewed and presented to the Committee.
Mr Tsholetsane responded that the relationship with the provinces was based on the Act, and that stated that once AARTO was implemented nationally, then whoever will be enforcing traffic laws in the country will do so under RTIA. The issue of transformation was raised by both the Board and the Ministry, and the Agency was taking action in that regard. There were positions reserved for women.
Mr Ramatlakane asked whether there was any National Treasury support for the share of fine collection as the payment was now countrywide and payable to any provinces. He also asked what was the reason for the overall decline in the budget allocation, and whether the RTIA had enough budget and capacity for the rehabilitation programmes. He too was interested in the status of the amendment of the AARTO Act.
Mr Poya responded that the Department of Transport would be in a better position to respond to the decline in budget allocation for RTIA.
Mr Radebe appreciated that the Agency was likely to employ additional staff but emphasised that this needed to go hand-in-hand with the resources to be allocated to the particular entities, as it was clear that the budget for facilities would decline from R15 million in 2013/14 to R6 million in 2014/15. Furthermore, the budget for IT systems was also set to decline, from R14 million in 2013/14 to R3 million in 2014/15.
Ms Moalusi repeated that the RTIA was planning to collaborate with other entities that were already well resourced, and there were targets for hiring people.
Mr Ramatlakane said this response was worrying, because the Agency needed to be allocated its own sufficient budget instead of collaborating with other entities, especially when it concerned the compensation of employees and the utilisation of facilities.
The Chairperson requested that the Department of Transport must provide the Committee with the legislative proposal on the first Portfolio Committee meeting of 2015.
Other business: Adoption of Committee minutes
Members considered and adopted the minutes of the meeting on 4 November, with no amendments.
The meeting was adjourned.
- PC Transport: RSR & RTIA on their Strategic & Annual Performance Plans 2014/15 - 2
- PC Transport: RSR & RTIA on their Strategic & Annual Performance Plans 2014/15 - 1
- PC Transport: Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) on its Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan 2014/15 briefing 2
- PC Transport: Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) on its Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan 2014/15 briefing 1
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