Department Response to Hearings on the National Land Transport Transition Act; Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offen

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18 September 2002
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report


18 September 2002

Mr J Cronin (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Amendment Bill [B42-2002]
Department Response to hearings on the National Land Transport Transition Act [document will be available here Wednesday, 25 September]

The Department of Transport briefed the committee on the responses to the NLTT Act. The contributions from various transport organisations like the South African Bus Operators Association (SABOA); the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) as well as others, were highlighted. Notable issues included the lack of public participation in the issues of public transport policy, recognition of SANTACO as a statutory body as well as the recapitalisation project in the taxi industry. The Department also briefed the Committee on the amendments to the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act.


Department response to hearings on NLTTA
Mr Jerry Makokoane: Director-General, Department of Transport, pointed out that their briefing is based on the information gathered during the public hearings into the NLTT Act. AReas of high concern were noted and they would accordingly try to attend to them. Certain areas would have to be addressed in accordance with governmental and Department priorities. He then handed over to Ms Nothnagel for her presentation.

Ms Antoinette Nothnagel highlighted to the committee that the South African Bus Operators Association (SABOA) presentation was based on a moratorium on the issuing of tenders in the light of funding shortfalls and disputes on the heads of agreement which included disputes between the government, organised labour and industry. The heads of agreement was signed between the three role players in order to support Black Economic Empowerment initiatives. Meetings have scheduled for 19 and 20 September 2002 in this regard. Secondly, the South African Commuters Organisation (SACO) noted the lack of public participation as a problem and secondly, also expressed concern regarding the capacity and funding in the local sphere of government.

The presentation by the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) submitted that there is no recognition of the body and they want to be recognised as a statutory body. They also argued that a specific Black Economic Empowerment model is required for the taxi industry. Thirdly, there is also uncertainty regarding the future role of the taxi industry. Fourthly, they expressed unhappiness regarding the withdrawal of permits and the fifth issue was the lack of subsidies and the need to develop a single land transport system.

Other issues raised included clarification on the role of regulations, limited progress by TETA (Transport Education and Training Authority), lack of progress with the recapitalisation process and the representation of non-councillors on taxi associations.

The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) pointed out in their submission that the NLTTA undermines local government legislation. Secondly, public transport is an added assigned function of the municipalities and funds should be provided in this regard. Thirdly, they pointed out also that provincial and national funds should be allocated to local authorities as well. Fourthly they pointed out that the definition of municipal public transport is not defined in the Constitution and lastly, they also highlighted a lack of capacity in the local government sphere.

The submission by the Ethekwini municipality highlighted problems with respect to unfunded mandates, lack of financial frameworks for taxi associations as well as a lack of adequate transport law enforcement amongst other things.

Mr Farrow (DP) asked if there is an action plan and time frame for introducing the Electronic Management System (EMS) for the taxi industry?

On the issue of EMS and the recapitalisation process thereof, the Mr Makokoane pointed out that they have arrived at the final stage of offering tenders. In conjunction with the DTI, six tendering companies have been short-listed. However, an important issue, which the Department insisted on, is the issue of EMS which is meant to address the issue of inter-operabilities within the system. They have set 4 October 2002 as the deadline to finalise this issue and, parallel to this process, they have been engaging SANTACO on the ownership and control of EMS.

Ms Mnumzana (ANC) asked about the recognition of SANTACO. Were they engaged by the Department and were they clear about why they were not recognised as a statutory body? Secondly, regarding their future role, has this been clarified and thirdly, how does the tender process in the Department work?

The DG pointed out that the tendering process is not only specific to certain areas in the transport industry, it covers the whole spectrum of the transport system; it is a uniform model to be followed throughout the various sectors. On the issue of the recognition of SANTACO, Ms Nothnagel pointed out that the association is aware of the government's position after they have engaged them. They are not happy with it, but they also know that what they are asking for cannot, unfortunately, be realised.

Mr Slabbert (IFP) stressed that SANTACO is the first democratically elected body in the taxi industry, yet it has no bite. He pointed out that the issue of bidding for operating licences would lead to a great disaster if not tackled well. Operators used to serving certain lines will not take kindly to a situation where they stand a chance of losing the bid. In fact, people would lose their lives if scenarios like these were to materialise.

Mr Makokoane, pointed out that the formation of SANTACO was meant to ensure that the violence experienced before does not happen again. The Department acknowledges that they have not reached this point yet, but considerable progress has been made. So far, they are satisfied with the role played by SATACO in addressing concerns and issues. At this stage, no splinter groups have been reported or come forward to the Department to complain about the bidding process, for instance.

Mr Slabbert said that while he appreciated the efforts of the Department, the problem was that they were taking a top-down approach to the taxi industry's problem. The government needs to start at the bottom by teaching the drivers proper ways of handling the public because they are currently undisciplined, aggressive and a law unto themselves. Law enforcement was a deficiency in the industry and taxi driver training is imperative.

On the issue of driver training, the Director General pointed out that the Transport Education and Training Authority (TETA) has embarked on a three-tier programme to train taxi operators to better handle the public. The levels of training are at managerial, associational and driver levels respectively. Such programmes are already in place in areas like Pretoria, where drivers were trained and issued with certificates. He also added that the Department has put money aside in its budget in the last two years specifically for this reason.

Briefing on Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Amendment Bill
Mr Sipho Khumalo: Head of Road Traffic Safety, highlighted several amendments to the main Act. He highlighted the amendments set out in the Bill, which included:
-Card type driving license being recognised for identification
-It also included municipal laws
-It set out prescribed procedures for procurement
-The number of board members was increased from three to five plus the registrar for the National Road Traffic Agency
-The Minister of Transport may recommend to the Minister of Justice to appoint sheriffs or deputy sheriffs
-Failure to pay or arrange instalments could result in an enforcement order.
-After representation has been made, the alleged infringer may opt to go to court only if advised by representations officer
-Penalties and fees may be paid to the local or nearest vehicle registering or driving licence testing centre.

Mr Khumalo noted that in Section 4 (a)(1) of the principal Act 'commercial' would be amended to 'relevant technical expertise'. He also suggested examining Section 7, which deals with the function of the RAF board. He further also suggested the substitution in Section 12 of 'registrar' with 'minister'. In Section 18 there is a need for a definition of 'representation officer'.

The Chairperson asked the Department to check what is clear and what is not in the bill for future purposes. The Committee agreed to read through both the act and the amendment bill to identify issues that they felt needed attention for the next discussion of the bill.

The meeting adjourned.


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