Road Freight Association: briefing

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20 September 2000
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Meeting report

20 September 2000

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Road Freight Association gave a briefing focussing on the following aspects:
· Introduction to the RFA
· Road Infrastructure
· Road safety
· Cross Border Transport
· Law enforcement
· Fuel
· Education Training and Development

Road Freight Association delegation: Mr Lemmer (CEO), Mr Paul Matthew and Mr Qondile Dyantyis

1.Introduction to the Road Freight Association
The RFA was established in 1975 by eight companies. It now enjoys 60% to 70% of the road industry. It has recently changed its Board to meet new demands in the industry. It has also added the following new functions to its structure:
· Education Training and Development
· Development Funding for the development of the emerging operators.

2.State of Industry
The deregulation of the road industry ten years ago has resulted to the following:
· Excess supply
· Rates under pressure
· Sustainability of the industry is in doubt.
· New entrants find it difficult to compete in the market because of rates.

3.Road Infrastructure
Current funding is inadequate and there is no progress in sight.
· Flood Damage - of the money put aside for floods, nothing has been spent on the roads.
· A previous agreement between the RFA and the government in respect of roads has not been honoured by the government.
· The provincial situation is worse. Hardly any money is spent on the maintenance of roads by the provinces.
· Government "talking" strategy - it seems as if the government has no funding for the road strategy.

4. Road Safety
After a spate of bus accidents last year, meetings were held and new regulations were formulated but, according to RFA, they are not satisfactory.
· There is a need for extra law enforcement without which there is going to be havoc on the roads.

5.Cross-Border Transport
Protocols are already signed but implementation is outstanding.
· There is lack of co-ordination. A need exists for involvement at senior level.
· VAT Implications - the VAT system is causing a lot of delays due to confusion on the part of the officials about the system. Border delays have serious implications for the industry.
· There is a dire need for harmonisation at the border posts.

6.Law Enforcement
· Impact on infrastructure - the lack of law enforcement on the roads in respect of illegal acts of overloading is impacting negatively on the roads. However there are pockets of excellence in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and Free State
· Law enforcement is imperative for fair competition in this industry.

The rising fuel costs are a major source of concern to the industry. The operators cannot pass on the pressure to the consumers.
The industry is already irritated about the rising fuel costs and there are even talks of strikes.

RFA's first AIDS project was started in April last year. A working committee was set up to look at AIDS in the industry. A project called "Operation Hot Spot" has been initiated working on the roads. Night classes are conducted to make drivers aware of HIV/AIDS. Mobile clinics have been sat up to focus on the health of the drivers as well as a Trucking Against AIDS Project. Permanent clinics are planned in Harrismith, Beaufort West, Messina and some of the border posts.

9.Education Training and Development
In line with the new dispensation the RFA has initiated the following programmes:
· Professional drivers academies.
· Skills development facilitators within the work place for small operators who cannot afford to employ trained staff.
· Training Code 14 drivers.
· Teaching owner drivers.

Member: What is the industry's reaction to speed reduction?
Mr Lemmer: With the latest devices to verify speed, we are likely to be comfortable with the speed reduction. We had a problem in the past with the devices they used to verify speed and therefore we were against speed reduction.

Member: Is there any form of financial assistance to members to purchase vehicles?
Mr Lemmer: With regard to assistance for our members, we are embarking on activities to help members buy vehicles, and not only for small industries but for bigger ones as well.

Member: Are you looking at the possibility of adopting the rail system in preference to road transport?
Mr Lemmer: In terms of rail-road interaction, we believe that loads can also go via rail, but there are accusations that the railway services do not provide good services. Moreover, we do not decide who uses the rail.

Member: Do you have the means to enforce the code of conduct? If yes, what are those measures?
Mr Lemmer: Yes, however, it is not strictly enforced as it stipulates the expulsion of a member.

Member: We were told of projects which deal with AIDS and STDs, do you have other programmes to effectively deal with other diseases like Malaria for cross-border drivers?
Mr P Matthew: We do not have projects on the borders to deal with other diseases, like Cholera. However, plans are in place to look into the issue. We do interact with the Department of Health to deal with the health issues affecting our drivers.

Member: How much transformation has taken place in RFA?
Mr Lemmer: The transformation process is under way but it is not as far as we would like it to be.

Member: I am interested in the Professional Drivers' Academies, are they inclusive of all drivers?
Mr Lemmer: They do not include Code 14 drivers but heavy truck drivers.

Member: What is your attitude about tolling?
Mr Lemmer: The new attitude towards tolling is that the monies generated from it should be used solely on roads and nothing else.


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