Documents: Comments from Transport for Cape Town’s Transport Authority [awaited]
On the second day of public hearings on the National Land Transport Amendment (NLTA) Bill, the Portfolio Committee on Transport received submissions from the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport, the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), Transport for Cape Town (TCT), the South African Metered Taxi Association (SAMTA), Transforum and four different taxi associations.
The Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport made it clear that the reason for the inclusion of its proposed amendments relating to the establishment of a Transport Authority (TA) in the NLTA Bill, was because Gauteng was unique, with three metropolitan municipalities and two district municipalities. It believed that the Transport Authority required an appropriate legislative framework, institutional arrangements and funding instruments, as the existing national and provincial legislation did not adequately provide a path for a transition from a Transport Commission to a Transport Authority, or for the establishment of a Provincial Transport Authority. It was also concerning that the bill had not taken into consideration the need for transport authorities in city-regions such as Gauteng, hence the need for the proposed departmental amendments. It proposed an amendment that “a province may pass legislation or enter into an agreement with one or more municipalities in the province for the joint exercise or performance of their respective powers and functions contemplated in this Act, and may establish a provincial entity or similar body in this regard, subject to the Constitution and this section.”
The Committee was concerned that the proposed amendments would perpetuate fragmentation within the three spheres of government. The bill should do away with inward-looking planning which did not necessarily take into account cross-boundary or other municipal issues. It was refreshing to see that the focus was on the coordination of more than one municipality and a province into an authority. It would be interesting to hear if there was a concerted effort to ensure that there was coordination between a metropolitan transport authority and a provincial transport authority. The relevant stakeholders at provincial level should be having a conversation around having an integrated fare system, as this would allow people to have a single ticket system that would integrate all the modes of transport.
The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) felt strongly that the definition of an “association” needed to clarify the legal standing of an “association”, particularly in relation to their members. The definition of “integrated public transport network” was generally welcomed. However, it was proposed that the words “if road based” should be excluded, and that the definition be rephrased to “have dedicated median or kerbside, with or without bus rapid transit systems”. It suggested that the extension of the “metered taxi service” in the bill should also include services like “Uber,” and be reworked so that the outcome was that the fee payable must be determined upfront. SALGA also proposed that the definition of “non-motorised transport” should state “both non-motorised and motorised wheelchairs and/or other similar modes”.
Members commented that the presentation by SALGA should have focused on regional economic growth and development, as the execution of the transport mandate had the potential to stimulate economic growth. There should also be a concerted effort for all relevant stakeholders to pull forces together to be a catalyst for mobility and transport services in the country. Some Members commented that it was still unclear as to which government department was controlling scholar transport. SALGA should brief the Committee on a proposed definition that would be appropriate to define the Integrated Public Transport Network (IPTN) .It would be interesting to hear the views of SALGA on where the “tuk tuks” should be best regulated. The presentation seemed to be quiet on where traditional leaders would be located within the three spheres of government and the role they would play, as they were an integral part of the system.
Transport for Cape Town (TCT) supported the reference that was made to “integrated public transport network, except for the words “if road based” when referring to dedicated rights of way, as it should refer not just to road, but also to rail. The definition should be amended to make it clear that the IPTN included road and rail. TCT proposed an amendment to make it clear that municipalities could also have their own branding for their public transport systems, as was the case at the moment. TCT also proposed that the word “intra-provincial” should be changed to “interprovincial” services, where the services crossed the boundaries of the province.
Members pointed out that the Act was framed in a way that it took into consideration that there was a huge unevenness within the municipalities in terms of capacity, so some of the responsibilities were conferred to the provincial government. They cast doubt on the ability of some municipalities to be responsible for the delivery of sustainable, integrated, efficient and safe public transport, taking into account the lack of capacity at the local government level. They were also concerns that most these modern public transport systems, like MyCiTi, were not covering the majority of people who were in dire need of efficient and safe public transport, and it was disappointing there had been no proposals on the issues to be addressed with regard to access to public transport.
Various taxi associations from around the country briefed Members on a number of challenges that were encountered by taxi operators. They complained about the limitations on the powers of the taxi associations, and said this was clearly creating confusion. They were also concerned that anyone could now apply and get the taxi operating licence, and this was creating further problems in the taxi industry. The Department needed to deal with the situation where a person was able to operate for the scholar transport and as a taxi driver, as this was causing conflict between the taxi associations. They were concerned about issues of distances and routes that were given to taxi drivers, as they were not allocated similarly or fairly. The bill should be able to address the persistent problem of the impounding of taxis, as this was causing resentment among taxi drivers. There was also the problem of taxi permits being taken away without any explanation.
Members clarified that while the Committee was not unsympathetic to the experiences of the taxi associations, this was not the correct forum to address such issues. This public hearing had to focus specifically on the bill, and those who were making submissions were expected to come up with suggestions for improvement. It was quite clear that compliance, enforcement and consequences should all be aligned in order to address the problems that had been flagged by the taxi associations.
Transforum stated that the definition of “integrated public transport network” met most of its concerns. However, it was suggested that Integrated Rapid Public Transport Networks should “have dedicated rights of way, if roads based”. This might be taken to mean that a corridor route should have such dedicated lanes along its whole length. Transforum further asserted that priority measures needed to be introduced where necessary as, in its view, on most of the routes buses and taxis could operate in general traffic. Members wanted to know if Transforum was proposing the introduction of High Occupancy Vehicles (HOVs) without naming them in the recommendations, as the proposal was mainly that the country needed to do away with lanes dedicated only for buses.
The South African Metered Taxi Association Forum (SAMTAF) proposed that the definition of “associations” in the bill should also cater for metered taxis that had been incorporated as companies. In addition, it was recommended that there should be a clear distinction between shuttle services and metered taxis. An argument was advanced that Parliament should find a way to ensure compulsory branding, as it was part of security, and currently the metered taxis were not easily identifiable. Parliament must also provide for roadworthiness of all modes of transportation to ensure the overarching principle of safety.
Members said it was concerning that most of the drivers of metered taxis were foreign nationals that had not been screened or vetted, and in most cases were in the country illegally. The metered taxi services were a mode of public transport as defined in the Principal Act, and therefore there was no reason for them to be given a definition in the bill. The Forum should elaborate on the statement that the metered taxi service was not getting any support from government. Some Members also sought clarity on whether the Forum was suggesting that the provincial regulatory entities should be independent from government, as it was impossible for the entities to be privatised. What were the reasons for the Forum calling for metered taxis that were using ‘apps’ to have rate charges and distances reflected on the vehicle? The taxi industry was not subsidised, and a big issue at the moment was about taxis saying they should also be subsided, like buses.
Briefing: Gauteng Department for Roads and Transport
Mr Ismail Vadi, Member of the Executive Council (MEC): Gauteng Department for Roads and Transport; indicated that the reason for the inclusion of proposed amendments relating to the establishment of a Transport Authority (TA) in the National Land Transport Amendment Bill, 2016 was because Gauteng was unique, with three metropolitan municipalities and two district municipalities. The provincial government, together with municipalities and entities such as the Gautrain Management Agency and Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), had separate and shared responsibilities for the management of public transport systems in their respective areas of jurisdiction, which did not always allow for integrated planning, co-ordination and system efficiencies.
Gauteng had established the Gauteng Transport Management Agency in 2008, which broadly was designed to fulfill the role of a Transport Authority. It was dis-established a year later by the former administration as part of the review of provincial entities. Gauteng’s 25-Year Integrated Transport Master Plan recommended that a fully-fledged Transport Authority be established for the Gauteng City-Region to plan, co-ordinate and facilitate an integrated transport system.
Mr Vadi said that the Executive Council had approved the establishment of the Gauteng Transport Commission (GTC), which had come into existence on 26 November 2013. A Memorandum of Understanding between the Department and all municipalities had been signed based on the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act (No.13 of 2005). The GTC served as an interim structure to manage five areas of co-operation on transport matters, namely:
- Non-motorized transport.
- Integrated rail planning.
- Bus rapid transit systems.
- Intelligent transport systems.
- Travel demand management.
In March 2016, the Department had successfully hosted an international conference on the concept of Transport Authorities for the Gauteng city-region. This was in partnership with the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) and the African Association of Public Transport (UATP). The aim was to develop an understanding of the concept of a transport authority and determine its appropriateness for the Gauteng city-region. 19 international and local speakers had made presentations on powers, functions and operating models of Transport Authorities and the underlying transport systems in their countries, states, regions or municipalities. A strong recommendation had been made that the Gauteng city-region should consider establishing a Transport Authority.
The Minister of Transport had expressed public support for the proposal. A Transport Authority required an appropriate legislative framework, institutional arrangements and funding instruments. The existing national and provincial legislation did not adequately provide for a transition from a Transport Commission to a Transport Authority, or for the establishment of a provincial Transport Authority. The National Land Transport Amendment Bill (2016) had not taken into consideration the need for transport authorities in city-regions such as Gauteng, hence the need for the proposed Departmental amendments.
Mr Vadi said that the province was proposing an amendment of section 12 of Act 5 of 2009, to include the following:
- “12(1) A province may pass legislation or enter into an agreement with one or more municipalities in the province for the joint exercise or performance of their respective powers and functions contemplated in this Act and may establish a provincial entity or similar body in this regard, subject to the Constitution and this section.”
- “12(1A) A provincial entity so established was a juristic person.”
- by the addition of the following subsections:
- “(4) Where the provincial entity as contemplated in subsection (1) was not established, two or more municipalities may enter into agreements for the joint exercise or performance of their respective powers and functions contemplated in this Act, subject to the Constitution and this Act.
- (5) A provincial entity contemplated in subsection (1) must at least be responsible for:
- the functions as set out in section 11(1)(b)(ii); (iii); (v); (vi); (vii), 11(1)(c)(vi); (ix); (xi); (xii); (xix); (xx); (xxii); and (xxvii);
- the promotion and support of non-motorised transport; and
- any other function which may be agreed upon by the members of the provincial entity.
Mr L Ramatlakane (ANC) said the presentation had been refreshing and had covered a number of topical issues. The Committee was concerned about the fact that the proposed amendments would perpetuate fragmentation within the three spheres of government. The Bill should do away with the inward looking of the planning, which did not necessarily take into account of cross-boundary situations, or another municipality. It was refreshing to see that the MEC was focused on the coordination of more than one municipality and a province into an authority. It would be interesting to hear if there was a concerted effort to ensure that there was coordination between the metropolitan Transport Authority and the provincial Transport Authority. It was unclear if the proposal for the introduction of an integrated fare system would rest upon the metropolitan Transport Authority or the provincial Transport Authority. The relevant stakeholders at provincial level should be having a conversation around having an integrated fare system, as this would allow people to have one single ticket system that would integrate all the modes of transport.
Mr M de Freitas (DA) said it was concerning that there was this “mishmash” of transport authorities and this would be further complicated by the fact that there were different political parties that were governing different municipalities. There was a need for the Department to ensure that there was a coordination of these transport authorities. The issue of planning, and integration of the ticketing system, should be the principles that would need to come first. The coordination of public transport should be done by provinces and this coordination should be done based on each of the province’s needs. What had been the attitude of the previous mayors in the province with regard to the integrated transport planning? It would be interesting to also hear if the MEC would have to start from scratch in terms of the integrated transport planning, since there were new mayors in Pretoria and Johannesburg. Members should also be invited to these various conferences, like the international transport conference that was being held by Gauteng province.
Mr C Hunsinger (DA) also appealed that the Committee should be invited to the conferences that were being held by the province, as they would provide more updated information in regard to transport planning in around the provinces. It would be important for the MEC to provide detailed information in regard to the statement that the transport authority required an appropriate legislative framework, institutional arrangements and funding instruments. It had been indicated that the existing national and provincial legislation did not adequately provide for a transition from a Transport Commission to a Transport Authority, or for the establishment of a provincial Transport Authority. It would be interesting to hear about the proposed amendments that could be effected on the legislation to address the problem of a lack of transition from a Transport Commission to a Transport Authority, or for the establishment of a provincial Transport Authority. The establishment of provincial competence over municipal competence should be kicked off as soon as there was a realisation of incompetence in a particular municipality in executing the basic functions, as described in the Constitution.
Mr M Sibande (ANC) said the MEC should comment on the accusation that had been made by previous submissions that it was uncalled-for for the province to have any roadblocks, as it had been labelled as “corruption”. It had been discovered that Uber had been operating illegally and without any licences. It would be important to hear if the proposals that had been forwarded by the MEC would cover those people that had been operating illegally and undermining the authority. The presentation had also mentioned four categories of police in the province. It was unclear if the system of each of these categories of police would be coordinated or were complementary to each other. Would each municipality get the same support for the improvement of transport modes?
Mr Sibande expressed concern that the presentation had failed to mention how the province would justify the spending on each municipality on the improvement of public transport. He wanted to know whether the proposed amendments that had been made by the MEC would address the problem of the lack of an integrated rail system. It was indeed concerning that the Committee was not being invited to the various conferences like the international transport conference, as this would provide Members with an opportunity to know what was happening in each of the provinces. The MEC should deal with those people who were operating like labour brokers in the transport sector, as they were not helping the country in terms of revenue collection
Mr G Radebe (ANC) asked whether the proposal for the establishment of a transport authority would not encroach on the powers of the municipal authority in terms of the separation of powers. There was a need to have a National Transport Act that would serve for the whole country, by fitting into all the provinces without encroaching on their authority. It would be important to hear about the future prospects for rural municipalities in regard to the matter of the establishment of the transport authority.
The Chairperson wanted to know about ways in which the country would be able to deal with intergovernmental relations once the legislation had been passed into law. It would be highly appreciated if the Committee could be briefed on some of the things which the Commission that the MEC had put in place, was doing.
Mr Vadi appreciated the level of support that was being shown by the Committee on the work that had been done in Gauteng. It was quite clear that the Committee was also open to the proposals that had been made on the bill. The province would certainly take legal advice on some of the complicated matters that were contained in the bill, especially in regard to the powers and functions of each sphere of government. The Department of Transport had now determined the national specification for e-ticketing, and what the requirement would be for any entity that would be introducing the e-ticket. It was good that the country at least had a standard for the e-ticket, as a standard was previously not in place. To bring the current Gautrain ticket now into compliance with the national specification and standards would cost about R120 million, and this was what the province was busy with at the moment. It was important to get the norms and standards upfront in order to save recurring cost, as this would make it possible to asses any project based on standards, rather than playing a “catch-up game”.
Mr Vadi said that the province had established a technical committee that would be looking at available options which would assist the province in moving towards a single ticket system. The province had looked at other models of single tickets in and around the world. It took the city of Istanbul, Turkey, about seven years and three phases of development to introduce a single ticket system. The issue of the single ticket system was also not only linked to the developments in Information Technology (IT) and standards, but also to the integration of the fares that were being charged by different modes of transport. It was clear that some transport fares were based on distance, while others were based on zones. It was easy to get one ticket for one system, but it was very complicated to get a ticket for multiple systems with multiple fare structures. The province was looking for a three-year period in order to begin to meet the national standards and get the transport integration going, and this would be a step-by-step process.
PRASA was already talking directly to the technical committee in regard to the introduction of an e-ticket system. The crux of the National Land Transport Amendment Bill was to devolve transport functions to the lowest possible level. The Bus Rapid System (BRT) was funded by National Treasury for metropolitan municipalities, and not for local municipalities. In regard to the issue of branding, there was an agreement that each and every mode of transport wanted its own branding and the province had tested the idea already. There was an agreement that there should be one logo for Gauteng. The City of Johannesburg was currently meeting with the Johannesburg Taxi Council, and it wanted the taxis to be branded the same colour as Rea Vaya’s (red, blue and white), and the province believed that this would be a good thing for Johannesburg. The law should allow for provincial legislation, as this would create a clear line of accountability and clear governance structures. All relevant parties should be represented in all spheres of government, and this was what the Bill should be able to adequately address. The province was quite aware that the taxi industry was divided into two national operators. There were also different bus operators, including the emergence of Uber, and this was further adding to the complexity of getting a representation and governance model from so many role players.
Mr Vadi said that the previous Mayor of Ekurhuleni had been supportive of the proposals that had been made on the bill, especially in regard to the issue of e-ticketing and the integration of public transport. He had been in support of the establishment of a transport authority, but he was also adamant that the province should not make a rushed decision on this matter as there were many complexities that were likely to be encountered. The original position of the SA Local Government Association (SALGA) had been that a transport authority should be made up only of municipalities, and should exclude the provinces.
The Committee had been invited to the international conference on the concept of Transport Authorities for the Gauteng city-region, and maybe there had been a lapse somewhere in terms of reaching proper communication. The province was quite clear that the transport authority should have highly competent people, as the establishment of an inefficient transport authority could very well be a burden in the future. The municipalities had been very serious on the issue of encroachment on their authority, and this was something that had been taken into consideration.
Mr Vadi said the reality was that the less industrialised municipalities were really battling, as they had little resources and little capacity, and what was emerging now was that a well-developed public transport system was mainly visible in the metro municipalities. The intention of the province was not to promote uneven development, particularly in highly urbanised municipalities. The metered taxi associations were highly divided. The province was clear from a policy point of view that these private players, like Uber, should fall under a broad regulatory framework. There was some coordination between the four categories of police in the province, although this was not always the case in some regions. The issue of corruption was not endemic in the province, but it was still being regarded as a problem. It was mostly concerning that some traffic departments were setting up roadblocks at seven o’clock in the morning, and this was having a tremendous impact on the economy as people would arrive late for work.
The issue of illegal operations, particularly around the taxis, was a very serious problem and the province was working hard on clearing out the backlog in terms of issuing licenes and permits. There were 50 000 taxis that were currently operating in Johannesburg illegally and the aggressive campaign of impounding these taxis was damaging relationships with the taxi operators. Gauteng was considered a mega city -- there were currently 13.5 million people in the city -- and the state-funded public transport system was not growing at a competitive rate. The taxi industry was able to assist as a form of public transport as the taxi drivers were agile, flexible and they also fully understood the market system. There were about 9 000 new applications for taxis and they had been collecting dust because of a lack of concurrence with the municipalities. The province had been engaging with the Department in terms of upgrading the system for the issuing of licences and permits, but without any response. The illegal operation of taxis was a major problem in the province, and the main issue was primarily on the processing of the permits and licensing. The three spheres of government should be able to work together equally, and support each other.
Briefing: South African Local Government Association (SALGA)
Mr Sibulele Dyodo, Road and Transport Specialist: SALGA, appreciated the challenges that were associated with the bus contracts administered by provinces. It noted the need by the Department of Transport and the provinces, through the Committee of Transport Officials, to extend the old and existing contracts by three years. However, the insertion of certain clauses in the Amendment Bill to address this challenge should not seek to delay and or derail the assignment of the public transport function to municipalities. The National Land Transport Act had been promulgated in 2009 with an intention that provinces were going to empower municipalities to take over the public transport function, which also included the contracting function, but it had been seven years and none of what had been stipulated in the Act had happened in terms of assignment.
SALGA strongly believed that the definition of an “association” needed to clarify the legal standing of an “association”, particularly in relation to their members. The definition of “integrated public transport network” was welcomed. However, the words “if road based” should be excluded. It was proposed that the definition be rephrased to: “have dedicated median or kerbside, with or without bus rapid transit systems”. Section b) of the definition should also be rephrased to: “which were high volume bus corridors served by an integrated feeder system and complementary system”. It was proposed that the extension of the “metered taxi service” in paragraph (c) should include services like “Uber” and be reworked so that the outcome was that the fee payable must be determined up front. The definition of “non-motorised transport” should state “both non-motorised and motorised wheelchairs and/or other similar modes”. It was further contended that the definition needed to be more specific and must also include “electric bikes, pedicabs and segways”. However, the additional problem with a pedicab was that it carried passengers, but was non-motorised.
Mr Dyodo proposed that there should be an amendment of section 5 of the NLTA (No. 5 of 2009) – Functions of the Minister. The functions of the Minister also need to refer to the Road Traffic Act and associated functions in terms of this Act. In relation to the Amendment of section 8 of the NLTA (No. 5 of 2009) – Regulations by Minister -- this clause should also include those regulations that dealt with the provision of public transport to all categories. Subsection f(A) needed to make provision for a consultation process so that the recurring violent protests by taxi operators could be avoided.
The sub-section 8(1) (h) amendment assumed that this amendment enabled branding per municipality and took into account the amendment to allow for alternative branding of 6m vehicles. SALGA believed that the Minister of Transport had the powers to receive an annual report on the state of transport affairs in the province. This report included reports from municipal regulatory entities. In order to compile this report, municipalities would need to increase capacity so that they hada dedicated resource to execute the mandate.
The function of contracting for municipal services should remain as stipulated in the current NLTA. In this regard, the Department of Transport (in addition to the provinces) needed to capacitate municipalities to properly perform the contracting function, since the provision under the current NLTA of leaving the capacitation of municipalities to provinces had not worked to date. Capacitation of municipalities should be a joint effort between the national and provincial spheres of government. SALGA was proposing an amendment of section 15 of the NLTA (No. 5 of 2009) – Intermodal planning committees. It was submitted that under sub-section 2 of section 15, clarity had to be provided regarding which modes of transport were being referred to in terms of the function of an intermodal planning committee, to coordinate and integrate public transport between the modes.
In relation to the amendment of section 39 of the NLTA – Relationship of public transport services, it was maintained that the addition of sub-section 3 did not cater for the situation where no licences had existed. Furthermore, the planning authority could not take steps to cancel operating licences and permits. The text should rather state that, “upon recommendation/request of the planning authority, the regulatory entity shall take steps/measures to cancel..”
Mr Dyodo concluded that there should be an amendment in section 70 of the NLTA – Tuk tuks. The planning authorities needed to develop guidelines on how tuk tuks could be integrated in the area of jurisdiction, and prescribe the services for which they could be used, and how these services could be operated. The guidelines should address the scope and range of operations, and prescribe the distance -- for example, not more than a 5 km radius. The criteria and conditions must address the following critical issues to ensure that the introduction of two and three-wheeler public transport was undertaken successfully:
- Safety of passengers and other road users.
- Unfair competition with other public transport operations (and without consultation).
- Impact on the surrounding land use.
Mr Hunsinger suggested that the presentation of SALGA should have focused on regional economic growth and development, as the execution of the transport mandate had the potential to stimulate economic growth. There should also be a concerted effort for all relevant stakeholders to get together and pull forces together to be a catalyst for mobility and transport services in the country. It was disappointing that the SALGA presentation had not focused on what district municipalities could do, as there was a particular opportunity for them around the shared services model. SALGA should begin thinking in a regional, rather than a territorial, manner that would allow all regions to benefit from the development of public transport in all other areas.
Mr Ramatlakana indicated that SALGA seemed to be concerned that its functions and independence would be rolled back by these proposed amendments. There was a trend towards building stronger regional governments, which was an international issue. The reality was that people were no longer working and staying in the same place, and this would need to be taken into consideration in transport planning. There should be easy commuting between home and work, as this would also be saving the cost of travelling. It was understandable that SALGA was a mouthpiece for other municipalities who had also probably expressed concern about the encroachment on the independence of municipalities. Scholar transport was not outside the integrated public transport system. The presentation by SALGA seemed to lack information about the interdependence of all spheres of government and had been focused on protecting the independence of the municipalities.
Mr Sibande said that it was still unclear as to who was controlling the scholar transport, and this was one of the reasons the country was still experiencing problems in regard to the scholar transport system. SALGA should brief the Committee on the proposed definition that could be appropriate to define the Integrated Public Transport Network (IPTN). The MEC had already mentioned that there was a serious problem within the taxi industry and the metered taxi industry. He wanted to know whether SALGA had conducted any research on the operation of metered taxis and the taxi industry in an attempt to resolve the conflict between these parties. The “tuk tuks” were contained in the Principal Act, and they could not be imported without a clearance from the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS). It would be interesting to hear the views of SALGA on where the “tuk tuks” should be best regulated. The presentation seemed to be quiet on where the traditional leaders would be located within these three spheres of government and the role they would play, as they were an integral part of our system.
Mr Dyodo firstly wanted to debunk the assumption that the presentation by SALGA was mainly territorial and represented only the interests of municipalities. The country had three spheres of government, and the movement of people sometimes did not take into consideration the boundaries as defined by the demarcation board. There was indeed a move towards regional transport authorities, but issues of regional transport needed to be dealt with in terms of origin and boundaries. There was a need to come up with a better plan on how to coordinate movement across boundaries and the suggestion that the transport authority would be dealing with this movement was certainly welcomed. The proposals of SALGA were not territorial, but just cautioning the lawmakers on some of the basic responsibilities of each sphere of government. It was made clear in the Principal Act that local government needed to develop a local integrated public transport plan. SALGA was in agreement with the bill in regard to the integrated transport planning, but cautioned the lawmakers on the need to take into consideration of how the municipalities were structured.
Mr Dyodo said that the Department of Transport was currently busy with the Rural Transport Strategy, where there had been a proposal for the development of district integrated public transport networks that would be similar to what the metropolitan municipalities were doing. SALGA was in support of the uniform branding of public transport, as this would create uniformity in public transport. SALGA also agreed with the sentiment that there was a need to move towards an integrated public transport that was efficient and safe and properly scheduled to meet different needs. There was recognition that this was not as simple in deep rural areas, where government services were found in different areas. It was indeed difficult to determine where to locate the scholar transport. There was a scholar transport policy that was under the process from the Department of Transport, and this was where the matter of where to locate the responsibility for scholar transport would be dealt with.
The problem with the definition of IPTN was the fact that the definition was confined to “road-based”. SALGA was proposing that the definition of IPTN should also include “rail-based” so that the IPTNs were not only seen to be road-based networks. SALGA was concerned about the fact that Uber was not owning any vehicle, but able to provide public transport facilities. There were also companies in the accommodation sector who did not own any hotels but were offering big holiday packages. The country would need to be clever about how to deal with these disruptive technological companies.
In relation to the issue of the inclusion of traditional leaders, it must be made clear that the issue of traditional leaders in the Constitution was only about five sentences. There was provision within legislation that traditional leaders could also form part of the council, and this was where the issue of public transport could be dealt with within that context.
Briefing: Transport for Cape Town
Ms Melissa Whitehead, Commissioner: Transport for Cape Town (TCT); said that reference had been made to “integrated public transport network (IPTN).” It was agreed to, except for the words “if road based” when referring to dedicated rights of way, as it should not be just road, but also rail. The definition should be amended to make it clear that the IPTN included road and rail. There was full agreement with the insertion of the definition “municipal regulatory entity”. The definition of “non-motorised transport” should state “…and both non-motorised” and motorised wheelchairs “and/or other similar modes”. In relation to section 8(1) (h), TCT was proposing an amendment so that the bill could also make it clear that municipalities could also have their own branding as it related to their public transport system, as was the case at the moment. In relation to the amendment of section 11 of the NLTA – The responsibilities of the three spheres of government -- TCT argued that it would be useful if more clarity was given as to what was expected by municipalities in relation to “necessary capacity”. It was recommended that Chapter 6 of the Comprehensive Integrated Transport Plans (CITP) of each municipality elaborate on their capacity.
TCT was proposing an amendment of section 18 of the NLTA – Regulatory functions and municipalities. The proposed amendments to section 18(1) were not agreed to. The amendment should rather state: “A Municipal Regulatory Entity must receive and decide on applications relating to operating licences for services wholly within or emanating from the area of jurisdiction of the Municipality concerned, so long as it does not go outside the boundaries of the Province.” There was also a proposal that the word “intra-provincial” be changed to “interprovincial” services, where the services crossed the boundaries of the province. This also related to section 24(1)(b), as well as the charter services. There was a proposal for the amendment of section 39 of the NLTA – Relationship of public transport services -- where it was recommended that section 39(3) state that, upon recommendation/request of the planning authority, the regulatory entity shall take steps/measures to cancel. There was also a proposed amendment of section 54 – Application for new operating licence. It was recommended that in section 54(2), after the words “wholly within the area of jurisdiction”, the following words be added: “or emanating from the area but within the boundaries of the Province in which the Municipality was situated.”
Mr Hunsinger said would be important to know if a municipal council could also rise and assume the position of being the Municipal Regulatory Entity (MRE).
Mr Ramatlakane indicated that the Act was framed in a way that took into consideration that there was a huge unevenness within the municipalities in terms of capacity, so some of the responsibilities had been conferred to the provincial government. It would be interesting to hear how TCT was envisioning the way which municipalities would be able to be responsible for the delivery of sustainable, integrated, efficient and safe public transport when one took into consideration the issue of the lack of capacity at local government level.
Mr Sibande expressed concern that most of the modern public transport systems like MyCiTi were not covering the majority of people who were in dire need of efficient and safe public transport. It was concerning that the presentation had not come up with proposals on the issues to be addressed in regard to access to public transport. The intention of any public hearing was to hear about the proposals of those that had made the submissions. The issue of branding was important, as it made it easy for the public transport to be identified and to regulate the operators. The suspension of the central line of Metrorail in Cape Town was affecting mainly the poor who were commuting via trains on a daily basis. The Committee was not justifying those people who were burning the trains out of frustration, and justice should take its course against those people. The question that needed to be asked was whether the transport system in Cape Town was sufficient for the people.
The Chairperson sought clarity on whether the use of branding should not indicate the municipality that a particular public transport belonged to.
Ms Whitehead responded that the way the legislation was crafted was such that in one part, it was stated that the municipality could apply for the assignment for the delivery of sustainable, integrated, efficient and safe public transport. However, the next part was clear that the provincial government had been assigned for the contracting authority functions, as per section 46. The amendment in the legislation was precluding local municipalities from ever getting the responsibility to deliver safe public transport. TCT believed that local municipalities also needed to apply for whatever functions that had been assigned to the provincial government. It should be the responsibility of local government to accept or reject the assignment for the delivery of sustainable, integrated, efficient and safe public transport. A municipal council could also rise and assume the position of being the municipal MRE but the council itself could not become the MRE, as there were a lot of functions that needed to be performed. In relation to the issue of the capacity of municipalities, this was important but the matter of capacity was always dependent on the capability of a particular municipality to deliver on public transport.
The planning authority, or the Provincial Regulatory Entity (PRE), was the one with the final say on the issuing of an operating licence. The City of Cape Town was the planning authority, and it had been so since 2009. The PREs could overrule a decision that had been made by the planning authority, but they would need to offer cogent reasons for doing so. It must be clarified that section 47 was not dealing with the authority, but the workings of an operating licence. The focus was on the historical operating licences that had been given some time back to taxi operators.
Briefing: Greater Taung United Taxi Association
Mr Onkarabatse Koboekae, Chairperson: Greater Taung United Taxi Association, expressed concern that the dill was not accommodative to the needs of the taxi associations. There was also a limitation on the powers of the taxi associations, and this was clearly creating confusion. The Association was concerned that it was now easy to get an operating licence, and this was creating further problems in the taxi industry. The Department needed to deal with the situation where a person was able to operate for scholar transport and as a taxi driver, as this was causing conflict between the taxi associations. The bill should also be able to address the problem of routes that were being taken by taxi drivers, as this was mainly contributing to taxi violence. The Association believed that there should be uniformity in the branding of public transport. The Committee could be provided with a letter on the submission that had been made by the Association.
Briefing: Naledi Municipality Taxi Association
Mr Jimmy Machogo, Chairperson: Naledi Municipality Taxi Association, said that most of the concerns of the Association had already been covered by the previous speaker. The Association was concerned about the issue of distances and routes that had been given to taxi drivers, as they were not the same. The bill should be able to address the persistent problem of the impounding of taxis, as this was further causing resentment from taxi drivers. There was also a problem of taxi permits that had been taken away without any explanation, and this needed to be dealt with in the bill.
Briefing: Schweizer-Reneke United Taxi Association
A member of the Schweizer-Reneke United Taxi Association also said that the previous speakers had already addressed the problems that were similar to those that were faced by the Association. It was concerned that taxi operators were given permits to operate on only one route, while other associations were afforded an opportunity to operate on more than one route. The Association was also particularly concerned that those without operating licenses were being given temporary licences and they could operate as they wished. The traffic department in the area was not able to deal decisively with those taxis that were operating illegally.
Briefing: Kagisano Taxi Association
The Chairperson of the Kagisano Taxi Association told the Committee about corruption in the issuing of taxi operating permits, and asked the Committee to deal with this problem as it was affecting the Association and taxi drivers. There was also a problem in respect of the limit in the routes to be taken by the taxi operators.
The Chairperson expressed concern that the presentations that had been made by the taxi associations had not had a bearing on the bill that was being discussed, but had mostly dwelled on the problems that were being encountered by the associations. However, the Committee should appreciate that the associations had taken their time in order to make the presentation to Members. The issues that had been raised certainly had a bearing on the Department of Transport, and they should be looked into at another time. The focus of these public hearings was on how the bill could provide assistance to the taxi associations in order for them to be able to operate smoothly.
Mr Hunsinger said that all the issues that had been described by the taxi associations were of concern, as they had the potential to hurt the operation of taxi drivers. The Committee should indeed appreciate the effort that had been put by the taxi associations in order to ensure that their grievances were heard by Members and the Department of Transport. It was quite clear that compliance, enforcement and consequences should all be aligned in order to address the problems that had been flagged by the taxi associations. The Committee was currently busy with a new legislative framework, and this would need to incorporate the challenges that had been cited by the associations.
Mr Radebe appreciated that the representatives of the Department were taking note of the challenges that the associations had identified, and how they affected their operations. The Committee was expecting the Department to respond swiftly in addressing those challenges. The Committee should speak directly to the Cross-Border Road Transport Agency (CBRTA) in order to ensure that they were able to take their offices to where the taxi associations were operating. The taxi associations complained about the delays in the issuing of cross border permits and the distance that needed to be travelled to reach the CBRTA offices. The fixing and the expansion of the R514 road should be expedited, and the Committee should also conduct oversight over this road in order to check the challenges that were being experienced with this project.
Mr Ramatlakane also took the opportunity to express his appreciation that the taxi associations had taken time in order to make the presentations to the Committee. The taxi associations had complained about the condition of taxi ranks even the ablution facilities that were not working. It was the responsibility of a municipality to resolve the problems in the taxi ranks.
Mr Sibande said that he was touched by some of the issues that had been raised by the taxi associations, and appealed to the associations to resolve matters peacefully. The Department of Transport should be the department to handle the problems that were related to the issuing of permits. It was impressive to hear that the taxi associations were calling for regular law enforcement to curb the problem of taxi drivers who were operating illegally.
Mr Koboekae requested government to build more roads in order to prevent the scourge of road fatalities in the country. It would also be important for the Department to control the issuing of permits to the operators, as this was another issue that was troubling the taxi associations.
Mr Ramatlakane wanted to make it clear that the responsibility of Members was to listen to the grievances of the taxi associations in order to direct those grievances through the right channels. It would be incorrect for the taxi associations to go home with an impression that the Committee would immediately resolve the challenges that had been indicated.
Mr Paul Browning, Public Transport Analyst, Transforum, stated that the definition of “integrated public transport network” met most of his concerns. However, he suggested that Integrated Rapid Public Transport Networks should “have dedicated rights of way if road based”. This might be taken to mean that a corridor route should have such dedicated lanes along its whole length, he maintained. He further asserted that priority measures needed to be introduced where necessary as, in his view, for much of the route, buses and taxis could operate in general traffic. Mr Browning’s proposed wording therefore was “… have, if road-based, dedicated rights of way and other priority measures where appropriate and justified by traffic conditions.”
Mr Hunsinger commented that there was nothing in the Act which prescribed the full sets of requirements, and this included the definition of integrated public transport network. Therefore, the use of “may” in section 1(a) amending section 1 was suggesting that there were no full sets of requirements for the definition of “integrated public transport network”.
Mr De Freitas asked Transforum to unpack all the recommendations that were linked to the bill, as this was not quite clear from the presentation that had been made.
Mr Radebe asked about the sanctions that should be imposed if the operators were reluctant to comply with traffic regulations. It would be important to know how the amendment of the definition of integrated public transport network would assist the Department.
Mr Ramatlakane wanted to know if Transforum was proposing the introduction of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV), without naming it in the recommendations, as the proposal was mainly that the country needed to do away with dedicated lanes for buses and taxis. It looked like some of the recommendations that had been made by Transforum were already covered in the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Bill.
Mr Sibande said that he was encouraged by the submission that had been made by Transforum, as it was offering recommendations compared to the previous submissions. It would be important to know how the country would cope in enforcing compliance with traffic regulations.
Mr Browning responded that indeed the inclusion of “may” in section 1(a) amending section 1 was suggesting that there were no full sets of requirements for the definition of “integrated public transport network”. The priority should be on finding ways to deal with the problem of traffic congestion, and this would include having dedicated rights of way for roads based. The only solution to improve on compliance with traffic regulations would be by encouraging voluntary compliance, as the traffic officers could not always be present on roads. It would also be important to include mentoring (training), motivation and monitoring of transport operators so as to improve compliance with traffic regulations, as had been done with the Golden Arrow buses. The licence could be suspended or even withdrawn for those who were reluctant to comply with traffic regulations.
Mr Browning corrected that he was not proposing the introduction of HOVs, as what was being advocated was that there should be a dedicated lanes and priority measures for all public transport vehicles, including taxis. There had been complaints from the taxi operators that buses got all the priorities, while taxis were being neglected.
Briefing: South African Metered Taxi Association Forum (SAMTAF)
Mr Sol Rakwena, Member of SAMTAF in Gauteng, suggested that the “associations” definition in the bill should also cater for metered taxis that had been incorporated as companies. In addition, it was recommended that there be a clear distinction between shuttle services and metered taxis. The Forum also proposed that section 2 of the amendments – (i) should be in italic. An argument was advanced that Parliament should find a way to ensure compulsory branding, as it was part of security. This must be specifically mentioned, as currently the metered taxis were not easily identifiable. Parliament must also provide for roadworthiness of all modes of transportation, to ensure the overarching principle of safety. The Forum was proposing amendments on Section 8(1)(h): Operator’s applications must be linked to security clearances. Local and foreigners bore the costs of acquiring such security. Compliance with targeted categories at national level must take place. The forum also objected to the presence of “three-wheelers” and “tuk tuks” being incorporated within the Act, as they did not conform to safety regulations.
Section 8(1) (y) should be amended to address the following:
- The SAMTF requests the colour coding of metered taxis, to address the challenge of Uber and other e-hailing apps;
- Branding must be compulsory and should not be in instances of national uniformity, so accordingly there should be a removal of the national uniformity requirement;
- There was a need for branding so as to ensure security and safety so that law enforcement could identify public transport providers through branding.
- Branding should be compulsory not only at provincial level, but must also apply to all public transport vehicles nationally;
- The branding must be registered with the regulator so that there could not be instances where branding was identical. In instances where someone was seen with an unregistered vehicle, it would be a criminal offence
In relation to the amendment of section 11 of the NLTA – The responsibilities of the three spheres of government -- SAMTF was of the view that both the colour coding and branding of vehicles used for public transport must apply at provincial and national levels. This was because the current function was limited only to the provincial level. The Forum was proposing that section 11(d)(xiv), in regard to the catering for people with disabilities, should apply across the board to all modes of transport.
SAMTF was also proposing an amendment of section 18 of the NLTA – Regulatory functions and municipalities. An argument had been advanced that this had implications for metered taxis, as they always fell outside a municipality. If a municipality could not issue operating licences, the metered taxis were not afforded the benefit of applying for an operating licence closer to home or the metered taxis may want to be treated as vehicles for tourism transport. In relation to the aamendment of section 24 of the NLTA – Functions of Provincial Regulatory Entities (PREs), SAMTF was suggesting that there was a need for the current PRE function to be independent from government. Finally, a view had been expressed that there should be more detail in terms of how this needed to be done. If this was a separate function, so the argument went, it should be clear if there was a specific person dealing with it.
Mr Sibande commended the Forum for sharing its problems with the Committee and also providing recommendations. It was unclear as to how the Forum would categorise the three-wheel motor cycle, as the focus was mainly on the distinction to be made between shuttle services and metered taxis. It was concerning that most of the drivers of the metered taxis were foreign nationals that had not been screened or vetted, and in most cases were in the country illegally. The metered taxi services were a mode of public transport as defined in the Principal Act, and therefore there was no reason for them to be given a definition in the bill. It looked as if the metered taxi service wanted to be involved in all modes of transport, while at the same there was an intention of being branded differently. It must be made clear that airports had limited space available for metered taxi,s and this was something that needed to be taken into consideration. The Forum should elaborate on the statement that the metered taxi service was not getting any support from government.
Mr Ramatlakane complimented the Forum for having taken time to look at the amendments that had been made in the bill. It was concerning that the taxi industry was still male dominated, and this had been made succinctly clear by the delegations that were present at the meeting. The issue of branding was particularly important, as this would make a metered taxi service easily identified. It was unclear if the Forum was suggesting that the “tuk tuks” should be outlawed, as this would be construed as unconstitutional. The intention should be to make space for every operator to operate without suggesting that they should be outlawed, as this was illegal. The Act was dealing with new developments that had taken place, as the development around the world was not static and moved with the times. He asked if the application form for the operation of the metered taxi did not widen the scope in terms of the service that could be rendered by the metered taxi services.
Mr Ramatlakane also sought clarity on whether the Forum was suggesting that the provincial regulatory entities should be independent from government, as it was impossible for the entities to be privatised. What were the reasons for the Forum calling for metered taxis that were using apps to have fares reflected on the vehicle? The taxi industry was not subsidised, and there was a big issue at the moment where taxis were saying they should also be subsided, like buses. It would be important to hear how the Forum foresaw the implementation of a subsidy for a metered taxi. The problem with the subsidisation of the taxi industry was that it was extremely difficult to subsidise individual taxi operators.
Mr Radebe also asked about the funding model that could be used for the subsidisation of the metered taxis, as the government was not keen on promoting individualist operations, but on cooperation and well-organised particular structures. He wanted to know if there was a possibility of metered taxis providing services to people with disabilities. The Committee was always encouraging all service providers to have an operating licence, and there was an understanding that there were other operators that were operating without licences. It must be clear that the Committee was also encouraging Uber to operate within the ambit of the law. The matter of drivers who were operating without security clearance was particularly concerning, and should be addressed promptly. It was still unclear as to how the Forum would go about achieving the issue of uniformity and similar branding of the vehicles for metered taxis, as the industry was mostly operating as individuals. The “tuk tuks” had been introduced as a way to deal with the problem of traffic congestion and to allow movement of people for shorter distances. What other avenues could be used to address the problem of traffic congestion?
Mr Hunsinger appreciated the presentation that had been made by the Forum, as it was able to address the plight that was faced by the metered taxis. The definitions were by nature a very important technical part of any legislation as they determined how things should be understood in terms of inclusivity and exclusivity. It would be difficult for the Committee to accept that the definition of “associations” should also cater for metered taxis that had been incorporated as companies, as this would have an impact on other parts of the bill. Why was the Forum thinking it was important to have a distinction between shuttle services and metered taxis?
Mr Rueben Mzayiya, Spokesperson: SAMTAF, said it was concerning that metered taxis were not recognised in the country, considering the number of people who were dependent on the service to move from one place to another. The metered taxis were working with vehicle manufacturers like Hyundai for the provision of vehicles to operate. The use of Hyundai was because it currently was the one vehicle that was a nine seater. The Forum was advocating that a ten seater should be legislated as the maximum for metered taxis, as there was a lot of demand from people to use metered taxis.
Mr Mzayiya said that the government had already banned the use of bakkies as a form of passenger transport because of safety reasons. However, there were still some provinces, like the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Northern Cape, where bakkies were still being used as a form of public transport, particularly scholar transport. The Forum was concerned that there were also security concerns on “tuk tusk,” like lack of restraints. The current “tuk tuks” that were dominating Sandton and Campus Square had no permits at all. The radius of “tuk tuks” should not be longer than 5km, but there were other operators that were going way beyond this radius. It must be made clear that if the attitude of metered taxis was the same as those of mini taxis, then Uber would not be operating at the moment. The metered taxis were very sensitive about their clients, and wanted to create a safe space for the clients. The issue of “tuk tuks” was not about wanting to dominate the industry, but it should be viewed holistically. It was also concerning that the majority of “tuk tuks’ were not even being used by South Africans, but mostly by Zimbabweans and Nigerians.
Mr Mzayiya said that there was no problem in having foreigners driving unregulated metered taxis, as this was happening throughout the world. However, the main issue was with regard to the security clearance of those drivers. The Forum was insisting that the rate and tariff that was being charged should reflect on the metered vehicles that were being used so as to make it easy for the clients to know how much was being charged per kilometer. It was still unclear how to categorise the metered taxis and this was also a matter that the metered taxis were also battling with on the tariffs for E-tolls. It was concerning that the metered taxis were not getting any incentives from the government, considering that there were a lot of people who were basically dependent on these services, including tourists. Government should be building dedicated parking spaces closer to the airports that would be for the metered taxis, as was the case in other countries. The metered taxi was the only industry where one would find many women in the industry. However, there was a general problem of many women not being allowed by their men to drive metered taxis.
He said that the metered taxi industry was also welcoming those who had passed their matric but had been unable to find work to work as drivers, in order to eliminate the dominance of foreigners in the industry. The branding was to make the metered taxis easily identifiable and separate from Uber or other operators that were not branded or operating illegally. A total of 40% of the clients of metered taxis were tourists. It was problematic to see that even traffic officers were not adequately trained to understand the functionality of metered taxis and tourism. The Forum strongly believed that metered taxis should be allowed to operate anywhere in the country, and even beyond South Africa.
The Chairperson thanked everyone who had been present during the two days of public hearings, and appreciated that a number of issues had been addressed. The focus of the public hearings had been for the Committee to look at ways to improve the legislation, to cover a number of issues. The Committee would be looking at all the presentations that had been made, including the recommendations that had been made. All those that had made their submissions should not underestimate the importance of making a contribution to the bill, as their recommendations could be factored in at the finalisation of the Bill. The issue of integrated public transport was critically important, as all countries were moving towards having a safe and efficient public transport that would meet everyone’s needs.
The meeting was adjourned.
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