The State Law Adviser took the Committee through the proposed amendments to the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Amendment Bill. These would be sent to the provincial legislatures for consideration of their final mandates.
In the public hearings on the National Land Transport Amendment Bill, the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) stated that municipalities for the most part supported the Bill. Two concerns in particular were highlighted. Clause 8 stated that a province may pass legislation or enter into an agreement with a municipality to provide for the joint exercise of power. The concern was that the joint exercise of power was complex and should only be used if there were no better and simpler alternatives. Clause 48 dealt with vehicles used for tourist transport services and the concern was that municipalities had not been included in the process. Tourist operations manifest themselves in the municipal jurisdictional space and functionally depended on municipal assets.
Members understood the concern by municipalities that guidelines should not compromise a municipality’s negotiating position or ability to negotiate contracts. A Member asked if the status quo should not be maintained, that is, national should negotiate contracts whilst municipalities should be consulted due to conflicts erupting. SALGA was asked if the municipality had a contract, could the province oversee it; if it had looked at taxi routes that traverse provincial borders; how passengers would be dealt with who fell outside areas which an e-hailing driver was supposed to cover. The Acting Chairperson felt it important that when hearings took place in provinces on the Bill that councillors and mayors should be present.
Gauteng Provincial Metered Taxi Operators (GPMTO) chose to present a submission at a later date.
The South African E-hailing Association (SAEHA) said that the Bill did not cover the driver’s right to a safe working environment but only wished to regulate where and how the driver should move. SAEHA was concerned about the security of drivers. The electronic application to be used would only identify where to pick up passengers but did not show where passengers wished to go. SAEHA proposed that all passengers be required to register via the electronic application to give their identity document details. The Bill spoke about a reasonable time being given for municipalities to deal with permit applications. SAEHA felt that 30 days was sufficient time for processing permit applications. SAEHA called for a moratorium on sanctions against e-hailing drivers. Due to safety concerns SAEHA asked for electronic payment to be considered and that cash payments should be prohibited. Credit cards should be used. The Department of Transport should set market related fares. This would avoid conflict with the passenger transport sector. There was no minimum wage for the e-hailing sector. Drivers had no bargaining power. Uber drivers, as contract workers, had no rights.
Although the Committee appreciated the difficulties of e-hailing drivers, the submission did not assist the Committee as it had to address the clauses in the Bill. The Committee legislated and could not be prescriptive to the private sector. The Committee chose to stop the submission midway and for SAEHA to make a submission on the Bill at another time. Their concerns needed to be tied to the Bill clauses.
Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Amendment Bill
Mr Mongameli Kweta, Senior State Law Adviser, briefed the Select Committee in the proposed amendments. The C-list of proposed amendments would be incorporated into the D version of Bill. The provinces would then work on their final mandates.
The new clause dealt with the election to go to court. It covered the amendment of section 19 of Act 46 of 1998, as amendment by section 12 of Act 72 of 2002.
The Committee had extensive discussion about the option of appeals and reviews for an infringer. It was decided by the Committee that the High Court was far too expensive an option for an infringer. A proposed amendment was that an infringer would be allowed to have access to a Magistrates Court.
The Committee had accepted the Eastern Cape Legislature proposal that service should be done by personal service, postage or electronic service.
The Acting Chairperson stated that all proposed amendments had been prepared into a single document. Members could propose further amendments if they so wished. The proposed amendments would be sent to the provinces for consideration. Provinces would in turn give their final mandates to the permanent delegates to submit to the Committee.
Mr W Faber (DA, Northern Cape) stated that his fellow DA colleague from the Committee and himself had been unable to attend the previous meeting which had dealt with the Bill. He was pleased that going to High Court was not on the table as recourse for the infringer. It was far too expensive. The DA was not in favour of review and appeals being done to the Appeals Authority. The Appeals Authority was not independent. The judiciary on the other hand was independent. He said that the Bill did not satisfy the constitutional rights of a person. He also felt that the matter of the courtesy letter written to an infringer also did meet constitutional scrutiny. In a court of law one was presumed innocent until proven guilty. What the Bill was proposing was the other way around. The presumption was that the infringer was guilty. The onus was on the infringer. He was not too convinced that the capacity would be sufficient to enforce the matter of demerit points. A major concern was that the much needed income that municipalities were getting from traffic violations would no longer be there. It would worsen an already bad situation for municipalities.
The Acting Chairperson said that everyone had been invited to make submissions but now the ship had sailed. He pronounced that the amendments that Mr Faber had spoken to were out of order. The Committee would send the proposed amendments to provinces for concurrence.
Mr B Nthebe (ANC, North West) agreed that the proposed amendments be sent to the provinces.
Mr J Mthethwa (ANC; KZN) also agreed.
National Land Transport Amendment Bill: stakeholder inputs
The Acting Chairperson asked SALGA that ward councillors and mayors should also participate in the provincial public hearings on the Bill. From the written submission, it would seem as though municipalities supported most of the elements of the Bill. The challenge was about how to promote intergovernmental relations.
South African Local Government Association (SALGA) submission
Mr Donald Cupido, Transport Specialist, SALGA, stated that there were more than 50 proposed amendments by municipalities but that he would focus on only a few.
Mr Cupido confirmed that for the most part municipalities supported the provisions of the Bill. There were instances where there were concerns:
Clause 8, amending section 12 of Act 5 of 2009, stated that a province may pass legislation or enter into an agreement with one or more municipalities in the province to provide for the joint exercise of power. The concern was that the joint exercise of power was complex and should only be used if there were no better and simpler alternatives. Provinces should not have the ability to force a joint exercise of power through being able to make provincial legislation. The option of devolution to the municipal sphere must not be unnecessarily compromised or excluded.
Clause 48: This dealt with vehicles used for tourist transport services and the concern was raised that municipalities had not been included in the process. Municipalities had to be included and consulted in the application for tourist operations provided for in sections 80 to 84 of the Act. Applications should not only be processed by the National Public Transport Regulator. Tourist operations manifest themselves in the municipal jurisdictional space and functionally depended on municipal assets.
Mr L Magwebu (DA, Eastern Cape) stated that it was difficult to follow the submission since the document that members were working from was not exactly the same. Referring to the clauses amending sections 41 and 42 he asked if it was correct that SALGA supported the scope of the guidelines. It should not compromise the municipality’s negotiating position or ability to negotiate the most appropriate contract. There was this negotiating position vis a vis consultation with municipalities. He was concerned about conflicts in this space. He felt that the status quo should be left as is. National should negotiate contracts whilst municipalities should be consulted.
Mr Cupido replied that it was correct that section 41 dealt with negotiated contracts. The point that SALGA was making was that where a municipality was negotiating with operators, it should not be put on the back foot. The scope of the guidelines should not compromise the negotiations of the municipality.
Mr Faber asked if the municipalities would do the contract negotiation or the provinces would. He asked if each municipality had a contract whether the province would oversee it. He asked if SALGA had looked at the matter of taxi routes that traversed provincial borders, and at taxi unions. Had SALGA considered how to deal with passengers that fell outside of areas which an e-hailing driver was supposed to cover.
Mr Cupido replied that a municipality should be given the responsibility to negotiate a contract. The provinces did have a role where the municipality did not have the capacity. It was not a one size fits all. On taxi unions, he explained that there were route associations. In Cape Town for instance there were mother bodies like CATA and CODETA. At local level there were specific routes. There were provincial guidelines as well. SALGA did not have a formal position on e-hailing but the matter was on its tracker. E-hailing had for instance been dealt with by the City of Cape Town in a certain way.
The Acting Chairperson stated that when hearings on the Bill were to take place in provinces councillors and mayors should be present. The points made by SALGA needed to be communicated. If SALGA so wished it could propose additional amendments.
Gauteng Provincial Metered Taxi Operators (GPMTO) submission
Mr Andrew Dimo, GPMTO Chairperson, explained that the submission did not speak to clauses in the Bill per se. The GPMTO had been wrongly advised. He was concerned that if the submission went ahead then GPMTO might be out of order. He however stressed that it did not mean that GPMTO had nothing to say.
The Acting Chairperson said that stakeholders had only one chance to make a submission and he felt it best if the GPMTO chose to do a submission on the Bill at a later time.
Mr Dimo agreed that he would not wish to short change the industry by going ahead. If an oral submission was done now, he felt that it would not cover all areas of the Bill. He agreed to make a submission at a later time.
Mr Nthebe stated that GPMTO needed to seek guidance and be properly advised. The postponement could not be perpetual. The GPMTO needed to understand what needed to be done.
South African E-Hailing Association (SAEHA) submission
Mr Trevor Mathebula, SAEHA Deputy Secretary, stated that SAEHA represented over 500 participants in the e-hailing industry. SAEHA felt that the Bill did not cover the driver’s right to a safe working environment but wished only to regulate where and how the driver should move.
The Chairperson requested that Mr Mathebula provided his submission to the Committee.
Mr Mathebula spoke to the insertion of section 66(cA) into the Act which SAEHA was in support of as it was concerned about the security of drivers. The electronic application to be used would only identify where to pick up passengers but did not show where passengers wished to go. It was a security risk to drivers as they needed to know where they were going to. It was government’s duty to make the identity of passengers and their destinations compulsory. SAEHA proposed that all passengers be required to register via the electronic application so as to give their identity document details. Registration could take place in different ways.
The Bill spoke about a reasonable time being given for municipalities to deal with permit applications. SAEHA felt that 30 days was sufficient time for processing permit applications. SAEHA called for a moratorium on sanctions against e-hailing drivers. On fares SAEHA wished for electronic payment to be considered. Cash payments should be prohibited. Credit cards should be used. In addition the Department of Transport should set market related fares. This would avoid conflict in the passenger transport sector. There was no minimum wage for the e-hailing sector. The Bill needed to make provision for Uber drivers and partners. Drivers and partners had no bargaining power. E-hailing drivers incurred a huge expense renting vehicles as they could not afford to buy them. Other expenses were high fuel prices and insurance. Uber drivers as contract workers had no rights.
The Chairperson interjected and said that the submission was very general in nature. It did not assist the Committee. No amendments were being proposed. It seemed the difficulties of e-hailing drivers were being highlighted. The difficulties being raised should relate to the Bill. He noted that Paul Browning from TransForum had raised similar concerns that SAEHA had. He explained that SAEHA should have looked at the Bill as amended by the National Assembly and indication whether they were pleased with it or not.
The Committee legislated and could not be prescriptive to the private sector. Transport was after all a driver of the economy. He added that weeks before the Portfolio Committees on Police and on Transport had a joint sitting and both Ministers had been present. The South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) was asked important questions by Members. Minister of Transport Blade Nzimande had in an interview the previous week stated that rail transport had been neglected. Rail transport needed to be safe and on time. There needed to be synergy between minibus, metered, e-hailing taxis, rail transport and the Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) System. Synergy between different modes should be created. The Committee could not be prescriptive about the wages that should be paid to e-hailing drivers. Persons in the sector should be doing the negotiating. The Committee was concerned about the violence in the mini-bus taxi industry. The present legislation did not allow the Committee to intervene. The Committee could not get involved in feuds. He asked the Committee if SAEHA should continue or should they have another opportunity as was given to GPMTO.
Mr Faber said that it was difficult as they did not have the SAEHA submission before them. He suggested that SAEHA and TransForum do a combined submission the following week. He was aware that the matters raised were of a private business nature but there were valid concerns around e-hailing drivers. It would be useful if reference was made to the Bill.
Mr Magwebu said that it appeared that SAEHA wished to highlight issues to the Committee. He suggested that they be given the opportunity to get it right. Addressing SAEHA, he said that they should stick to the Bill and make specific reference to clauses.
Mr Mthethwa agreed that SAEHA should be given another opportunity.
The Chairperson instructed SAEHA to return to the Committee with comments on the Bill itself.
Mr Nthebe suggested that all role players seek an audience with the Committee. Role players needed to speak directly to issues. There should also not be a repeat of issues by role players. Licensing and moratorium concerns seemed to stand out. Other matters should also be amplified.
Mr Mathebula thanked the Committee for its guidance. One of the hardest challenges for SAEHA was that it was not familiar with law making processes. It was correct that concerns of e-hailing drivers had been highlighted. Perhaps SAEHA could get someone to guide it on how the system worked.
The Acting Chairperson said that SAEHA needed to identify who it could approach for help. Perhaps a lawyer could be consulted. He added that presenters could use the structure of the SALGA submission as a guide on how to set out the submission. Issues of importance needed to be tied to the clauses of the Bill. There was even a possibility of stakeholders getting provincial legislatures to forward concerns to the Committee. He asked that the hailing and e-hailing taxi organisations should be accommodated on the same day. Stakeholders were asked to forward submissions to the Committee well ahead of time.
Committee minutes dated 25 August 2018 was adopted.
The meeting was adjourned.
- Gauteng Provincial Metered Taxi Operators (GPMTO) submission
- South African E-Hailing Association (SAEHA) submission
- South African Local Government Association (SALGA) submission
- Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Amendment Bill [B38B-2015]
- National Land Transport Amendment Bill [B7B-2016]
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