Department of Transport 2019/2020 Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan; with Minister

NCOP Transport, Public Service and Administration, Public Works and Infrastructure

31 July 2019
Chairperson: Mr M Mmoiemang (ANC; Northern Cape)
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Meeting Summary

The Committee met with the Department of Transport (DOT) to consider the Department’s 2019/20 Annual Performance Plan (APP). The Minister was present.

The presentation addressed the non-financial performance information and outlined key Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) initiatives in line with the Minister’s delivery agreement and outcome six: efficient, competitive and responsive economic infrastructure, outcome seven, comprehensive rural development and land reform and outcome ten, protect and enhance environmental assets and natural resources. After looking at the DOT vision and mission and values, the strategic orientated outcome goals of the Department were outlined along with revisions made to the APP and DOT targets, per programme, for 2019/20, for the following programmes:

-Administration: four targets

-Integrated Transport Planning: four targets

-Rail Transport: three targets

-Civil Aviation: three targets

-Maritime Transport: six targets

-Public Transport: four targets

Members were taken through the challenges experienced by the Department and proposed interventions to address these challenges. Challenges included funding and inherent dependencies on other spheres of government, other departments and agencies, risk governance, key principles in managing risk in the Department, strategic risk profile (geographical summary) and progress made on the Auditor-General of SA (AGSA) findings and implementation of the 2017/18 action plans – there were a total of 18 findings and all were addressed.

Moving to financial performance information, the presentation addressed budget per programme and per economic classification. Compensation of employees was highlighted along with goods and services, additional funding allocated to goods and services, transfers, public transport, road transport, Passenger Rail Agency of SA (PRASA) and SA National Roads Agency (SANRAL).

The Committee was taken through public entities liquidity as at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018/19, Provincial Roads Maintenance Grant (PRMG), Public Transport Operations Grant and Public Transport Network Grant.

Members were concerned by the high numbers of senior management in acting positions, the lack of gender representativeness of the delegation present, the urban bias of projects and infrastructure, and challenges in the Road Accident Fund.  

Questions were asked about the status of legislation, the “Go Durban” project and disputes stalling this massive infrastructure spend, the green strategy and the bullet train as outlined in the President’s State of the Nation Address. Members questioned skills development, training of staff and bursaries, the bicycle programme for school learners, the impact of the non-payment of e-tolls and the material finding on the unqualified audit report.

The Minister addressed the Committee on various pressing matters in the transport portfolio including corporate governance and gender balances, permanent appointment of senior officials and boards of entities, addressing the carnage on SA roads, challenges and interventions in PRASA and the Road Accident Fund and e-tolls.

Meeting report

Department of Transport 2019/20 Annual Performance Plan

Mr Mathabatha Mokonyama, Acting Director-General, DOT, took the Committee through the presentation of the Department’s Annual Performance Plan for 2019/20. Beginning with the non-financial performance information, the presentation outlined key Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) initiatives in line with the Minister’s delivery agreement and outcome six: efficient, competitive and responsive economic infrastructure. These initiatives and activities included:

-establishing a Single Transport Economic Regulator (STER)

-develop a Private Sector Participation (PSP) Framework for ports and rail, removing barriers to entry for private investments and operations within the policy imperatives and with an analysis of the implication of tariffs

-improve national transport planning to develop long-term plans for transport – synchronise spatial planning and align infrastructure investment for all spheres of government

-ensure development and approval of Integrated Transport Plan

-Develop and implement plans to improve the market share of containers on rail vs. road (to move rail-friendly cargo/freight from road to rail) 

-improve and preserve national, provincial and local road infrastructure

-improve public transport

Turning to outcome seven, comprehensive rural development and land reform, the activities involved:

-implement Access Road Development Plan (ARDP) to improve rural road infrastructure

-implement Integrated Public Transport Network (IPTN) Strategy in district municipalities

Under outcome ten, protect and enhance environmental assets and natural resources, the activity was to implement the Green Transport Strategy.

.After looking at the DOT vision and mission and values, the presentation addressed the strategic orientated outcome goals of the Department including:

1. efficient and integrated infrastructure network that serves as a catalyst for social and economic development

2. transport sector that is safe and secure

3. improve rural access and mobility

4. improved public transport services

5. increased sector contribution to job creation

6. increased sector contribution to environmental protection  

Mr Mokonyama alerted the Committee to revisions made to the APP (see document as attached)

The presentation then moved to looked at the APP where the DOT targets, per programme, for 2019/20, were outlined:

-Administration: four targets

-Integrated Transport Planning: four targets

-Rail Transport: three targets

-Civil Aviation: three targets

-Maritime Transport: six targets

-Public Transport: four targets

Under Administration, 2019/20 key interventions included:

-conduct ten community outreach campaigns on gender, persons with disability, youth and children

-compile a monitoring report on implementation of the 2018/19 Human Resource Development Framework

-develop, ensure approval and monitor implementation of the 2019/20 Human Resource Development Plan

-develop and monitor implementation of action plans to address audit findings raised by internal audit and the Auditor-General

-monitor implementation of the Departmental Risk Strategy

Under Integrated Transport Planning, 2019/20 key interventions included:

-conduct a benchmark exercise on the transport ICT Strategy

-develop the regional integration framework

-conduct literature review on the pathway for autonomous vehicle technology implementation in SA

-process the draft STER Bill through Cabinet

Under Rail Transport, 2019/20 key interventions included:

-Develop draft guidelines on rail access regime

-monitor implementation of the Private Sector Participation Framework

-Secure approval for submission of the Draft Railway Safety Bill to Cabinet

Mr Mokonyama outlined the 2019/20 key interventions for Road Transport:

-monitor implementation of the S’hamba Sonke Programme (inspections and bilateral consultations)

-develop final due diligence report on the review of founding legislations of road entities

-monitor implementation of the National Road Safety Strategy

-develop final draft of the national anti-fraud and corruption strategy

-secure ministerial approval to submit the draft National Road Traffic Amendment Bill to Cabinet

Under Civil Aviation, 2019/20 key interventions included:

-Conduct socio-economic impact assessment on the Air Services Bill

-Submit draft South African Maritime and Aeronautical Search and Rescue Amendment Bill to the SA Search and Rescue (SASAR) Executive Committee

-develop a business case for a government-owned aviation academy

Under Maritime Transport, 2019/20 key interventions included:

-conduct assessment of the state of the public maritime education and training institutions

-develop the SADC coastal shipping agreement

-secure ministerial approval to submit the Merchant Shipping Bill to Cabinet

-conduct State of Readiness Analysis for mandatory International Maritime Organization (IMO) audits

-secure ministerial approval to submit the draft Marine Pollution Amendment Bill to Cabinet

-develop the maritime energy efficiency programme

Under Public Transport, 2019/20 key interventions included:

.-develop detailed Integrated Public Transport Network Plans (IPTNs) in two district municipalities (Amathole and Capricorn)

-monitor implementation of the reviewed taxi recapitalisation programme

-monitor constructions and operation of IPTNs in 13 cities

-introduce the Transport Appeal Tribunal Amendment Bill to Parliament

Mr Mokonyama took Members through the challenges experienced by the Department and proposed interventions to address these challenges. Challenges included funding and inherent dependencies on other spheres of government, other departments and agencies.

Turning to risk governance, the effectiveness of risk management and control measures put in place will be reported to the following structures on a quarterly basis:

-Risk Management Committee, which assists the Accounting Officer with his risk oversight by reviewing the system of risk management such as risk management objectives, strategy, policy and monitor the process at strategic, management and operational levels

-EXCO, which plays its risk oversight by ensuring the Department identifies risks within the operation of the Department and transport public entities, and that such risks are adequately addressed or mitigated

-Audit Committee, which is an independent structure that plays an oversight by ensuring the Department appropriately address the risk areas relating to financial reporting including fraud and corruption and IT risks as they relate to financial reporting

Periodic independent assessments on the effectiveness of risk management processes will be conducted by Internal Audit.

Key principles in managing risk in the Department:

-Risks will be considered on a Department-wide basis;

-Risk management will be integral to strategic planning processes, business decisions and daily operations (operational routines);

-Risks will be identified, analysed, responded to, monitored and reported on, in accordance to the Department’s policies and procedures;

-Risks will be identified per programme and response plans will be derived for each risk;

-Management will regularly assess the status of each risk and response plans;

-Compliance to the risk management process and control measures will be monitored and reported on

Mr Mokonyama then presented the strategic risk profile (geographical summary) of the Department noting with monitoring implementation of risk mitigation strategies, the Department took steps to measure the value of risk management in its performance through the following indicators: 

-Robust risk reporting on risks identified and analysed at all levels of the Department during branch and EXCO meetings

-Visible and quantifiable improvements in the achievement of quarterly targets and overall departmental performance that is at 90% and only 10% not achieved due to risks outside the control of the Department involving lengthy consultation and approval processes during policy formulation process

-The process to monitor implementation of risk mitigation plans on the strategic risks has been on-going throughout the year to ensure visible and quantifiable improvements on the Department’s performance is realised

 

The presentation then looked at progress made on the Auditor-General of SA (AGSA) findings and implementation of the 2017/18 action plans – there were a total of 18 findings and all were addressed.

Moving to financial performance information, the presentation addressed budget per programme and per economic classification. Compensation of employees was highlighted along with goods and services, additional funding allocated to goods and services, transfers, public transport, road transport, Passenger Rail Agency of SA (PRASA) and SA National Roads Agency (SANRAL).

The Committee was taken through public entities liquidity as at the end of the fourth quarter of 2018/19, Provincial Roads Maintenance Grant (PRMG), Public Transport Operations Grant and Public Transport Network Grant.

Discussion

Mr M Dangor (ANC; Gauteng) thanked the acting DG and hoped there are not too many actors in the Department otherwise it would need to conduct its own awards ceremony. Moving to questions, there is a need to understand when the entities are coming into account. He suggested the Chairperson place this on the Committee Programme, particularly SANRAL. How does the Department harmonise between itself, provinces and local governments? What helps make the decision to go into local government and assist and what is the legal platform the Department goes into? He noted the Committee must understand the acronyms used in the presentation. What is being done about security on the rail? Is there security for passengers and rolling stock not getting burned?

Mr T Brauteseth (DA. KZN) apologised for the possibility of his questions being “newbie” ones as there is a need to still come to grips with the Department. Moving to the questions, what is the status of the National Land Transport Amendment (NLTA) Bill? Is it coming to the NCOP? There seemed to be no mention in the presentation so there is a need for a progress report. Mention was made on the IPTN projects, to a project called “Go Durban”. “Go Durban” envisages 24 corridors and has been running for a long period of time, beginning in 2011/13. Corridor Three was supposed to be completed by March 2016, when Mr Brauteseth was still a councillor for that area, but the project is still not finished - nowhere close. One of the primary reasons is so-called “business forums” which have popped up in these projects, arriving unannounced, and said “we are a business forum in the area”. Of course these forums are unregistered but demand 30% of the contract - good old-style Mafia protection racquet stuff. This has delayed this particular project massively and it seems to be a similar problem around the country. On massive infrastructure spends by municipalities, on transport infrastructure, what authority does the Department have to get involved in those disputes? It is effectively criminality. Does the Department get involved or does it simply wash its hands of it? This project is at least three years overdue now and it is assumed it is massively over-budget too. The green strategy was run across very quickly in the presentation and more detail is needed - what is the Department envisioning, and how will it be rolled out within the context of a South African environment?

At this point, the Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula, arrived.

Mr Z Mkiva (ANC, Eastern Cape) moved straight to the first question related to the bullet train, announced as a dream of the President during the State of the Nation Address (SONA). The Member would have expected that the initial phase of this bullet train was reflected in the APP as it was expected that departments would march in line with the President’s directives. Not much was spoken about understanding. Understanding has been a major challenge and the expectation was that the Department would have applied it when speaking to challenges. For example, PRASA sits with billions which it is unable to spend either on maintenance or something to that effect, but then those resources get taken away by Treasury and used as bailouts, such as in SANRAL. What is the turnaround strategy where this is concerned? How is the Department dealing with that situation so that it does not reoccur?

Mr Mkiva said some monies in the past three to five years have been taken again from the non-toll roads, and the non-toll roads manifest in the rural provinces. Those monies are then taken away from that particular area and used to pay debt. This has already happened. How does the Department plan to manage that going forward? Will these funds be recouped to close the gap that gets created or are those monies gone for good?

There is a huge gap between urban and rural infrastructure. It is a growing trend that infrastructure is only being built in urban areas and it is seemingly overlooked that South Africa is a predominantly rural country. There must then be an appreciation from a planning point of view. There are 863 traditional areas in the country however, only 5% of roads in those areas are tarred. It would be a game changer in a post-colonial country to see those roads being tarred. Although the major allocation of money is toward maintenance, there needs to be a vision towards change where rural roads are being tarred because traditional areas are areas of convergence where rural inhabitants access services. There are undeclared national key points in rural communities such as royal palaces, etc, which are key to South African heritage as well as local and national tourism. An investment in that space would be a legacy project and should be reflected in the APP going forward.

The Eastern Cape accounts for more than 400 kilometres of the national seaboard. There are huge roads leading to the coast where there is the highly anticipated ocean economy, but those roads remain untarred. Particular attention needs to be paid to those roads to open access to those areas and turn around the economy of that province.

Speaking to skills development, Mr Mkiva said further information is needed in regard to youth, particularly rural youth, and bursaries and career expeditions spoken to. He requested these career exhibitions come to the rural youth, so rural areas are not left out. There is a need to make sure these things do not just take place in urban spaces - there needs to be a balance. This applied to events hosted by the Department too. In the main, one can see the impasses in the APP but there needs to be emphasis on transformation so the Committee can see the development of the Department and ensure it is headed in the right direction.

Ms M Moshodi (ANC, Free State) spoke to the bicycle programme for learners who travel long distances from home to school. For the purpose of oversight, the Committee needs to know which provinces benefit from this bicycle programme. This could be provided to the Committee later if the information was not immediately available. How often does the Department train its staff? How many staff members were provided with bursaries?

Looking at the Department delegation present, some officials notified the Committee they were acting in their positions. When would these vacancies be filled? How long would the officials continue in the acting positions? Ms Moshodi also found it concerning that there were so few women represented in the delegation present. Next time, the request would be to increase the gender representativeness of delegations before the Committee. 

The Chairperson asked about challenges related to the Road Accident Fund and its stability - the DG said nothing about it so the Department should brief the Committee on the strategy to turn the Fund around. The second question is related to the impact of non-payment of the e-tolls and the ability of SANRAL to sell e-funds on the market. The third question relates to the Department’s unqualified audit report where it was mentioned there was one material finding - what was this finding? The last question relates specifically to the Northern Cape - the DG mentioned the provinces’ propensity not to budget but in the Northern Cape, there are schools that have closed because of lack of access to a road. The Department, over the last five years, has not done anything but the road was built through partnership with a community development trust. There is a team that the province has put together with public works, the Minister of Finance and the Premier. This is something that could be managed better because each time there is an election there is a threat by the committees to close the school.

Mr Dangor suggested the Committee be cautious - although there is a need to look at provinces, there is a danger to become too provincial so as to forget that SA is a unitary state. The attacks, subtly and consistently, on SANRAL, from other provinces, could create arguments about taxation and that is not the direction to go in. There are needs in all provinces but these provincial needs need to be weighed and dealt with. To isolate one challenging area, which may not be resolvable, was not the way to go and the Minister cannot be expected to resolve these challenges today. There are processes to follow.  However, when SANRAL appears before the Committee, as other entities will, that is when those particular questions need to be asked. Caution needs to be taken on the provincialism creeping in in relation to SANRAL.

DOT Response

Mr Mokonyama responded that the entities will present to the Committee. SANRAL will appear on 28 August 2019 and then PRASA will appear on 9 September 2019. There is a process that identifies, more especially the rural municipalities, which are not necessarily identified in the Public Transport Strategy but where the Department will assist as far as transport plans. There is a list of deep rural municipalities that are prioritised along with the poverty index. The Department has been to almost all provinces now and there has been intervention. There is an effort to go to different provinces at different times – the Department is now going to Amathole and Capricorn. In terms of the 13 cities, basically it is a pilot to see if what was provided for in the National Road Traffic Act (NRTA) will work and then it will spread to the other cities. The NLTA was not completely passed in the Fifth Administration – the Bill has since lapsed but the new administration could request that the Bill be revived. The Department has requested that the Bill be revived. The Bill lapsed just before it was finally approved.

The challenges around Go Durban are all true. There were challenges of disturbances of people who wanted to participate. Municipalities were implored to involve local people as much as possible but to not have guns held to their heads. There was a dimension of what was called “industry transition” as the taxi services also gets affected. Because of negotiations and discussions, some processes took time. Go Durban is now back on track. If all goes to plan, phase one will be launched in September in terms of operations. Nationally, former Minister Nzimande went to Durban to address the municipality and address the affected business community to outline processes of how they can get involved without causing interference or disturbance.  This is how far the Department could go.

The APP is still responding to last year’s Strategic Plan started in the previous administration. As indicated in the Minister’s Budget Speech in the National Assembly, matters around research of new technologies, services and projects, such as the bullet train, are very much on the radar. The Minister said the preliminary work and feasibility studies would be done along with research to look into the possibilities of whether and how this could be done – it would be reflected in the Department’s plans going forward. The presentation made to Members today essentially wraps up what the Department has been doing.

Although this is an APP looking forward, there are pressing areas of expenditure but in time the Department will present the Committee with a detailed expenditure report. PRASA did underspend in certain areas but fortunately the funds were ring fenced and PRASA was allowed to keep money without returning it to Treasury. While PRASA does have money, it is struggling somewhat with operational costs.

Money was originally moved to SANRAL to deal with the challenge of the non-toll portfolio, not the toll portfolio. There were some strategic projects identified within SANRAL and there was little movement within PRASA in terms of the budget. The latest is that there could be reversal of those kinds of monies whether the project was strategic or not. PRASA is now building capacity and being turned around. The Minister will speak more on the war room established to ensure PRASA fulfils its mandate in terms of the services. It is believed that with those interventions, PRASA will have its capabilities back, given a little bit of time to carry on with capital projects of station upgrades, signalling upgrades, signalling improvements, and the rolling stock modernisation programme.

Mr Mokonyama said there is work around dealing with e-tolling. Those discussions are at the ministerial level and an announcement will be made around that. There is an effort made to not mix tolling and non-tolling portfolios, specifically because there is an understanding that the non-tolling portfolio has failed rural areas. As a country, South Africa cannot afford a SANRAL that defaults because it puts the country in jeopardy. Plans specifically around the tolling space will be made very soon.

The Department does not only focus on urban areas – it could in fact be said there is a bias on rural areas. More money is given to rural provinces on maintenance. When money is provided for maintenance, it is observed the provinces then tend to relax on their responsibilities towards new roads, because new roads are not supposed to come out of the PRMG but out of the equitable share. It might be useful to look into the PRMG to look into how to assist with upgrading and tarring of roads where there are no tar roads. For now, the conditions of the PRMG are strictly on maintaining what there is. The concerns raised by Members are known and they are matters that the Department is working on. Perhaps a presentation should be made to the Committee on the PRMG in terms of roads and maintenance. The Department does not just go in and build a road – it engages with the community in terms of priorities.

The Department will provide a list of where the next campaigns and expos will be held. The Department tries to spread this work across the country. The Department has a presence almost everywhere it goes. The suggestion to host a conference in a rural area is noted. There are instances where, because of a specific target group, a certain area will also be targeted. However a Maritime Day, conferences and parades have been held in non-coastal cities as well to penetrate all communities. For example, the International Aviation Day will be held in Limpopo.

The target for bicycles is learners that walk less distance, not long distance, those that cannot access a school bus. Discussions are ongoing with the provincial departments of transport and education to inform the priority schools to make the bicycles available. The Department listens when Members identify a need in particular localities and there is intervention.

A list can be provided to the Committee of bursaries within the Department.

The Road Accident Fund (RAF) is not in a good space- if it was a private company, it would have closed shop a long time ago. Fortunately, it is a government entity and still gets money from the full levy to ensure it keeps afloat. Contrary to what others may not want to hear, the Road Accident Benefit Schemes (RABS) Bill has some of the answers around challenges faced by the RAF.

In the matter of the unqualified opinion received on the financial statement, it was a mis-understatement on commitments. There was nothing wrong or error in how the Department has been doing it over the years.  There was an under commitment of around R10 million, over a budget of R64 million. The AGSA used its own tools and this popped up on the material side. A clean audit was just missed based on this misunderstanding. There were other smaller matters of irregular expenditure – although it was disclosed, it was reoccurring so a clean audit was not reached.

Mr Temba Tenza, Acting DDG: Integrated Transport Planning, DOT, spoke to the Green Transport Strategy and highlighted that it was passed by Cabinet. It is targeted to make a tangible impact by 2030 and to relate to international commitments such as the Paris Agreement and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC.) The document is quite localised and, for example, promotes the use of existing knowledge through the SA National Energy Development Institute (SANEDI) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), where CSIR has pockets of excellence in manufacturing, etc. Inter-governmentally, there is also work with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to promote industries in South Africa to participate in this massive wave of change. The Green Transport Strategy is therefore interlinked with new changes seen in the world, such as driverless cars, because that is how production is happening these days. There is a lot of talk of different industries together such as in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and ICT changes. Practically, the Green Transport Strategy has ten pillars that define exactly what can be done. One of them, which is very important, is mobility, encouraging people, where possible, to use less carbon emitting activities. One activity that has no carbon emission is walking – walking, where possible, is then encouraged not just for the transport benefits but the core benefits of health. Another pillar is using alternative fuel sources where possible, for example, gases, such as compressed natural gas which is already being used in South African buses and has also been tried in taxis in Gauteng. Although this is an urban area, this is where the concentration is, and the information was easier to distribute. There is also the electric vehicles concept which is divided into two: there are full electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles. Although not widely publicised as yet, there are the Green Procurement Guidelines looking at fully-electric or hybrid cars. The most important dynamic is to measure the country against commitments made. One commitment made is that by 2030, some of the old vehicles that run on fossil fuels will be replaced by electric or hydrogen cells. All this technology is expensive at the moment therefore there are discussion with National Treasury regarding incentives. Not everything will be achieved directly only by the Green Transport Strategy - this is the main reason the Strategy is placed under Integrated Transport Planning because benefits will be in integrating everything. It is not limited to land transport alone - although there are no specialities on maritime or civil aviation, there is close work together with those branches and they are more international than the land transport.

On public transport, as a big measure, there is promotion of rail transport as public transport as it is a very green transport. If and when it works, per capita per person, there is very little emission. The key is less emission per person, per kilometre travelled – if this is done, it will contribute towards saving the environment. The Green Transport Strategy is available mainly as a web-based document. If more information is required by the Committee, it can be supplied. There is a need to emphasise “live what you preach” and for South Africa not to be behind - opportunities must be seized where possible. There is also a need to be cautious not to impose where the market is not ready given jobs which would change. Where the market is ready, there is movement with full speed.   

Adv Adam Masombuka, Chief Director: Local Services, DOT, drew the attention of Members to a slide in the presentation which looked at the allocation to rural provinces vs. urban areas. The information made it clear the Department emphasised the rural areas of SA. More than 750 kms of road, or two thirds of roads, come from the rural provinces hence they are targeted in terms of infrastructure maintenance and management. More than R13 billion goes towards rural roads.

There are some roads the Department is trying to build but it is unfortunately prevented from doing so because of local challenges. There is a major corridor that would unlock the potential of the Eastern Cape, as one of the rural areas. That road is the N2 Wild Coast - it is one of the longest corridors which have been identified by the Department. It stretches from Swaziland to the Western Cape. The corridor was identified to unlock potential. Unfortunately, because of challenges, construction on two bridges has not even been started because of challenges on the ground. A request was made to Members from the area so that these two bridges are at least built. This is a R9 billion project going down the drain. It is a major corridor which runs across the entire coastline.

Minister’s Remarks

Minister Mbalula began by apologising for arriving late noting there is a problem of air traffic in South Africa that needs to be resolved. The focus of the Sixth Administration is on accelerated implementation working with all South Africans on the apex priorities announced by the President. A 100-day plan was conceptualised as an integral part of the APP. Corporate governance and gender balance within the Department’s senior management would be infused in the Department’s approach going forward as a matter of principle. Priority has been given to the appointment of the DG as the Department has not had a fulltime DG for a long time. The Minister was pleased that Mr Alec Moemi has been appointed DG effectively from 1 August 2019. There is commitment to the process of appointing boards where the term has expired, come to an end or where there is an interim board. The Department is determined to strengthen corporate governance in all entities. This would be made possible by appointing, to the boards, men and women who are not only adequately skilled to enable sound decision-making, but also unflinchingly committed to improving the lives of ordinary South Africans. There will be a deliberate approach to seek out young, educated and talented people especially women to infuse new energy and fresh-thinking at board level. The key priority will be to aggressively drive transformation of the sector and open opportunities for historically disadvantaged individuals, women and youth. Many opportunities exist across the transport sector with the importance of not only imparting skills on youth but to enable them to make a serious contribution to economic growth. A particular focus will be given to maritime, aviation and road subsectors.

Minister Mbalula said the commitment made to arresting the carnage on SA roads has never been greater. The implementation of a 24/7 structure within the traffic law enforcement fraternity is receiving priority attention. As this matter goes to the bargaining council, the Minster calls on organised labour to work together with the Department in supporting this intervention. Over and above that, in the next couple of weeks, the President will be signing into law the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Bill and the Department will intensify initiatives around this without squashing the Arrive Alive concept but giving it a facelift and further entrench working together to ensure safety on roads.  

PRASA has lost critical engineering capacity and is unable to improve its operational performance without decisive intervention. Following a directive from the President in March this year, the previous Minister of Transport initiated a process which saw the board make certain commitments to turn around the business. The board and management at PRASA must now understand that urgency must underpin decision making in order to improve the quality of service. The board of PRASA is an interim one and is due in September however the Minister intends to appoint a new board as quick as possible, even before September. The Group CEO will be appointed within the prescribed lawful period and in reasonable time to implement the intervention strategy within PRASA. This will be driven through a ministerial war room which will play an oversight and enabling role in the turnaround strategy. The ministerial war room will also guide intervention to realise three key objectives:

1. Service recovery to focus on rolling stock availability and reliability, infrastructure availability and reliability and performance. It has been seen there has been congestion in certain corridors in the country – the challenges are the same as those raised in Kigali, for example. The war room seeks to intervene to turn the situation around

2. Safety management, which entails putting in place effective measures to protect rolling stock, electrical and signal infrastructure, depot stations and, most importantly, passengers on board trains. Integral to this is achieving full compliance with the railway safety regulator permit conditions and directives. In this regard there will be collaborative work with the SA Police Service (SAPS) particularly in relation to training of security in terms of public order in the trains but, over and above, combative in terms of reacting to criminal elements that are running down the services offered in this particular sector

3. Accelerated implementation of modernisation program. This entails urgently creating capacity for PRASA to manage capital projects and spend its capital budget to achieve effective sequencing of critical infrastructure. There may be a need to embark on certain guerrilla tactics in order to achieve this, simply because there is no longer the luxury of time however within permits of the law and good corporate governance. In this particular instance, PRASA has not been able to undertake full spending of its capital and budget.

The ministerial war room interventions are intended to stabilise PRASA’s operations and achieving tangible results within 100 days.

The war room intervention is to turn around the situation in relation to the main areas affected by non-availability and reliability of rail transport in terms of time, security and safety. There is a need to act decisively in regards to this but the turnaround strategy is in the long term. The Strategy has been presented to the Minister in terms of implementation through the steering committee. While the turnaround strategy was adopted by the former Minister, PRASA has been slow to implement. Serious attention will be paid to measures to improve safety in the passenger rail environment. A commitment has been made that over the next nine months, operationalisation of Integrated Public Transport Networks will begin in the five cities of Mbombela, Ethekwini, Rustenberg, Polokwane and Mangaung. This will primarily take the form of the bus rapid transport systems functioning as a catalyst for seamlessly integrated cities.

After leaving this meeting, the Minister will take all stakeholders around George, in the Southern Cape, to get the infrastructure projects back on track including the provincial government. This also goes for the N2 in the Western Cape. There will be a speedy rollout of operationalising Integrated Public Transport Networks in the five cities.

Minister Mbalula said the demand to scrap e-tolls in Gauteng is something that has gripped the Department. Processes are underway to look at various options under the leadership of DOT working with SANRAL, Gauteng province and National Treasury. There is a debt that needs to be paid for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Programme. The final report on this problem will be tabled by end August 2019. The entire process includes engagement with both Houses of Parliament however it is not easy as it involves people but also priorities in terms of economic upheavals and where the Department needs to intervene going forward. There is a need to address the debt along with many other challenges faced and it will not be easy. However there is a need to prepare society for a solution and communities must come to the party. It could be a prepaid arrangement, or otherwise it continues as business as usual which is impossible. There are good roads but people did not want to pay. Probably the way in which some mechanisms are introduced are problematic for those who use the roads. The mindset in addressing this matter needs to change. Everything is being looked at including scrapping the e-tolls, what is the most viable solution for the people and what would work for the country and the economy. It will be a tough engagement on what needs to be done but it needs to be confronted head-on. There is a need to move forward on the e-tolls - it may not make everyone happy but it will make the country happy in the long term.

The Road Accident Fund is faced with serious challenges relating to its ability to honour claims. However it is abundantly clear the current dispensation of the Fund is not sustainable. The Department is determined to move with speed to change the Fund from a fault-based policy approach, to a no-fault policy-based approach. The coming months will see the reintroduction to Parliament of the RABS Bill to address these challenges. Equally, this will not be easy as there are those with self-interest but the Department is ready for this. Over and above this, the RAF board is an interim one working on a month-to-month basis. This will be finalised within 100 days by the end of August to appoint a new board and CEO. Emphasis is on men and women who have the requisite skills and vision. This is an entity of approximately R250 billion that could approach R300 billion in liability. The carnage in this regard needs to be arrested. Short listing was at an advanced stage for board members and appointing the CEO.

The Chairperson thanked the Minister of his overview. He said the Committee would have a dynamic relationship with the Department. The Committee was different to the Portfolio Committee because of the focus on the provinces in terms of the NCOP. Members would be more detailed in the location of challenges without forgetting the unitary nature of SA. The Committee has lined up its work and intends to meet with the entities in the next term. The Committee would have to act rough in terms of programme given matters the Minister has just sketched. The political leadership of the Department would be with the Committee as it interacted with the entities.

Consideration and adoption of Committee Minutes dated 24 July 2019

The minutes dealt with the presentation of the APP of the Department of Public Works.

Committee minutes dated 24 July 2019 were adopted without amendment.

Consideration and adoption of Committee Programme Term Two

The Chairperson outlined the next term would include strategic workshops for Select Committees, engagement with the Department of Transport entities including SANRAL and PRASA – these engagements would be urgent. There would also be a provincial week.

Mr Dangor suggested the Committee give the interministerial committee a chance to complete its work before engaging with SANRAL. RAF could be met with instead until the time was more convenient to meet with SANRAL.

The Committee agreed and adopted its second term programme.

The meeting was adjourned.

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