The Committee was briefed by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RMMC) on its Strategic Plan and 2018/19 Annual Report. Members were pleased to hear that the RTMC received an unqualified audit opinion. Underspending of 15 percent was mainly due to delays with a training project because a suitable facility could not be obtained. The delay with the implementation of an online licence renewal platform contributed to revenue under-collection of 3%.
Members were very concerned about the traffic situation in Cape Town and asked when government was going to deal with the challenge of a single road traffic command; why traffic officers only worked to five o’ clock in the afternoon; when was there going to be an online platform for vehicle registration and licence renewal; could foreigners who entered SA use their outside licence or did they have to go to a driving school to be prepared for local conditions. Members were disappointed to hear that halving road fatalities by 2020 was not reached, but were relieved that fatalities were reduced on an annual basis.
While the Committee applauded the consideration of gender issues by the RTMC as women were now well represented, however there seemed to be no disabled persons on the RTMC staff. Members were concerned about the fatalities and asked the RTMC ‘Were annual targets of reducing fatalities met’. Of equal concern was underspending. Members were mildly placated when it was explained that it was due to no venue being available for traffic officer training. This then begged the question ‘What was the RTMC solution’?
The Committee felt that Banks had to be engaged with about providing licence renewal services; and that a road assessment programme was called for especially on the R37 between Lydenburg and Nelspruit. Members were informed that traffic officers would henceforth receive three years training. They then asked ‘would the ones currently employed receive any extra training or have to do refresher courses’?
Members expressed concern about the safety of schoolchildren who crossed roads and asked what was being done about this. Members asked for a breakdown of communities visited; how many people had been arrested for fraud and corruption; was protection granted to whistle blowers; how to stop people from taking photos of themselves while driving; how did the RTMC embrace cyber technology; if the vacancies and acting positions referred to in the Annual Report had since been filled; and was the RTMC doing anything about third party insurance.
Members heard that there was underspending on account of 1000 traffic officers that could not be trained because there was no suitable venue. The Committee then asked ‘would training costs have amounted to R170 million’? Given that the RTMC had stated that it was self-funded ‘why was it cutting programmes when not directed to do so by the National Treasury’?
One of the most concerning reports that the Committee heard was the overloading of taxis with schoolchildren. When Members questioned this the RMTC merely replied that a taxi was found to contain 56 schoolchildren without proposing a strategy to stop this risky behaviour. When Members asked for the reason for long queues at traffic stations in the Limpopo Province they were informed that corruption was found to be endemic but 28 officials had been arrested in this regard.
Minutes of 19 February 2020 were adopted without amendments.
Adoption of the Ndabeni report
The Ndabeni report was adopted without amendment or reservations.
Briefing by the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) on its Annual Report
The briefing was presented by Advocate (Adv) Makhasini Msibi, CEO, RTMC, Ms Liana Moolman, CFO, RTMC, and Ms Refilwe Mongale: General Manager (GM), Organisational Strategy, RTMC. The functions of the RTMC were law enforcement; road safety; personnel Development and Data management: RTMC. The Corporation was committed to the reduction of road trauma by creating a safe road environment, and strove to integrate the road safety and traffic environment. It implemented youth programmes in learning institutions and communities. 96 percent of key performance indicators were achieved. The Corporation ran social responsibility programmes. The vacancy rate stood at 11 percent. Gender division stood at 58 percent male and 42 percent female. There were training interventions for upskilling of traffic officers. Underspending of 15 percent was chiefly due to delay with a trainee project because a suitable facility could not be obtained. Delay with the implementation of an online licence renewal platform contributed to under-collection of revenue by 3 percent. The RTMC received an unqualified audit opinion.
Mr M Rayi (ANC, Northern Cape) referred to the challenge of a single road traffic command. When was government going to deal with that? The traffic situation on the ground was cause for concern. He was trapped in the Cape Town traffic on his way to Parliament. The levels of traffic congestion were very high. A 15 minute drive to Parliament could take up to two hours. Nothing was being done about it, and it fell to motorists to deal with the situation. He referred to traffic officers going off duty at five o’ clock in the afternoon. Why was it not possible to go beyond that? He quoted an isiXhosa saying about taxi drivers, that they all have the same parents, meaning that they all behave in the same manner on the road. Offences were committed in full view of traffic officers. He asked about an online platform for vehicle registration and licence renewal. The service provider for eNaTIS had undermined the Constitution in his view. Handing the system back to government should have been a simple matter, but the Constitutional court could not enforce a decision because the service provider appealed against it. It was stated that the RTMC had set the target of halving road fatalities by 2020, but the date was extended to 2030. ‘Were annual targets of reducing fatalities met’? Underspending caused concern. It was due to no venue being available for traffic officer training. ‘What was the RTMC solution’? Licence renewal could be done at the Post Office. There was even one in Parliament. Banks had to be engaged with about providing licence renewal services.
Mr M Dangor (ANC, Gauteng) remarked that the SA driver’s licence was a SADC licence. In funding through revenue collection, municipalities had to be aligned with the provincial government and the RTMC. He concurred with Mr Rayi about the lack of traffic flow in Cape Town. A trip to the airport could take two hours.
Ms M Moshodi (ANC, Free State) applauded the consideration of gender issues by the RTMC. Women were well represented. ‘Could foreigners who entered SA use their outside licence, or did they have to go to a driving school to be prepared for local conditions’? It was mentioned on slide 30 that the traffic trainee project was delayed due to or did they have to go to a driving school to be prepared for local conditions’? ‘How many of the 900 learners assisted through social responsibility programmes were from the Free State’?
Ms H Boshoff (DA, Mpumalanga) commented that a road assessment programme was called for. The R37 between Lydenburg and Nelspruit in Mpumalanga was dangerous on account of as many as 800 to a 1000 trucks from the chrome and platinum mines passing through per day. ‘Was the matter being looked into’? It was stated that traffic officers would henceforth receive three years training. ‘Would the ones currently employed receive any extra training or have to do refresher courses’? It was said that when licence renewal went online, licences would be delivered to the applicant’s doorstep. ‘Would applicants pay for delivery costs’? She commended the concern about women, but there seemed to be no disabled persons on the RTMC staff. ‘Why was that’? It was a national requirement. It so happened that traffic officers would stop a vehicle and ask for an ID, when they were supposed to ask for a driver’s licence. Furthermore the officers did not display name tags so that one could not take a photograph of the officer.
Ms B Mathevula (EFF, Limpopo) commented that at test stations in the rural areas, queues were very long and there were very few staff members on duty. There was only one person on duty at Giani station. The RTMC had to partner with local government to look into the matter. ‘What was being done to ensure the safety of schoolchildren who crossed roads’? It was stated on slide 14 that youth programmes were implemented in communities. She asked for a breakdown of communities visited. ‘How many people had been arrested for fraud and corruption’? ‘Was protection granted to whistle blowers’? ‘What was the impact of accidents caused by trucks’? It was evident on social media that people were taking photos of themselves while driving. ‘How could that be prevented’?
Mr T Brauteseth (DA, KZN) told the CEO that Wits University had produced a corruption formula to the effect that c=p+d-e, which implied that where power and discretion were present, minus an ethical standard, conditions were favourable for corruption. Traffic officers had power and discretion, and the problem was that ethics could not be regulated. The fourth industrial revolution was based on the integration of the human and technological spheres. ‘How did the RTMC embrace cyber technology’? Technology could be used to make vehicles safer. Censors could be installed in public transport vehicles that would not allow the vehicle to start when it was overloaded as overloading could compromise vehicle performance. An overloaded pickup truck lost traction on its front wheels. There were other technologies that made a vehicle go into limp mode if safety rules were disregarded which meant that it could not be driven above a certain speed. It was common practice for people not to renew vehicle licences. It was advisable to implement further roadworthy testing every five years. In Japan it had to be done every three years. Non-licencing censors could be installed on the side of roads. If there had been no re-licencing, the vehicle could be put into limp mode. In the UK, if a car was not re-licenced for a certain length of time, the traffic authority would crush the car. He himself had questioned the Minister about road carnage. When a car was bought in SA, safety features were optional, and car dealers made money out of that. Safety requirements had to be instituted. Online licencing was already possible in Cape Town. ‘When would the service be available nationally’? Many work hours were wasted because people had to wait in line. The Minister of Finance had remarked on the lack of third party insurance in SA. It was possible to drive without insurance in SA, which created problems for the RAF. Third party insurance had formerly been obligatory. ‘Was the RTMC doing anything about third party insurance’? It was stated that there was underspending on account of 1000 traffic officers that could not be trained because there was no suitable venue. ‘Would training costs have amounted to R170 million’? The RTMC stated that it was self-funded. If so, ‘why was it cutting programmes when not directed by the Treasury to do so’?
Mr Rayi asked if the vacancies and acting positions referred to in the Annual Report had since been filled. There was a device called a tachograph, which could register the speeds at which a driver had been travelling, that could be examined by a traffic officer.
The Chairperson asked that the electronic road traffic information system be explained further. ‘What were the costs related to housing the traffic officer training centre with Denel’? ‘Was no cheaper venue available’? It was stated under programme 4, on slide 21, that there had been a SARAP infrastructure assessment produced and submitted to the relevant authority. Which was the relevant authority? ‘Was the service provider appointed by the Department of Transport (DoT) to develop the electronic National Traffic Information System (eNaTIS) data management system’? He asked the RTMC to elaborate about court costs related to the dispute with the service provider, and who the service provider was.
Adv Msibi responded that the matter of the single command could not to be easily resolved. The problems were not simple. Currently there was a parallel process between the municipalities and the provinces. Municipal officials had to adhere to the Municipal Systems Act, and provincial officials to the Public Service Act. The reason why traffic officers were not on duty after five o clock was that in terms of legislation work performed after five o clock was considered as overtime. There were officers who earned more from overtime than from their basic salary. The National Traffic Law Enforcement Code would be implanted by the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), the Police and the RTMC.
The Chairperson commented that in the Northern Cape, the provincial Department of Transport (DoT) could not account for revenue collection at local government level. It was a concurrent function between the three spheres of government.
Adv Msibi continued that for licencing and registration, municipalities acted as agents for the provinces. This was more apparent in Gauteng. It was important to promote hegemony, as money that was with the municipalities was bound to be used. In the Northern Cape licencing was seconded to the Post Office, which took 11 percent for itself. Money obtained from law enforcement to generate revenue was not finding its way to road management. In the North West, officers could not be supplied with cars, uniforms and weapons. Money earned from overtime in the nine provinces could have been used to employ 1040 officers annually. Taxi drivers could have their vehicles impounded for reckless and negligent driving. The impoundment fee could be raised to R15000 from R10000. There had to be rescheduling for reckless and negligent driving offences, so that drivers would not automatically be granted bail. If a taxi driver caused a fatal accident, like driving without a licence in an overloaded vehicle, he could be charged with culpable homicide. Vehicles without roadworthy certificates, speeding, recklessness and drunken driving were responsible for road accidents. The RTMC did research on drunken driving. There had to be a change of mind-set in South Africa (SA). The RTMC was not entirely self-funded, as it also depended on a government grant. It could be possible for banks to deal with motor licence renewal, but driver’s licences would remain with the DoT. Granting of roadworthy certificates was dealt with in the provinces and there were opportunities for corruption. Corrupt officials secured bookings if paid R1000. MECs had to be spoken to. The target of halving road fatalities by 2020 was not reached, but fatalities were reduced on an annual basis. The Post Office could be relied on for the renewal of vehicle licences until such time as it could be done online throughout the country. SA had agreed to be part of SADC driver’s licencing. Foreigner’s licences were converted to SA licences. It might be necessary to implement re-testing, or to standardise testing across the SADC region. The problem was that money generated from re-testing would go to SABS. Road safety depended on law enforcement and road safety programmes. Special taxi licence numbers might have to be considered. The trainee officers would have to receive a stipend of R6000, which contributed to the cost of training. The RTMC went out on tender for a training venue, and the cheapest obtained was R980 million per annum. Denel could supply a suitable venue at less than half the price. It was also more acceptable as a government to government arrangement. Social responsibility programmes were implemented in partnership with the provinces. School uniforms were supplied to learners, among others. The vacancy rate currently stood at 102. A new organogram would have to be designed. The service provider for eNaTIS was appointed in 2000, and asked for an extension of the 2005 contract in 2010. When it became evident that the service provider did not want to hand the system to the RTMC, as it was benefitting hugely from it, the service provider was taken to the Constitutional Court in 2017, and judgement was in favour of the RTMC, but the service provider appealed against the decision. Eventually the RTMC had to take the service provider employees on board with the system, and the service provider appointed more employees. To ensure the safety of schoolchildren crossing roads, the RTMC endeavoured to institute road safety rules as part of the school curricula. The reason for long queues at traffic stations in Limpopo was that corruption was found to be endemic, with 28 officials arrested, and the province was forced to withdraw people from stations. In terms of the fourth industrial revolution principles, the RTMC was committed to ensuring that vehicle manufacturers complied with safety standards.
Ms Mathevula repeated her question about accidents caused by trucks.
Mr Brauteseth repeated his question about third party insurance.
Adv Msibi responded that the RTMC was waiting for the National Treasury regarding third party insurance. Safety measures had to be made compulsory. The taking of selfies whilst driving could be traced on social media. Trucks were only responsible for 4% of road accidents. 67% were caused by pedestrians and vehicle that overturned.
Mr Rayi asked why suppliers were paid late.
Ms Moolman replied that there were late payments when invoices had to be queried. It was condoned by the trading facility.
Mr Dangor referred to the overloading of taxis with schoolchildren.
Adv Msibi replied that a taxi was found to contain 56 schoolchildren.
The Chairperson thanked the RTMC for responding to the invitation.
The meeting was adjourned.
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.