Committee Programme 2001; Road Accident Fund Commission

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14 February 2001
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

14 February 2001

Chairperson: Mr J P Cronin

The Chair highlighted some problems that the committee had to address. Much discussion revolved around the committee becoming more active in the performance of their duties. Amongst their immediate concerns would be to improve the efficiency of ports and to sort out problems in provinces. Discussion also ensued on the lack of progress by the Road Accident Fund Commission, specifically whether they are in fact acting within their mandate. Consequently, the RAF and the Commission would be invited to address the committee on progress.

Committee Programme
The Chair set out the agenda for the committee for this session:
• 21 February - There will be a briefing by the Minister on the strategy and overview for 2001. The Arrive Alive Campaign has made great strides in creating road safety awareness and they intend using the Portfolio Committee as a platform to announce to the public their strategies for the upcoming year.

• 27 February - A Canadian delegation from their department of transport is to address the committee on international relations.

• 28 February - The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (SATAWU) has asked to brief the committee on issues relating to effects of the restructuring of Transnet and its family as well as the current state of affairs in the minibus industry.

• 7 March - The big mining house Biliton has asked to address the committee on concerns that they have over Spoornets pricing policies. Apparently, Spoornet is charging them according to the value of the goods transported and not its weight. The Chair stated that if needed, the committee would have to take a trip to Port Elizabeth to investigate the matter.

• 14 March - 4 April - Transnet and its family being Spoornet, Metrorail, Portnet, Freight Dynamics and Petronet are to brief the committee on their restructuring progress during financial year 2001/2002.

The Chair emphasised the need for the committee to concentrate on the port dimension. On Friday, 9 February the President stated the focus should be on lowering costs and improving the efficiency of the ports. The Chair informed the committee that a White Paper would soon be available to address the issue. The committee would also be making visits to various the various ports of Cape Town, Durban including the new development at Koega.

The committee would investigate problems associated with ports such as the spreading of foot and mouth disease. In addition regulations on many issues are lacking such as rail safety. These problems and many others have to be addressed by the committee.
The Chair stated that it is obvious given the tasks that lay ahead for the committee, that they should become more active. He specifically mentioned that they should get an understanding of safety and infrastructural problems in provinces.

The Chair asked members for suggestions on how to get more engaged, as they need to extend their role of oversight and accountability. Mr Farrow (DP) suggested the visiting of airports as well when visiting the port cities. He pointed out that baggage security seems to be a problem at airports.

Road Accident Fund Commission
The Chair stated that the Commission's life had already been extended by one year ending June 2001. However, from feedback received from the Commission, it would seem that a further extension is needed as the Commission is experiencing difficulties in accessing information and records on the Road Accident Fund (RAF).

The Chairperson of the Commission Judge K. Satchwell, had asked the Committee if they could present a progress report to them. Mr Farrow felt that this was a good idea as too much time and money has already been spent on the investigation. He stated that the mandate of the Commission was to look at the siphoning off of funds in legal fees and not at the administrative problems experienced by the RAF. Mr Farrow strongly emphasised the need for the Commission to report on their progress.

Various members also suggested that the RAF Board should be called in to address the committee on problems such as mismanagement. The committee agreed to invite both the Board and the RAF Commission to brief the committee.

The meeting was adjourned.


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