The Department of Transport briefed the Select Committee on its 2021/22 Annual Performance Plans (APP) and its Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan outlines measures which will be implemented by the Department to contribute to economic recovery and reconstruction.
The Department said planning was extremely difficult due to uncertainties posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and its inherent restrictions. DoT and entities are adapting to hybrid working arrangement to mitigate spread of the virus. Current plans take into consideration budget cuts and reprioritisation of resources over the medium term
Regarding estimates of national expenditure, the Department said R248.3 million was reduced over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) from compensation of employees, to remain within government’s expenditure ceiling for compensation of employees.
Members raised questions about filling vacancies in the Department; the field of study the bursary allocation will focus on; issues of airport ownership and refurbishment; maintenance of roads; road safety; accidents; and the implications on the Road Accident Fund (RAF).
The Chairperson welcomed everyone and acknowledged the presence of the Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula, the Deputy Minister of Transport, Ms Dikeledi Magadzi, and the Director-General: Department of Transport (DOT), Mr Alec Moemi.
The Department came to brief the Committee on its 2021/22 Annual Performance Plan (APP). It is important to note the progress made with implementing necessary polices, in partnership with local and provincial government. This is to ensure mobility and access to economic and social activities. The issue is around modernising the passenger mobility structure, and improving the status of public transport. Commitment to job creation remains the aim of the programmes, and exercising oversight over entities in the Department is important as well.
As it was a by-election day, most Members were on the ground trying to consolidate their respective political parties. This would affect meeting attendance. There were five apologies noted; namely for Mr T Brauteseth (DA, KZN), Mr M Dangor (ANC, Gauteng), who both later joined, Ms B Mathevula (EFF, Limpopo), Ms S Boshoff (DA, Mpumalanga), and Mr T Apleni (EFF, Eastern Cape).
The Chairperson said he knows the election programme is close to the Minister’s heart, and hoped the Department will use the time wisely because Members would want to partake. He handed over the platform to the Minister.
The Minister said the Department is pleased to brief the Committee on Strategies/Plans to ensure transport, as a sector, plays a meaningful role in enabling access to economic opportunities for the citizenry. The Strategic Plan outlines measures which will be implemented by the Department to contribute to the country’s economic reconstruction and recovery. He said he has no doubt the Committee fully appreciates the disruptive effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the Department’s plans. Not only did the Department have to play catch-up and revise targets, but also had to re-examine ambitious goals in light of budget constraints brought on by the pandemic. An integral part of adapting to the new normal is to do more with less, while tackling corruption and wastage aggressively.
Minister Mbalula said the resolve to raise the bar on clean governance and ethical leadership has never been greater. As the Ministry appoints boards for the Department’s various entities, the Ministry demands the same commitments to it, and clarifies this commitment in a form of shareholder compacts and performance agreements. This is imperative if the Department is to optimise performance and deliver services which will improve lives.
This starts with achieving unqualified audit opinions with no significant findings over the medium term, and all the entities guided by the findings of the Auditor-General (AG) of South Africa. The Department will be paying particular attention to specific areas to improve governance across all entities. This includes the elimination of wasteful and fruitless expenditure, reduction of irregular expenditure, resolution of reported incidents of corruption, establishment of ethics structures, and compliance with the 30-day payment requirements, among others.
The Department and its entities will report on this on a bi-annual basis. The revised Strategic Plan and the Annual Performance Plan for 2021/2022 needed tighter alignment to the National Development Plan (NDP), the Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF), and Performance Agreement (PA) signed with the President. This alignment ensures there is a direct line of sight between the output of the Departments, its entities, and other spheres of government, to the effect consolidated indicators were developed. This will enable the Department to track selected performance of entities and provinces.
Minister Mbalula said given the constraints, the reality of the new normal, the approach to service delivery needs a rhythm. The sector needed to be versatile and adapt quickly to new ways, while the transport mandate is sustained towards desired outcomes. The Department must be agile in managing the interface between the change agenda underpinned by the Khawuleza ethos, and the sustained agenda which requires the Department to keep an eye on the ball. As part of the public sector pursuit for transformation, there was also a need to ensure all the Department’s plans and reports are agenda responsive. The Department embarked on a process of ensuring functional areas of all sectors are mainstreamed. The sector was identified as key to job creation, mainly because of its capability to use labour intensive methods in the implementation of infrastructure programmes.
As a result, job targeted infrastructure programmes such as railroads and civil aviation will be disaggregated into three categories of vulnerable groups; namely women, youth, and persons with disabilities. Other areas identified for mainstream include, but are not limited to employment equity, filling of vacancies, training and development, disbursement of bursaries, selection and appointment of interns, and the distribution of bicycles to use in the rural areas. In the public transport space, all infrastructure should comply with universal access design codes and standards. Addressing and ending gender-based violence (gbv) is one of the priorities in the taxi industry. In line with the priorities of the government, the Department lifted among five critical inventions, among others, which are key. These are; tabling the Traffic Management Value Chain (TMVC), road safety interventions, stabilisation of the Road Accident Fund (RAF), stabilisation of Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), accelerating the implementation of the Revised Taxi Recapitalisation, and addressing South African National Roads Agency SOC Limited (SANRAL) liquidity issues. He invited the Director General (DG) to lead a presentation of Strategic Plans and APPs on behalf of the Department.
Mr Moemi greeted the Committee, and acknowledged the presence of the Minister and the Deputy Minister. He said because of time, he would try to summarise the important areas to brief the Committee. He focused on the National Development Plan (NDP) pillars aligned to the seven apex priorities of the Department, Strategic Overview of the Department, Revised Strategic Plan 2020-2025, and APP 2021/2022.
DOT 2021/22 APP & Strategic Plan
Mr Moemi presented on the Department’s revised Strategic Plan (2020-2025) and APP (2021/2022). His presentation was focused on the National Development Plan’s pillars aligned to the seven apex priorities of the Department, the Minister’s priorities, a strategic overview of the Department, the Department’s revised Strategic Plan (2020-2025) and the APP (2021/22) of the Department.
- Slow progress in upgrading existing services in rural and urban areas.
- Incoherent and disintegrated visionary view on implementation of public transport sector mandates.
- Inadequate integration and efficiencies of Integrated Public Transport Network Services (IPTN)
- Inability of the municipalities to implement IPTN services due to insufficient technical guidance and lack of capacity.
- Delays in launching IPTN operations because of resistance from incumbent operators and labour.
- Insufficient funding for the implementation of IPTNs.
Estimates of National Expenditure
R248.3 million was reduced over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) from compensation of employees, to remain within government’s expenditure ceiling for compensation of employees. Spending on this item is set to decrease at an average annual rate of 0.3 percent, from R536.8 million in 2020/21 to R531.5 million in 2023/24.
For full presentation see attached document.
Ms M Moshodi (ANC, Free State) asked about the rural municipality to which the Department will distribute bicycles in 2021/2022. She also asked if the Department can indicate which stakeholders it will consult regarding the review of the Existing Public Transport Funding models in the Third Quarter.
She asked which field of study the bursary focuses on; what gender representation is; what the racial demographic of the recipients of the160 bursaries is; what the activities in Quarter One, Two, and Three, pertaining to the implementation of the stakeholders plan will be; and which stakeholders the Department will consult on the national level in the Second Quarter.
She asked the Minister not to forget transformation when filling the vacancies in the Department, and applauded the Department for having an unqualified audit.
Mr C Dodovu (ANC, North West) appreciated the presentation, and said listening to the Strategic Plans and the APP, shows the Minister and the team are in charge, and understand the challenges and magnitude of the work to be done. This inspires confidence. It happened over a short space of time, and this must be applauded, as it is commendable. The Department must keep up the good work. The Department appreciates there is a need to focus on the State-Owned Entities (SOE), because some entities have problems.
He advised the Department not to look back or waiver, and to focus on upholding what is wrong in the transport sector, being either aviation, road, or rail. It is important to instill ethical leadership and processes in this respect. Once it is done, it will have profound implications on achieving economic goals and enhancing the capability of the state.
The Department in the North West province is under Section 101 which means there is an administrator appointed by the Department. Regarding the report of the Auditor-General (AG), the Province was noted to have a material irregularity, and there are issues which must be addressed, such as, scholar transport, South African Express, and North West Transport Investments. He asked what type of support the Department will give to the Province, in dealing with these issues, because the problems seem to continue. He also asked how the Department will intervene in solving problems of irregular expenditure.
Mr M Rayi (ANC, Eastern Cape) said he appreciates the work done by the Department and the Ministry. He also appreciates the commitment of the Minister in ensuring the use of the Khawuleza ethos, and the commitment to fight corruption. He appreciated the indicators, particularly on the programme which deals with governance eternal control enhancement. The issue of budget cuts is affecting government departments’ plans, and is leading to reprioritisation of programmes. This is also affecting Parliament, and about eight percent of the parliamentary budget was cut. This affects parliamentary oversight.
Once the Cabinet approves the revised Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) for 2019/20, it could result in the revision of departmental plans. He asked when Cabinet will approve the MTSF 2019-2024. A statement from the Minister, through the administration of the Committee, said about 189 crashes happened during the Easter period, and about 235 fatalities occurred nationwide. Some of these are caused by high speed. In the Western Cape, there are average speed cameras from N1 to Beaufort West, and the R61 between Albertinia and Beaufort West. This contributed to discipline among road users.
He asked if the Department would consider installing cameras in other provinces, as this could go a long way to reducing accidents caused by speeding. In the same report there was an issue of informal settlements along national and regional roads. About 35% of people who die on the roads are pedestrians. He asked if the Department would consider building bridges for safe pedestrian crossing.
There is going to be a taxi scrapping entity in five years. He said 60% of the entity will be owned by the taxi industry. He asked what the role of government will be regarding funding in the establishment of this entity, and who the 40% will be. There is a target of ten cities and districts in the Integrated Public Transport Network (IPTN). He asked for the explanation of the four additional cities and districts. There is a 100% compliance level, but he wanted to know what the baseline of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement (GFI) project is.
When it comes to the maintenance of national roads, he asked what happens to these roads which go through cities and towns, for example the N2 which goes through Mthatha, Butterworth, or King William’s Town. He asked if it is the responsibility of the municipality, government, or SANRAL; and asked what the Private Participation Framework (PPF) entails in the rail sector; specifically regarding civil aviation, refurbishment, and rehabilitation of airports. He said OR Tambo and Cape Town International were mentioned. In the 2019 presentation from Airports Company South Africa (ACSA), there were pictures and areas of airports which needed to be refurbished. In the current plans there is no mention of other airports, Port Elizabeth, East London, Bloemfontein, and others. He asked if it is because of budget cuts; and asked when the National Land Transport Act (NLTA) is coming into effect.
The Chairperson said in Northern Cape, Sishen airport is not under the management of ACSA. He asked what role the Department plays, regarding what should and should not be managed by ACSA. It is a busy airport because it borders a manganese and iron ore belt under the Kakamas corridor. The state of the road between the Kalahari manganese field and Hotazel is quiet disheartening. He asked how the Department will intervene to assist the Province. In the partnership of the Province and the Mine Managers Forum (MMF), the route was said to be under construction and MMF contributed R289 million towards rehabilitating the road from Hotazel to Krusmanburg. It is one of the busiest intersections because of mining activities, and heavy trucks on the road transport manganese and iron ore from Black Rock, Hotazel either to Saldana Bay, Richards Bay, or Port Elizabeth.
Regarding public transport for rail and road users, he said maintenance of national and provincial road networks is critical in modernising passenger rail infrastructure. He asked how the sector is performing, how it is responding to its mandate around capable and ethical leadership, and compliance with legislation. He asked if the Department has sufficient internal control systems in place to monitor expenditure trends and performance of grants. It is important for accountability and oversight to be perfected. There were questions posed in the Zondo Commission, such as where Parliament or the Portfolio Committee was when this was happening. The Deputy Minister appeared before the Zondo Commission. What is important is what the Department is doing to mitigate the narratives which former CFO of PRASA raised, and that the Department is very consistent about. It is fundamental to show the ability of a Department, which is exercising oversight over entities. This is especially the case where negative issues were raised around the modus operandi of one of the entities. It only makes sense for the Department to reassure the Committee there will not be a recurrence of such issues.
The issue of job creation, not only comes from PRASA, but is an issue which was raised as part of the work the Department will be doing, namely infrastructure development. There is a project in Ekurhuleni aimed at manufacturing rolling stock. Local production is important as it is part and parcel of increasing the manufacturing capacity. Economic opportunities, which will emanate from advancing the roads, with the sole purpose of road safety challenges, are important. In the past it was anticipated the turnaround of PRASA and Moloto Road would create ten thousand job opportunities, while the rolling stock would create sixty-five thousand. The important question is the extent to which the Department is progressing, regarding ensuring there is no deviation, and targets are met.
The latest figures from the Road Traffic Maintenance Corporation (RTMC), particularly deaths occurring on the roads, represent a ten percent reduction in fatalities. The question is if the current road safety initiatives in the country have enough capacity to further reduce fatalities. The question is what the impact is of these fatalities on Road Accident Fund capacity, or ability to manage compensation. It is important to know to which extent the Department is exercising oversight, to ensure RAF challenges are brought on board. These are separate entities, and what is critical is for the SOEs to be put back on track to ensure it does what it rightfully envisaged doing, to support government. This applies not only to creating jobs, but the in-house capacity as well. Integrated Public Road Network-Rustenburg Municipality was one of the beneficiaries. He asked what the latest status is in regards to challenges around Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT).
The Deputy Minister allowed the Director-General to reply because questions raised were operational in nature.
Mr Moemi said a list will be provided to the Committee, as soon as the provinces compile it. There is still consultation with the Department of Basic Education within provinces, requesting it to provide schools which need services of the Shova Kalula, as part of non- motorised transport policy programmes. This is a new financial year, and three provinces already completed and submitted the lists. The rollout will then begin. North West is one of the provinces which already submitted the list. The Deputy Minister already began the rollout in this province. Transport is broad and the industry engages in consultations with stakeholders in the specific field. The Department is also engaging government at provincial and municipal levels, and directly in the community. The consultation process is quite wide, and not one size fits all. It depends on the topic and the matter at hand.
He said bursaries are offered in transport, freight, and logistics related studies. The Department engaged with four of the six universities offering public transport management, and will conclude with the other two. Negotiations are at an advanced stage and the Department’s policies are being reviewed. A Post Graduate Development Programme (PGDP) will be introduced to promote Masters and Phd students in the advanced field. The Department looked internally for further development, and is now looking externally. It is giving high school leaving students better grades, and there are opportunities to study at university. There is also promotion of non-staff who have junior degrees, if willing to start postgraduate studies. The Department begun looking at new areas which were not part of the normal transport programme offered at universities. There are also short courses and degree programmes available, which can be undertaken. Previously, no one would have thought about regulating a flying taxi, but flying cars are becoming a reality.
It is possible for the Department to share its stakeholder plan with the Committee.
Regarding filling vacancies, the Department is sensitive to issues pertaining to employment equity status. Among the current total staff, females are the majority. The key issue which still needs to be addressed is senior level positions. The higher vacancy rate provided an opportunity to address challenges, and women are being appointed for senior management positions. The disability target was exceeded. The Department has begun what no one did before, namely, working with the Department of Women. Posts are being designated and are effectively testing the market, and the law. It was mentioned men must not apply for certain positions. The Department has been threatened to be taken to court on review. This might set a good precedent for the government because it is a necessary issue to pursue.
Regarding SOEs and ethical leadership, the Department is strengthening the instruments of accountability and has introduced a transparent agreement for entities. It is specifically strengthening in regards to issues of the North West and Section 101. After a recent report by the administrator there was a separate session with the Auditor-General who confirmed the situation is improving. The Minister had a quarterly meeting with the MEC, where the report of the administrator was also tabled. The current situation is steady from the previous status where scholar transport totally collapsed. It was retained to 80% coverage, and is still being ramped up.
North West Transport Investments Soc Ltd (NTI) had certainly collapsed and was nearly liquidated. The Department fought in court, trying to bring it back to life. It already lost its subsidy to the Gauteng provincial government, who brought the Gauteng government in to save the company. A separate report of all interventions in the North West can be provided.
He agreed with Mr Dodovu, saying more work must be done. The Department recently sent three people from the national level to support the administrator on compact management and related aspects. The Department is keen to get the job done.
SANRAL adopted average speed cameras. Cameras are being rolled out across major highways of Polokwane, south of the Free State. There are limitations to this because the average speed cameras work better on a closed system. This means there should be no exit in between. Some people speed all the way to town, if there is a town in between. This defeats the whole aim. Others speed before reaching a secondary road. The Department is looking at those loopholes in the system and interval checks are also conducted.
Regarding IPTNS, the districts being supported are Mopane, Sekhukhune, Amathole, Chris Hani, and Ehlanzeni. Others will be rolled out along the way.
Regarding the taxi scrapping entity, 60% goes to the taxi industry and 40% goes to the private company which won the tender. Machinery and technology to scrap vehicles and deal with the administration was invested. This is part of an empowerment programme, agreed with the industry, about the value chain. It is impossible to have R40billion from the industry per year, yet the industry is not benefiting from it. This will in future empower the industry with enough capital for projects such as manufacturing, and fitting tyres, and fuel stations. It is one industry which is largely black owned and controlled. This goes hand in hand with the agreement to be formalised and professionalised to run better services for commuters. The current levels fluctuate between anything from 25% to 35%. The issue is legality. The Department is unable to promote 40% compliance because it would mean it is indirectly encouraging 60% of the population to commit crime. A 100% compliance rate is always recommended, because legally citizens must be encouraged to comply with the law.
Regarding national roads which pass through cities and towns, in some parts of the country it is more specific.
There are signboards which show where the mandate of the Department ends. An example is N12, where the national mandate ends a kilometer before Bloemhof. Ekurhuleni is under the municipality, and the roads have so many potholes. A kilometre after leaving town there is a signpost mandate and a good road. This is because municipalities and provinces do not hand over a portion of specific roads to the national, and this leads to breakdown in continuity. The Department respects other spheres of the government, and is now doing bypasses across cities, for example in Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Polokwane.
Private sector participation in rail will allow private companies to invest and operate freight and passengers in the rail environment. The Department began prioritising underserviced and underutilised branch lines. In some instances, where people must move from road to rail, the framework speaks to the rules around allowing private sector participation. The rail sector, Transnet, and PRASA agreed and identified five freight corridors which will be run and be administered by private providers. Hamanskraal and ThabaNchu were identified by the Department for an initial start in the passenger category.
Speaking on airports which are not mentioned in relation to the downside of COVID-19, the Department has revised the number of arrivals anticipated to go through the passenger handling facility. International Air Transport Association (IATA) study says it will take about three to five years to go back to the initial target. Building infrastructure ahead of time may be too costly for the Republic. The Department had to revise and concentrate on where there is evidence of potential growth. Some airports saw a huge decline in numbers because of the impact of COVID-19. This explains the downscale of the initial outlook for the upgrade of several airports.
Regarding the rollout of Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO), the first part of the promulgation by the President is scheduled for 1 July 2021. This phase entails setting up the registry and all requirements, ultimately working towards the introduction of a demerit system. There are five phases for the rollout process.
On the matter of the National Land Transport Act (NLTA), the President’s people are still looking at the law to see if it complies before being accented. The date is unknown but will be shared with the Committee as soon as it progresses.
On the matter of aviation, and particularly ownership of airports, it was described as being a concurrent function. There are airports owned by municipalities, for example, Tshwane, and Stellenbosch. The Stellenbosch municipality wants to build a bigger and better one. Some airports are owned by provinces such as Polokwane and Gateway, as well as private airports. Mafikeng is owned by the Province and is grossly underutilised. The Department has been negotiating with provinces to bring uniformity of approach to all state-owned airports.
He said he was not talking about privately owned airports. The National Airport and Development Plan, and Management Plans, are being developed because most municipalities and provinces, are really struggling to maintain these airports. Polokwane has been downgraded and no flights are going there. Tshwane was downgraded two years ago. Not all airports will become highly profitable, but what is needed is a combination of highly profitable airports which can cross subsidise the interconnectivity of cities.
The Department was trying to convince provinces, for example the North West, to hand over the airport to the Airport Company South Africa. ACSA can cross subsidise Polokwane or Limpopo province. The Polokwane airport would be handed to the Department and be administered under the national tier. Public airports in the Northern Cape have been handed over to ACSA. Some provincial governments agree easily, but some want to hold on to the assets, even if it is not getting the best value out of it. These provinces also have every right to hold on to it, but for the good of the country, the Department is convincing and nagging these provinces. There is no reliable bus service between Mahikeng, Johannesburg, and Pretoria. There is also no reliable flight service. The Department has basically relegated people to private vehicles, as well as taxis. If an airport in an area is handed over to the national tier, it will run at a loss but will be cross subsidised by airports which are making money, such as Johannesburg and Cape Town. As a unitary state, cross subsidisation is important for service delivery because the aim is not profit making.
From Hotazel to Postmasburg road, there has been a debate between the Department, the Northern Cape Premier, and the MEC. The Department is pushing strongly for road to rail. The Department does not want to invest heavily in the road, and those trucks must shift all the manganese being transported to rail. Transnet increased the number of trains, but the weakness is the railway link between Saldanha. The Department wants to invest in this, instead of bigger roads. All the trucks and wagons must be removed. Transnet is pushing about 68% of the manganese on to rail. The difference is on the road, but it must also be shifted to rail. There is a discussion about a new port which will handle the manganese produced in Northern Cape in Boegoebaai. As seen in the strategic list of transport programmes, the port has been published and will be a second port after Ngqura. The Department is at an advanced stage, discussing with investors, and already received TA2 approval from Treasury, and is keen on proceeding with it. A rail link is needed to connect Saldanha and the new Boegobaaiport. Roads will be developed and maintained in the Northern Cape for social use, overflow of economic activities, and courier companies will be using those roads. The Department will not develop roads for purposes of moving heavy cargo.
The limited resources are causing the debate.
Regarding system monitoring, the Department improved its grant and reporting framework over the last three years. It means to exercise better oversight over the grant, particularly the Provincial Roads Maintenance Grant. The Department agreed with Treasury to issue a practice note to all provinces on the degree and standard of projects, for example the cost of laying a kilometre of road. There are provinces paying up to five times, compared to SANRAL. Looking at the quality of roads it is evident SANRAL does a better job compared to what is being paid for by the provinces. The Inter-governmental Monitoring Support and Interventions Act is being discussed and it will help the government on the issue of holding funds and input. Once the Bill becomes a law it will provide for greater capacity, including intervening outside the constitutional framework, be it Section 100,101(a) or (b). Legally the Department has the power to send an administrator to oversee grants and resources.
On the Ekurhuleni Gibela project, the Department is looking at the rolling stock. Several trains were produced to be carriers. The Department is negotiating with Alstom, the major shareholder, to ensure supplier opportunities can benefit black people as well.
On Moloto Road, opportunities were produced by SANRAL and two community liaison sessions were held where it has highlighted that the issues with contactors are local, and those with necessary grades are assigned to work.
Regarding the link between road fatalities and the RAF, the Department does not believe it has all the required resources.
The Department started working more smart and classified higher accident zones to police it better. This resulted in a gross reduction of fatalities. The Department begun to police secondary roads and is working closely with the private sector to bring back the Arrive Alive message campaign. Most importantly, once AARTO gets rolled out and the generic system is implemented, unpleasant drivers will be removed from the roads. In the first year, there was ten percent per year on year drop on fatalities, with seven percent drop last year. The Department is setting an ambitious ten percent target for this year because it improved policing and reinforcement capacity, which was previously different. It is still in the early stages, but results are showing. Where there was a year on year increase, there is now a year-on-year drop.
Oversight over RAF is doing well. The entity used to collect about R17billion of revenue per year. In one financial year, R10.3billion was allocated to law firms for legal fees, whereas only four percent of cases actually end up in court. The Department since realised the panel of attorneys used was not suitable.
To arrest this significantly, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed with the Office of State Law advisors, 68 candidate lawyers were placed at the state attorneys, and are looking at RAF cases specifically. The figures are now in the millions, as opposed to the previous billions. An amount of about R9.7billion was saved, only through this measure. Those who benefited from RAF are taking the Department to court, but the Department is also fighting back. For the first time medical tariffs were published for medical aids such as Discovery, Bonitas, or any other medical aids. Doctors are being informed by medical aids of the payable fee per hour, if patients are treated. The same is being done with pharmacies for medication. The Department is very confident about the work being done, and numbers are showing.
Within a year the Department will be able to bring RAF to a break-even point, and to a sustainable path. This is the aim for the end of the financial year, beginning next year. It sounds ambitious, but with the interventions being made it is going in this direction.
The Chairperson asked about the Department of Roads and Transport (DRT) project in Rustenburg municipality. The DG said the project is in progress and the Department is negotiating with Rustenburg municipality to look at the DRT live solution. It is doing the same with Polokwane. Some of the stations collapsed before being utilised, and the Department is holding contactors accountable. While Rustenburg seems uninterested in pursuing the matter, sanity prevailed. The Department is acting against contractors and holding everybody to account. He said he voluntarily approached the Special Investigations Unit to investigate the matter, and believes the Department is on the right track. Busses transporting passengers will be the first priority, and outstanding matters will be resolved along the way.
The Deputy Minister said, as the Director-General said, the Department has very ambitious plans. Looking at the past two years, PRASA and RAF are starting to shape up, and so are other SOEs in the Department. Despite the effect of the pandemic on infrastructure development, the ambitious plans are based on the principle of Khawuleza. The Committee will be briefed on a quarterly basis because of the revised Strategic Plans, and the Department is very confident to deliver on the proposed APP. The vacancies in the Department have been reduced, but the Director General posts are outstanding and will eventually be filled. There is a need to reimagine the Department, which will contribute towards infrastructure and economic development of the country. This can only be achieved if the Department prioritises safety and security, particularly in the public transport environment.
It can also be done by conscientising communities. She said the encroachment in the road and railway reserves are some of the issues to be discussed. By law, people encroaching on road and rail reserves are an impediment, and danger to the infrastructure investment. The Deputy Minister thanked the Chairperson for the opportunity and the warm reception from the Committee. She assured the Committee the Department will not disappoint. The Chairperson expressed gratitude to the entire Department and allowed the Ministry to exit the meeting.
The Committee continued with in-house matters on the agenda.
Mr Rayi notified the Chairperson that Mr Dangor had left the meeting and this affected the quorum.
The Chairperson asked if it would have an effect, since Members were present at the beginning of the meeting.
The Committee Secretary said Members need to be present.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Rayi for noting such an important observation.
The adoption of minutes was deferred to the next meeting of 25 May.
The meeting was adjourned.
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