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TRANSPORT AD HOC COMMITTEE
26 May 2004
DEPARTMENT STRATEGIC OVERVIEW AND BUDGET: BRIEFING
Chairperson: Mr J Cronin (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Department of Transport Strategy Plan (hard copy available on request)
Transport Indaba report (hard copy available on request)
Newspaper articles clippings on transport issues (hard copy available on request)
Director-General's Report: 'Refocusing For Delivery
Transport Budget Vote 33
Media Briefing by Minister of Transport
Department of Transport website library
The Department Director-General briefed the Committee on the policies and regulations that would support development in transport. The Committee mainly raised concerns regarding the solvency and operational challenges in the Road Accident Fund (RAF). It was agreed that there would be an ongoing discussion on this matter with National Treasury.
Ms Wrenelle Stander, Department Director-General, spoke about the Department's R6.8 million budget and their strategies that would follow the national government's priorities such as economic growth, poverty alleviation, access for people with disabilities, rural development and black economic empowerment. She raised concerns such as fraud and corruption, inefficiency in vehicle licensing inspection, and the complete feasibility study for National Highway Patrol. The Department had to review and enhance the "Arrive Alive" strategy and a plan had to be developed for the restructuring of the Road Accident Fund (RAF).
Mr S Farrow (DA) asked whether the Department was satisfied with integration between itself, Transnet and other related agencies.
Ms Stander replied that there had been improved interaction due to joint work programmes and meetings with Transnet every fortnight. There has also been regular meetings with agencies.
Mr A Ainslie (ANC) asked about difficulties that were delaying the implementation of the Road Traffic Management Function (RTMC). Mr Jerry Makokoane, Department Deputy Director-General: Public Transport and Planning, replied that staff had not been appointed because a clear policy had not yet been established.
Mr V Gore (ID) enquired about progress in attaining equal accessibility for disabled road users. Mr Makokoane responded that the National Transport Survey to be released by 15 June, included a disability needs assessment.
Mr N Magubane (ANC) asked Ms Stander when the 171 vacant posts would be filled. She replied that the Department staffing had recently been restructured and expanded. An intensive recruitment campaign still had to be launched.
Mr Ainslie asked if efficient minibus taxis would be subsidised. Another Department official responded that taxi facilities were being upgraded and that integrated transport policies were being finalised.
Ms B Thomson (ANC) said that in Cape Town, the taxi industry was not operating effectively. Travelling by train was no longer an option for many commuters, because of criminal activities being perpetrated on trains.
Ms Stander reminded the Committee that the Department was responsible for transport issues such as the reconstruction of roads and railways. Personal and physical safety was the responsibility of another Department.
Ms Thomson expressed worry about staff competency at the SA National Road Safety Limited (SANDRAL) agency.
Mr Makokoane responded that the Poverty Alleviation Fund had never had the capacity to implement policies and this was the reason for the transfer of one sixth of the total budget to SANDRAL. Continuous monitoring of the agency and its objectives would be done.
There was unanimous concern from Members over the solvency the RAF. Ms Stander said that a new Board had been appointed and though worki with the Department of Minerals and Energy, they would try to alleviate the financial situation. It was essential to hold continuous discussions with the National Treasury.
Mr Thomson felt that it was time that previously disadvantaged companies received recognition. The Department responded that black economic empowerment was one of their core strategies - 60% of black workers had already been employed.
The Chair was satisfied with the dynamic Vote 33 Report, and excited by the public debate on national transport after the release of the National Transport Survey. He approved of the Department changing the name of the Transport Summit to the Transport Roundtable (to be held in September-October 2004). He said that it was essential that the country's citizens contributed in the development of a better transport infrastructure.
The meeting was adjourned.
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