Department of Transport 2023/24 Annual Performance Plan

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

26 April 2023
Chairperson: Mr M Mmoiemang (ANC, Northern Cape)
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Meeting Summary



The Department of Transport briefed the Select Committee on its 2023/2024 Annual Performance Plans (APP) and its Strategic Plan. The plan outlines measures to contribute to economic recovery and reconstruction of transport infrastructure. The Department has been allocated R79.565 billion in 2023/24, R86.718 billion in 2024/25 and R94.152 billion in 2025/26 financial years.

Committee members raised many questions about rail and the Deputy Minister asked that the Department and PRASA return to answer these questions. As such a meeting would not be soon enough it was requested that these answers be provided within 14 days. There were also questions on the Operation Vala Zonke for the filling of potholes; the Shova Kalula bicycle programme, ACASA airport refurbishment; road maintenance; road safety; accidents; less attention given to smaller provinces; and filling of vacancies in the Department.

Meeting report

The Chairperson said that there has been a request for an extension of the eight-week legislation cycle by Mr Masuku from the Western Cape Parliament. It would be important to indicate to the Committee that only four of the provincial legislatures would require that extension. He asked committee members if they would have a fundamental objection to the extension. There were no objections from the Committee. The Chairperson said that House Chairperson’s office would be informed that the Committee accedes to the request. The Committee will be updated after that happens.

Minister’s comments
Deputy Minister of Transport Lisa Mancgu stated that a lot of attention has been given to service delivery outcomes when drafting the APP to best benefit people. The next few months will be intense, robust and challenging as they attempt to close the business of the Sixth Administration. The Department strives to provide the best delivery and this is a recurring theme this year.

The Department will continue to support PRASA so that it recovers. DoT aim to ensure 240 trains have been built and this will be done speedily. It would like to recover the 13 rail corridors. DoT would also want to focus on PRASA CAPEX which has always posed a problem.

DoT will focus on the repair of roads and will kickstart the project aimed at closing potholes nationwide called Operation Vala Zonke. It would like to use this opportunity to create employment.

The Department aims to construct 96 rural bridges through the Welisizwe Rural Bridges programme. For public transport, it will assist 10 cities in their infrastructure works. A city support programme has been initiated to assist struggling cities. These cities include Msundusi, Buffalo City and Mbombela. These cities have been excluded from the grant and therefore require more assistance.

Taxi vehicles need to be safe therefore the scrapping of illegal vehicles. The Department is aware of the illegally operating taxis and that they know where to find them.

Department of Transport 2023/24 Annual Performance Plan
Director General Adv James Mlawu apologised for his bad connection and stated that the DoT Head of Strategy and Planning will present. He asked to switch off his camera to save bandwidth, to which the Chairperson agreed.

Mr Bosa Ramantsi, DoT Head of Strategy and Planning, stated that the National Department of Transport is a policing department and that it will be supporting its entities and provinces to help them to meet their targets. It needs to ensure that the provinces meet the SMART criteria for their performance indicators and that they have a clean audit. The Department wants to push hard to do well on the things that they can control. It would like to act within the scope of its resources to ensure that they do not go off track because of a lack of resources. DoT would like to contribute to skills, education, and health and this is internally focused. It would like to advance South Africa not only as a department but as a sector. Its vision has stood the test of time and that transport is the heartbeat of economic development and that if people want to grow, they will need transport to do this. DoT has added innovation, environmental protection, and governance to their priority focus areas. Its impact statement is: “A competitive, efficient, accessible, reliable, and safe South African transport system that enables socio-economic growth and development”. Safety and security remains a top strategic goal.

Safety and Security
The target was to reduce road fatalities by 25% below 10 000 per annum and the only time this happened was in 2020 during Covid when there were fewer cars on the roads. The target is not being met. They would like it to be as these fatalities are a cost to the economy that on average cost the country R164 billion. The measures put in place to mitigate this include having a national road safety strategy and reducing the production time of licences to between 10-14 days. Traffic policing needs to become a 24/7 job and there have been engagements with the relevant stakeholders to achieve this.

Key Focus areas in the Five-Year Strategic Plan
Mr Ramantsi outlined the problem statement and deficiencies for each of its eight key focus areas and identified the targets and outcomes.

● Safety and security – This included reduction in road crash fatalities; decrease asset-related crimes on railways and ensure that acts of gender based violence (GBV) are reduced in this space.

● Aviation – Fatal accidents in general aviation reduced by 50% from 20 to 10.

● Taxi – over the medium term DoT aims to scrap 63 000 old vehicles.

● Public transport – South African cities are some of the most expensive cities for public transportation specifically for lower income cities and DoT is working on ensuring adequate subsidies to allow people to participate.

● Shova Kalula Bicycle Programme – increase the number of bicycles distributed.

● Passenger rail – fixing rail corridors with PRASA at the centre of this programme with a target of 90 million passenger trips

● Infrastructure, economic growth, and job creation – grow labour intensively.

● Innovation – DoT wants to ensure that the regulatory environment is ready and adequate to deal with innovation.

● Environmental protection – DoT would like to decrease greenhouse emissions by 1% in the medium term.

● Governance – DoT would like to ensure reduction of irregular expenditure by 100%

Mr Ramantsi referred to the 2023/24 APP but did not go through it as he considered it as read.

Estimates of National Expenditure
The Department has been allocated R79.565 billion in 2023/24, R86.718 billion in 2024/25 and R94.152 billion in 2025/26 financial years.

Transfers and subsidies account for 98% (R255.3 billion) of DoT expenditure over the next three years, increasing at an average annual rate of 9.7%. Of this, R155 billion is directed towards transport public entities and agencies to carry out their mandated functions, and R98.5 billion is transferred to other spheres of government with concurrent transport functions through the Provincial Roads Maintenance Grant, Public Transport Operations Grant, Public Transport Network Grant, and Rural Roads Asset Management Systems Grant.

Goods and services have an allocation of R3.5 billion over the medium term. To remain within the expenditure ceiling for compensation of employees, it has been allocated R1.7 billion over the medium term.

For full presentation see document.

Mr M Dangor (ANC, Gauteng) thanked the speakers for the presentation. In March 2023 it was reported that the Central Line in the Western Cape was opened and asked if the people who live along this line had been resettled. When would the railway line in Orange Farm be opened? He asked for the rationale for the decrease in the allocation for the transport planning programme and if this decrease would affect DoT's mandate. He asked for the reason for the decline in the road oversight programme and in the road regulation programme. He asked for an explanation of the difference between PRMG Refurbishment and PRMG Maintenance.

Mr T Brauteseth (DA, KZN) asked for an update on the issuing of digital licences. He asked for details about personnel and technology that can help DoT to achieve its rail safety targets. South African airports have problems with faulty equipment for fog conditions and asked what DoT will do to mitigate this. The taxi industry is never consulted on the plans DoT makes, and this is why these plans often fail. He asked if there has been consultation and what will happen to the scrapped vehicles. The Go! Durban integrated rapid public transport network (IRPTN) plan was launched in March 2013 and there had not been any progress. He asked for an update on this plan. He requested clarity about the stating a baseline of 870 417 million passenger rail trips and a target of 90 million (which was later confirmed to be a typo error). The coastal border of South Africa does not have good protection. What is DoT's plan to increase patrols of these borders? He asked how DoT would recover fruitless and wasteful expenditure. He also asked when the roads in Durban that would have been affected by the floods would be repaired.

Ms M Moshodi (ANC, Free State) asked if integrated public transport network (IPTN) targets for Mangaung and Rustenburg have been met. She asked the reason for the use of the budget for maritime consultation and reason for the budget allocation decrease for the Administration programme. She asked for details on the vacancy rate and if DoT considers gender equality when it makes its appointments. She raised a concern about the lack of focus on smaller provinces.

Mr M Rayi (ANC, Eastern Cape) said that many of these targets are not found in the APP so it’s not possible to monitor them until the end of the five years and this is concerning as this will fall into the Seventh Administration. The government is not focusing on the more rural cities and asked how priority corridors would be identified if the main focus is always on Western Cape, Durban, and Gauteng. Would rail modernisation, refurbishment, recovery plans and fencing for rail safety be happening in only these three provinces? He asked about its economic development programmes. He asked how the R80bn is broken down and allocated to each of the provinces. He asked that the implementation of the stakeholder plan be clarified. Is it realistic to double from 50 to 90? Would the target be met for the Transport Regulator because the Bill is still under consideration by the NCOP? He asked for clarification on the road-to-rail plan and why the monetary allocation is so small. On the private sector participation framework, he asked if the private sector wants to participate because it is dangerous not to invest thinking that the private sector will invest and they do not.

Mr Rayi raised a concern about Operation Vala Zonke and stated that the closing of potholes is not happening as fast as it should. The ethos of khawuleza needs to be taken seriously. Drones need to be used for safety. DoT has not mentioned the taxi fights over routes – what are they doing about this violence? He asked if DoT has assessed the bicycle programme and if it is a good idea to carry on with this. He asked for an update on the ACSA plan for refurbishment and renovation plan of all airports which has been silent.

Mr Dangor said that it is necessary for the smaller provinces to be developed so that people do not migrate to the bigger provinces. He asked if DoT has looked at rail safety. He asked if security has been employed to ensure that the stripping of infrastructure does not happen again. Referring to the UAE-Bhisho landing controversy, he asked if other foreign security agencies operate at airports. There need to be regulations that control foreign dignitaries coming to South Africa and bringing their security when they land at South African airports

The Chairperson said that DoT said nothing about the partnership between DoT, Defence and Public Works on the implementation of the building of rural bridges. It was indicated that these would be installed in the smaller provinces and it was a R3.8b investment. He asked DoT to clarify this. On the decrease in the SANRAL budget, he asked if it is linked to the inability to spend because DoT needs to contribute to infrastructure development.

Ministry response
Deputy Minister Mangcu noted that he would like some of the questions to be responded to in writing after careful consideration and proper consultation. The process for the Orange Farm railway line has started and there have been discussions with stakeholders. It will start in Lenasia.

On the private investment question, the Deputy Minister replied that the answer is both yes and no. The Department is confident in the investment and they will continue asking communities to participate. The city is not helpful in the identification of land. On the dissatisfaction about the treatment of smaller cities, he would like to be given an opportunity by the Chair to allow DoT to come and fully discuss how they plan to proceed with development in all provinces.

On the involvement of foreign security at airports, the Deputy Minister said that there is a difference between the landing at Bulembu, a civilian airport, and the landing of the USA president who would usually land at a military airport which the Department of Transport does not have control over.

The Department is committed to ensuring that no province is left behind as there is a responsibility to every single person in the country.

Deputy Minister Mangcu said that when it comes to potholes, DoT has been led by Cabinet in trying to close these. Municipalities have not been supportive in giving SANRAL the information needed to fix these potholes.

The Department would like to address the question on rail with PRASA at a later stage.

Adv Mlawu assigned the remaining questions to his colleagues.

Mr Mathabatha Mokonyane, Deputy Director-General: Public Transport, replied that consulting with the taxi industry does happen, and DoT informs them of any developments. The Department works closely with the taxi industry. It encourages them to bring their vehicles for scrapping. The Go! Durban operations will start on the C3 corridor up to Pine Town and the challenge that the municipality is facing is the issue with industry transition. The IPTN discussions that happen with the taxi industry are time-consuming, but the guidelines have been simplified. This was the same for Mangaung, but they are now ready for this launch, which had been slowed down by infrastructure and internal investigations. The same applies to Rustenburg. Rustenburg and Mangaung would begin in May 2023 and Go! Durban would begin in June.

On taxi violence, Mr Mokonyane replied that DoT deals with the dispute while the matter is still a disagreement. However when the dispute becomes violent, this is when the police will be brought in. Primarily economic regulation matters are dealt with by provinces and DoT works with provinces. Although DoT will not always be seen when there are disputes, they are there and try to assist when they can.

In the Shova Kalula programme, DoT can account for every bicycle they have distributed. However, they cannot account for those that have broken down or been abandoned. On checking if the bicycle programme is working, in a country with such bad public transport, they believe that there are students who would be grateful for this more specifically in rural areas where students have to walk to school. This programme does not discriminate amongst the provinces with a preference for deep rural provinces.

Mr Makoto Matlala, DoT CFO, replied that in previous financial years the average budget was around R63bn. This spiked by R23bn in 2022/23 because of the cancelling of the Gauteng e-tolls. SANRAL was in debt and there was a R23bn budget spike so that the SANRAL debt could be reduced. A special allocation is not necessary this financial year and that is why there has been a decrease. On the Administration budget reduction, there was a bulk laptop purchase in 2022/23 that was also once-off and that is why it seems as if there is a decrease now.

Mr Ramantsi replied that the current number of passenger trips was 870 417 and not 870 417 million which was a typo. The stakeholder plan is part of DoT’s plan to develop stakeholder relationships and this is why it was in the strategic plan. The National Public Transport Regulator (NPTR) target will be met. The Department has already been in consultation with six provinces, and they are in the process of drafting regulations and registering the entity.

Ms Philisiwe Gcina, DoT Acting DDG: Corporate Services, said that the target for filling vacancies will be met. In terms of employment equity, they are aiming to get 50% for male and female representation within the workspace. Currently it is at 56% for males and 44% for females.

Director General Mlawu replied that there is a joint effort and partnership between the Department of Transport, Defence and Public Works on the rural bridges programme. The Department is limited by its budget, but it is in the APP and the partnership does exist. He asked to submit the response about electronic licences at a later stage in writing.

Faulty lighting at airport runways were isolated incidents and this is not an ongoing problem.

Mr Rayi said that the meeting suggested by the Deputy Minister to bring PRASA and DoT to come and answer questions on rail would on happen in the second half of the year because of the programme. He suggested that in the meantime the Committee be provided with a report and a plan about what DoT is doing in all its provinces right now.

The Chairperson thanked DoT for the APP and asked if the Deputy Minister had closing remarks.

Deputy Minister Mangcu assured the Committee of the Department’s commitment to provide information for its oversight role and even to engage with DoT outside of meetings on any questions Members have

The Department and Deputy Minister were allowed to exit the meeting.

The Committee adopted 15 March and 19 April 2023 minutes.

The meeting was adjourned.

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