Executive Undertakings: Minister of Transport

NCOP Petitions and Executive Undertakings

11 May 2023
Chairperson: Ms A Maleka (ANC, Mpumalanga)
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Meeting Summary


The Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings of the National Council of Provinces held a virtual meeting to oversee and scrutinise implementation of the Executive undertakings made by the Minister of Transport. The Minister had made various commitments during the sittings on 19 May 2022, including using a budget allocation of R45.3 billion, or 59.3% of the Department's funding, for the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) to upgrade, strengthen and refurbish the national non-toll roads network over the medium-term.

During the meeting, the Minister provided an update on the undertakings, highlighting both the progress and challenges faced by the Department. Members asked questions related to road maintenance, data submission by road authorities, challenges with the relocation of illegal settlements, and the intergovernmental perspective on these matters.

Responding to questions regarding the sealing of roads, the Department said there was a need to consider not only potholes, but also the overall condition of the South African road network, pointing out that approximately 80% of the sealed road network in the country was already past its design life. Potholes were indicative of the deterioration that had occurred.

Meeting report

The Chairperson opened the meeting and noted the attendance and apologies. However, the Minister was not available, which led to a discussion about whether to proceed or cancel the meeting due to the executive nature of the undertakings. Members expressed agreement with the Chairperson's decision, and suggested waiting for a few minutes for the Minister's arrival.

Mr T Dodovu (ANC, Northwest) agreed with the Chairperson, highlighting that these were executive undertakings. He suggested waiting for ten minutes, and if the Minster or her deputy did not avail themselves for the meeting, they could cancel it.

Mr R Badenhorst (DA, Western Cape) and Ms S Shaikh (ANC, Limpopo) also agreed with Mr Dodovu's suggestion.

Mr C Smit (DA, Limpopo) asked why the Committee focused on executive undertakings, and not on petitions. He pointed out that he had submitted a petition from his constituency.

The Chairperson responded that they also considered petitions.

Mr Dodovu agreed that the Committee did get petitions, and they sometimes allowed Members with petitions to present them before the Committee.

Minister of Transport

Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, Minister of Transport, acknowledged both the satisfactory progress and challenges faced by the Department. She emphasised that their latest annual performance plan was aligned with the priorities of the sixth administration and was divided into two stages. The first stage aimed to sustain the agenda initiated in 2019, while the second stage was focused on accelerating performance, recovering and improving, and addressing sector and national challenges.

The Minister provided detailed responses to ten undertakings, stressing the need for critical engagements and consultations with stakeholders to finalise actions within the 2023/2024 financial year. She also emphasised the importance of successful interventions by the Cabinet and Parliament in implementing the bylaws and the pothole repair programme.

The support for cities to be admitted into the Integrated Public Transport Network (IPTN) and the  Integrated Planning and Development Modelling (IPDM) programme depended on their ability to address financial and performance challenges highlighted by National Treasury.

The Minister mentioned ongoing consultations with other departments and stakeholders to address the relocation of illegal occupants on rail reserves, including land acquisition, the provision of basic services, and rezoning. Funding for these processes was a critical concern.

In conclusion, she expressed her commitment to collaborate with stakeholders to advance the undertakings and meet the provided timelines.

Department of Transport

Mr Moloto Matlala, Chief Financial Officer, Department of Transport (DoT), began by highlighting the allocation of R5.3 billion, or 59% of the budget, to upgrade and refurbish national routes and non-toll roads. He mentioned specific achievements, such as the ongoing upgrading of the R56 route linking the Eastern Cape with KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), and the tender awarded to Down Touch Investments. He emphasised the need for continuous engagement with local stakeholders and project monitoring to avoid any disruptions.

He referred to the progress made in strengthening and improving the 140-kilometer road network, including the Moloto Road project and the housing freeway improvement project. He mentioned the cancellation of tolling on the 201-kilometer network and the collaboration with South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) to maintain the Gauteng provincial network.

Mr Matlala also touched on the central route data repository, the progress in collecting data from route authorities, and efforts to involve the private sector and civil society in addressing road challenges. He discussed the improvements at driver's licensing testing centres, and the compliance of cities with National Treasury requirements for the public transport network grant. He mentioned the establishment of an oversight mechanism for the IPTN, and acknowledged challenges in the illegal occupation and relocation of settlements, as well as the recovery of damaged infrastructure.

Mr Alec Moemi, Director-General, DoT, clarified that both the financial and performance information was now available.

The Chairperson acknowledged the progress made in the upgrading efforts, specifically mentioning the Moloto Road.


Mr T Brauteseth (DA, KZN) acknowledged the Minister's previous discussion on road sealing, and stressed the importance of addressing the issue of potholes. He requested information on the Department's overall programme for sealing roads in South Africa, emphasising the need for preventive measures to avoid potholes, rather than just reactive measures.

Ms S Shaikh (ANC, Limpopo) sought clarification regarding the central roads data repository mentioned in the report. While the report indicated challenges with data submission from 64 authorities, she specifically wanted to know about the 11 authorities that had not submitted their data. She emphasised the importance of having a comprehensive overview of the state of South Africa's provincial roads, and requested information about the authorities that did not comply.

She acknowledged the complexity of relocating illegal settlements, and sought insight from the Minister regarding challenges faced in this regard, particularly from an intergovernmental perspective. She was interested in understanding the obstacles and issues related to assets and resources in the process of addressing illegal settlements.

Mr Moemi addressed the questions regarding the sealing of roads, and said there was a need to consider not only potholes, but also the overall condition of the road network. He pointed out that approximately 80% of the sealed road network in South Africa was already past its design life. Potholes were indicative of the deterioration that had occurred. Therefore, in addition to fixing potholes, the DoT aimed to make informed decisions about whether to rehabilitate the roads or not. The focus would be on road maintenance, and the Department planned to recalibrate its programme accordingly.

Mr Moemi further explained that there was a general challenge concerning the allocation of resources, as the sealed road network was relatively small compared to the overall road network, which included gravel roads. He said that if a road had traffic of around 300 vehicles per day, it became economically viable to seal it. Research and testing were being conducted in partnership with agencies to explore additives that could facilitate the sealing of roads in situ, utilising existing materials. The study was currently underway, and the Department aimed to report back on its progress to the relevant committee.

Regarding the question about authorities that did not provide information, he said there were ongoing discussions between the national Department of Transport and the provincial roads authorities. He explained that while the Department provided the provincial roads maintenance grant, it lacked the authority to enforce information sharing from all roads authorities. The grant was intended to support the provincial equitable share (PES) allocation for road maintenance. The challenge lay in certain roads authorities, particularly metros, not consistently providing the required information. Efforts were being made to address this through discussions with the National Treasury to establish conditions in the data that would enhance control and effectiveness. 

Minister Chikunga clarified that the responsibility for relocating people from rail reserves did not lie with the Department of Transport. Instead, it fell under the jurisdiction of the Department of Human Settlements at the national and provincial levels and the City of Cape Town. She said that they were in discussions with these entities to secure suitable areas for the relocation, even if it was temporary, in order to proceed with the infrastructure refurbishment on the central line and the resumption of train services.

She expressed concerns about the financial implications of infrastructure delays. She appealed to the provincial recruiting teams in the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for assistance to avoid additional costs and ensure the timely restoration of train services, which were crucial for public transportation.

The Chairperson acknowledged that the allotted time for questions and discussions had already expired, and asked Members to submit any remaining questions or concerns to the Minister in writing.

She thanked the Director-General, Members, and particularly the Minister, for attending the meeting despite having other engagements.

The meeting was adjourned.


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