A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.
PUBLIC SERVICE SELECT COMMITTEE
12 March 2001
DEPARTMENT PROGRAMMES FOR 2001; STRATEGIC PLANNING WORKSHOP
Documents handed out:
Aviation and Maritime Regulation
Road Traffic Management
National Land Transport Transitional Act 2000
Housing Act Explanation
Department of Transport Delegation: Mr Hennie van Tonder, Acting Deputy Director General (Regulation and Safety); Mr Gerrie Botha, Manager: Road Traffic Management Strategy; Ms Antoinette Nothnagel, General Manager: Implementation; Ms Susann Drits, Section Manager: Aviation Affairs; Ms Nomsa Maeko, Deputy Manager: Administration.
Department of Public Works Delegation: Mr Elroy Jacobs (Director: Nedlac, Policy, MNE, National Public Works Programme), Mr Mzukisi Gaba, Special Advisor to the Minister.
Department of Housing Delegation: Mr Monty Narsoo, Deputy Director-General, Ms Uhuru Madida, Deputy Director-General; Dr Frik Barnard, Chief Director: Housing Performance.
The purpose of this workshop was to draw up the Committee's programme for the year, using the three Departments' own programmes. Each Department ran through their programmes for 2001.
The Chairperson expressed her displeasure at all three departments for failing to send high-ranking officials to the workshop as requested. She was also disappointed by the failure of the departments to adhere to the agenda and said that the departments should understand that her Committee's mandate was "to push for provincial interests."
Department of Transport
Regulation and Safety
Mr Hennie van Tonder apologised on behalf of his Department for the failure of top officials to attend the workshop and also adhere to the agenda. He informed the Committee that his division's task is to ensure traffic safety and good quality roads. This is achieved by:
(a) Traffic Legislation (which covers speed limit, the use of a cellphone while driving, valid driver's licence and vehicle fitness),
(b) Communication (by informing the public, for example, why drinking and driving is dangerous),
(c) Traffic Information (by tracking down of licencing fees transactions throughout the country worth R1.4 billion last year),
(d) Traffic Law Enforcement (by joining forces with provincial officials to coordinate all road accidents throughout the country),
(e) Adjudication (to try and reduce the 80 percent figure of offenders walking away unpunished),
(f) Infrastructure (that includes testing stations and according to Mr van Tonder about 50 percent of these stations do not comply with minimum statutory requirements and require upgrading),
(g) Education (he said his division was developing a school curriculum on Road Safety for Grades One to Twelve and expects the Department of Education to implement that, and
(h) Vehicle and driver testing and licencing (he said there is still a lot of bribery and corruption in the issuing of drivers licences and certificates for vehicle fitness),
Mr van Tonder said that some of the above issues require parliamentary intervention. This year they are implementing the Administration Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act (AARTO) and the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RMTC).
Challenges facing the Regulation and Safety division are:
- Lack of capacity; training people in the use of computers,
- Cooperation with the South African Police Services (SAPS), the Department of Education, provincial counterparts, local authorities and the SADC region to ensure a smooth flow of traffic and they are in the process of implementing the SADC Protocol on Transport.
- Private sector, who had the resources, to contribute
- Budget, which was insufficient so they are engaging the Treasury, and
- Bribery and corruption, which was ruining the work of the division. If it cannot be stopped then the division is going nowhere but instead was sabotaging efforts to achieve a safe environment.
Mr Gerrie Botha of Arrive Alive division said the Arrive Alive division started in October 1997 with a R50 million contribution from the Road Accident Fund. Both provincial and local authorities are involved in promoting awareness of this project through advertisements. Mr Botha said they were obtaining the cooperation of the Ministry of Justice to prosecute cases more quickly.
Mr Botha noted that between 9 600 and 10 000 people die on SA roads every year and almost 150 000 people are injured in approximately 500 000 crashes that occur annually.
The objectives of Arrive Alive are to:
- Reduce the number of road accidents in general - and fatalities in particular - by 5 percent when compared to the same year period the previous year
- Improve road user compliance with traffic law, and
- Forge an improved working relationship between traffic authorities at the various levels of government
Relative Comparative Figures of Arrive Alive: 1999-2000
Total number of crashes
Aviation and Maritime Regulation
Ms Drits said the role of the Aviation and Maritime Regulation is to provide a safe, efficient and internationally competitive environment. Organisations that regulate Aviation and Maritime transport are the South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) and the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA). The role of SACAA is to promote, regulate and support aviation safety while that of SAMSA is to ensure safe ships, competent crew and to prevent pollution.
Ms Drits noted that South Africa's international reputation when it comes to aviation and maritime is of world standard and it is a member of both the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO).
The Airport Company of South Africa (ACSA) is in charge of all the big airports in the country except for provincial ones such as those of Kimberley and Mafikeng and that Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) was charged with policing the airspace of the country and training.
She said there were two policy review issues. One being policy approved in 1998 but not yet implemented that makes it possible to develop airports and the other the finalisation of a draft paper on aircraft noise. She believed the latter could be managed by limiting old aircrafts.
Ms Drits touched on the issue of economic regulation and liberalisation and said that airspace liberalisation or managed liberalisation was both bilateral and multilateral and rested on reciprocity between countries. One such forum is the Yamoussoukro Decision. She commented that Africa has many national airlines that are not viable but are maintained for integrity. She said there remains a lot to be done in the area of streamlining airlines in Africa and that South African Airways stood a chance of running this industry positively.
She said one area of policy review lies with ATNS and South African partners and how each partner reciprocates to one another.
National Land Transport Transition Act (NLTTA)
Ms Nothnagel told the Committee that this Act had been approved by Parliament in June 2000 and was brought into effect in December 2000. She said certain parts of the Act are not in effect such as planning at local level on land public transport. This gives Government at national level an opportunity to prepare guidelines on land public transport to converge with plans at local level. Once the regulations are finalized, implementation will follow.
The challenge is now to market the Act at National and Provincial workshops - dates of which will be determined by the Ministerial Committee on Transport (MINCOM). Demonstration projects will be done in Bloemfontein and Durban.
Guidelines on planning have been completed but still have to be published. Some provinces have also done their provincial frameworks. She said challenges are to bring this section of the Act into force, to finalise and publish the guidelines, and to revisit the provincial frameworks according to the National Land Transport Strategic Framework (NLTSF) and guidelines.
Economic Empowerment: Recapitalisation
Ms Nothnagel said that requests for proposals (RFPs) have been completed for the electronic management system (EMS), which will operate as smart cards to capture the necessary information (vehicle, driver. routes). Consultants have been appointed to look at business processes that determine the implementation of recapitalisation. Labour issues have been incorporated into a steering committee.
Some of challenges to overcome are funding, enforcement strategy, the role of co-ops, participation in the tendering system (vehicle), and education and training.
Democratisation of Minibus Taxi Industry
She said that seven provincial democratically elected councils are in place and challenges are formalisation of different levels of structures, a National Conference; re-align provincial councils, and the establishment of a National Register.
Ms Nothnagel said several achievements have been made under Be Legal Campaign and that is that the legal framework is in place, funding is available, and communication strategy has been developed. She said what remains are for operators to apply for route based operating licences.
Restructuring of Bus Services
Under this project the legal framework is in place and the first round of tenders have been received. The challenge is to have this tender operating at provincial levels and to revisit the escalation formulae for vehicle sizes.
Funding of Road Based Transport
While no achievements have been made so far under this project challenges that need addressing are the shortage of funds and the continuous request for subsidies.
Commuter Rail Services
Ms Nothnagel said backlog in investment have been quantified, additional funds provided, and preparatory work done for the establishment of the Rail Safety Regulation (RSR).
She said there was still a shortfall in the operating budget and some of the challenges are to establish the rail as the backbone of the public transport system, secure sustainable funding, recapitalisation of the rolling stock and infrastructure, extension of lines, and safety.
Ms Nothnagel said while no achievements have been made so far under this category challenges faced by the Department are the merging of transport and traffic law enforcement functions, to ensure adequate law enforcement, and to address personal safety and security on public transport.
Ms Nothnagel said Transport Education and Training Authority (TETA) have been established and Centres of Development (CODs). She said the challenges are to establish these institutions in the three layers of government. Also to establish a tendering Help Centre and the training of future transport professionals at universities and technicons.
Department of Public Works
The Chairperson expressed her unhappiness with the Department's response to the Committee's request to send high-ranking officials and stick to the agenda. As she has done with the Department of Transport, she lambasted the Department's response saying that out of the eight topics the Committee asked the Department to talk on, the Department was going to talk on one only, and that was Poverty Alleviation Programme.
Mr Jacobs apologised for not bringing along with him documents on his Department's Poverty Alleviation Programme for 2001 but promised to deliver them to the Committee at a later stage.
He said the total budget of his Department's poverty alleviation programme was R374 million developed at municipality level and distributed to those municipalities so that it is people driven. He dubbed it a Rapid Delivery Programme impacting on women, youth and local labour.
He said that this is an on-going programme, which is still to identify more target areas to assist in alleviating poverty programmes.
Some of the projects targeted by this programme according to him are multi-purpose centres, clean and green, and AIDS.
The construction of rural roads is another area he mentioned for poverty alleviation, assistance of emerging contractors and economic linkages of rural communities.
By economic linkages he gave an example of a grapevine farmer in Upington who employed 900 workers in his farm. This farmer exported grape and the workers depended on the grapes being exported for their livelihood.
Since there was a gravel road linking that farm, Mr Jacobs said that the farmer was assisted to build a tarred road so that the grapes can be taken to the port of export undamaged and without dust.
He said this poverty alleviation programme did not confine itself to helping the poorest of the poor but also people like that farmer with 900 people depending on their livelihood from him.
Mr Jacob said that his Department's poverty alleviation programme was like a model programmes to the other government departments. He said that the Treasury usually referred other Departments to the Public Works' poverty alleviation programme because that programme was focused targeting isolated and poor areas.
He said more was to be done through this programme and promised to send members of the Committee documents depicting future plans and strategies to fight poverty from his Department.
The Chairperson complained about the fact that there is no sufficient information delivered by the Department to the Committee. She wanted to know what programmes are implemented, how important are they, how efficient are they and do they make sense. Do they have capacity building programmes for the unskilled and semi-skilled for groups like women and youth both rural and urban? How are these programmes measured?
Ms Ntambani (ANC) asked whether the Department in its alleviation programmes did it consult with communities. She gave an example of toilets being built in one rural area and not being used afterwards and people dubbing the area a "toilet city"?
Mr Gaba conceded that such incidents do take place and said that the Department lacks people with skills such as project Managers to monitor such projects.
Mr Mokoena observed that the Department mentioned that it wants to promote emerging contractors but knows of one incident where an established contractor who made a mess of that project but was rehired to complete it constructed a rural road.
Mr Jacobs replied that they were not responsible for the construction of roads. The responsibility lay with the Department of Transport. Their problem as the Department lay in having a proper database for emerging contractors all over the country.
Ms Thompson asked if the Committee could be involved in the poverty alleviation programme?
Mr Gaba replied that there is a general invitation for members of the Committee to visit such programmes but presently things were not running normally and asked the Chair to discuss how to improve on that.
Ms Thompson asked what programmes are there for emerging contractors?
Mr Jacobs responded that there is a problem with emerging contractors and cannot tell how they benefit from training - whether they use these skills that they have acquired or not he believes that in a long run they will be able to link them to jobs after training.
Department of Housing
Dr Frik Barnard, Director Housing Performance told the Committee that in general terms as a national department they are responsible for issues related to policy. He said what is of great necessity is the relationship between the national department and the provincial departments. He said so far the interaction between the two level of governance have gone well. Dr Barnard said the housing programme by its very nature deals with poverty alleviation. The housing grant is attached to families and not to individuals, that is very important to ensure that everybody in the household benefits.
Water and sanitation
Dr Barnard said the second important thing is to look at the issues of water and sanitation in relation to housing. He said housing has a great impact on the improvement of water and sanitation.
Security of tenure
Dr Barnard said whenever the department establishes a settlement they must ensure that security of tenure is clearly defined.
He said ESKOM has been very efficient especially in urban areas in providing electricity in every settlement the department has established.
In terms of the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP) the target of 1million within five years houses have been achieved. He added that the department is proud to mention that. Dr Barnard said there are some mistakes here and there, especially concerning poor quality of houses, sizes etc. He said there is a need to seriously get involved in integrated development with other departments so as to ensure that such mistakes are avoided in future. He said financial institutions do not want to invest in the previously disadvantaged communities. They are reluctant to provide money for housing disadvantaged communities.
Dr Barnard said there is a movement to build 50 000 rental houses a year around the country. A National Rental Housing Company has been established.
Dr Barnard said the government is doing everything it can to avoid what he termed "dependency syndrome" in the communities. He said the community should be taught how to do things on their own. For instance other housing projects have been taken by the community themselves. Local contractors are employing local people. He added that a people's housing partnership has created to involve people in the building of houses.
Input by Deputy Director - General
The acting Director - General Ms Madida said the network between the national, provincial and local government has been satisfactory. She said the Minister of housing has made a national plan where the local government has made input in the plan. Housing is a national and provincial responsibility, local government is involved in implementation She said an integrated development plan should also be formulated at the local level.
Capacity of Civil Engineering Services
Ms Madida said new town planning schemes are needed to determine where parks should be built, double storey building etc. Existing town planning have restrictions on floor and height of the houses built. She added that schemes would be localised.
Empowerment of emerging contractors
Ms Madida said emerging contractors need access to markets, access to finances and employment creation. She added that emerging contractors do not have finances to carry out their projects. This means that they have no financial security. She said another thing emerging contractors have no negotiation skills to negotiate financial arrangements with institutions of finance. There is also evidence of lack of managerial skills.
The Acting D-G added that there is also lack of planning cash flows. She said there is very little transfer of skills between established and emerging contractors. Established contractors just provide material and emerging contractors just have to put bricks and roofs, that is all. She said there should be employment of local labour. However she said there is difficulty in moving the same labour form settlement A to settlement B. She said the department has commissioned a team to look at the employment creation opportunities. Ms Madida said there are a lot of constraints for emerging contractors.
Housing Data Base
Ms Madida said the department has a national housing has a national housing database. She said the database has information on all people who have subsidies and who are in the housing schemes. Double subsidization is avoided by using this database. Ms Madida added that the previous dispensation's database had no sufficient information on previous subsidies.
Ms Ntwanambi (ANC) commented that the houses are not different from shacks, hence they are called "vez'inyawo" (showingfeet).
Ms Madida replied that there are prescribed standards. She said the defined standard is 30 square kilometres. However she said the R16 000 subsidy money is not enough, greater portion of the money goes to infrastructure (water pipes, electricity etc) and services.
Ms Majodina (ANC) asked how can rural people access low cost houses. How does housing feature in the rural development strategy and how the department deals with the question of land.
Ms Madida responded that land availability is a problem to local authorities who are implementers of programs. She said there are a lot of initiatives to look at that.
She said houses for rural people have been made available.
Mr Mokoena (ANC) asked what happened to IBC and Mhinga projects. He further asked how does the department differentiate between small contractors and big contractors? Mr Mokoena further wanted to know how does the department deal with the situation of councilors issuing tenders and being members of the tender Board?
The Acting DG said she has no immediate response to the problem of IBC and Mhinga project. She said the department would respond in writing to this at a later stage. She said the issue of big and small contractors would be dealt with by Dr Barnard.
Dr Barnard on the question of small and big contractors said things that are looked at are the amount of capital invested in the project, the size of labour, to mention but a few.
Ms Madida on the question of tender said some of the councilors are in the Tender Board Committee so obviously they must be involved in the issuing of tender. The Acting Director - General said there is nothing wrong with that. She added that the only problem is that the process is not transparent. She said Directors in the Department will adopt provinces and they will have to look at the tendering process.
Ms Majodina commented that the Ministers of Public Works, Transport and Housing should be part of the strategic workshop in future. "Things should not be done in separation" she said.
No related documents
- We don't have attendance info for this committee meeting
Download as PDF
You can download this page as a PDF using your browser's print functionality. Click on the "Print" button below and select the "PDF" option under destinations/printers.
See detailed instructions for your browser here.