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TRANSPORT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
16 February 2005
TAXI RECAPITALISATION, WORLD CUP PREPARATIONS, DEPARTMENT 2005 PLANS: BRIEFING
Chairperson: Mr J Cronin (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Department PowerPoint presentations by Wrenelle Stander:
Repositioning transport as an economic growth
Revised Taxi Recapitalisation Project
Towards a 2010 Transport Action Agenda
The Road to Safety: 2004-05 Festive Season Report and Easter Plans (not presented)
Ms W Stander, Department of Transport (DoT) Director-General, presented a brief contextual overview of her Department’s activities in 2004 and their plans for 2005. Thereafter she discussed the Revised Taxi Recapitalisation Project and their transport plans for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
Members were somewhat concerned at provincial capacity to implement taxi recapitalisation; whether the Department was being pro-active on the World Cup arrangements; which cities would be hosting World Cup events and who the ultimate authority for the tournament was, viz. government or the World Cup Committee.
Ms Wrenelle Stander, DoT Director-General, presented the Committee with a contextual background. She was accompanied by colleagues Lucky Montana (Deputy Director General), Kuben Pillay (Chief Director) and Maishe Bopape (Director). The Department was committed to providing better transport.
National Household Travel Survey
Of the programmes underway in 2004/2005, they had completed the National Household Travel Survey. They still needed to get the data back, which would then be presented to the Committee. This data would tell them about the transport user patterns of South Africans.
The Rail Consolidation Programme
The Department was busy with the first phase of the Rail Consolidation Programme. The railways were underfunded, but they would get additional funding in 2006, 2007 and 2008.
World Cup 2010 Action Agenda
Ms Stander said they were busy developing the World Cup 2010 Action Agenda. They had worked the last six months on this. They wanted to leave a transport legacy, and would receive one billion Rand a year for this project.
The Road Accident Fund
The Department was also busy transforming the Road Accident Fund. They had appointed a team of experts who were working with the Department to asses the proposals on the future of the fund. Ms Stander said they were also fast-tracking the Road Traffic Management Corporation.
Ms Stander said all of these projects were aimed at improving passenger transport. The Department was also working on the verification of driver’s licences and was about to sign a contract on this matter with a consultant. Ms Stander said the transition from NATIS to E-NATIS was not as fast as they would have liked.
Competitive movement of goods
Ms Stander said a document dealing with their freight logistics strategy was to be finalised shortly. A number of high level actions were approved by the Cabinet at the last Cabinet Lekgotla.
Ms Stander said that the Minister of Transport wanted a new Maritime policy in October 2005, which they were working on.
Overhaul of Department of Transport
The Department was in the process of implementing a new strategy, which would restructure the Department. They organised projects in 21 manageable flagship projects. Their budget would be re-prioritised for this. Ms Stander said her department still had some way to go to reach their objectives. She said they were grappling to create a performance culture in the Department.
The Chairperson said they would have to meet again to discuss the budget, and that he would treat the briefing as general background information only. He, therefore, did not allow any questions for discussion from the Committee.
Revised Taxi Recapitalisation Project
Ms Stander said that they had to undergo quite a mindset change. They evaluated the situation during the past 13 months and took their proposals to the Minister and the Cabinet. They sought to replace the current aged and unsafe taxi fleet, as well as improving access. The Cabinet approved the termination of the previous plan. The system would allow once-off scrapping, for which they had to put checks and balances in place. This would be done to consolidate the taxi industry. The Taxi Recapitalisation Project (TRP) would take place over the next six years. Ms Stander said they had also looked at subsidies. Law enforcement was going to be very important.
Ms Stander said they had established an interdepartmental committee, which also involved the National Intelligence Agency and the Bureau of Standards. The roll-out plan for the project was divided into three phases.
Phase one had been undertaken. Critical success factors for the future phases needed to be established. This included the establishment of a scrapping agency and ensuring that the provinces were ready. Ms Stander wanted to get two messages across. First, the first year’s goal was to get the systems in place, as it was a major operation. Secondly, this project was not going to be the ultimate solution to all public transport problems.
This phase’s time-span is from December 2004 until March 2005. The scrapping system for this phase was currently being developed. They had a budget of R7.7 billion, of which R2.2 billion would be spent on law enforcement.
This phase involved the phased roll-out of the plan and would take place from April 2005 to 2014. A number of the stakeholders involved (for instance vehicle manufacturers), had already been consulted. The Department was hoping to publish the specifications of all vehicles by April 2005.
Mr S Farrow (DA) asked whether the provinces had the capacity to deal with the implementation of the plan. Another member also asked about the department’s capacity, and expressed his concern over the Department’s reliance on consultants. Ms Stander said that capacity was one of the risks they had identified. They would have to take a look at it. Mr Montana said they had paid close attention to the capacity in the provinces. They were also looking at the legal requirements. They wanted to ensure that the capacity was in order and would therefore look at both the qualitative and quantitative aspects. He said he was satisfied that most of the provinces would be ready. The smaller provinces were better prepared than the larger provinces. He expressed his satisfaction that they were dealing with the issues. Regarding consultants, the skills needed were very specialised. Taxi Recapitalisation was a R7.7 billion project and so they needed to bring in specialists.
A Member inquired about multi-ticketing. He also wanted to know if the budget was going to be spread across all modes of transport. Ms Stander said that the capital component was not enough and they wanted to make sure all modes of transport benefited from subsidies. She assured the Committee that they were working hard to increase the pool of resources. Mr Pillay responded to the question of multi-ticketing by saying that they had had a look at it. He said various organisations were doing the same thing. They were trying to standardise ticketing. He also said they were moving towards a user type subsidy, but were not there yet. Ms Stander mentioned the possibility of a smart-card.
A Member asked if the acceptance of the R50 000 scrapping allowance would mean that a person lost the vehicle. Mr Pillay described the criteria for the scrapping allowance. He said the person had to have a valid operating licence, registration for tax and a proper vehicle. They also had to ensure that the person was operating in a particular route. He said that they would have to ensure that the scrapping allowance did not become a huge bureaucracy. He also said that the allowance would be paid to a legal operator, attached to a valid permit. The person had to hand in a legally registered vehicle.
Mr A Ainslie (ANC) asked if any research had been done to see why large numbers of people were involved in taxi accidents. Ms Stander said poor roadworthiness caused these accidents.
The Chairperson welcomed the paradigm shift the Department had made. He believed the recapitalisation process should be localised. He suggested that much more of the R7 billion be placed in the hands of the metropolitan authorities. However, he warned that there would be dangers attached to it. He again said that the shift was good, but that it was not going far enough. Ms Stander said that all of the Chairperson’s comments were very useful. She said the challenge they were facing was to keep moving forward while changing the wheels.
Mr Farrow expressed his concern about the NTLA legislation that was up for amendments. He said they might end up with replication or conflicts. Ms Stander said that his concern about the NTLA was valid, and that they were taking the process of consultation quite seriously. Mr Montana also agreed with Mr Farrow, saying that the amendments would make the Act easier to implement.
World Cup 2010 Action Agenda
Ms Stander said that the Soccer World Cup of 2010 presented a wonderful catalyst for investing in public transport. They had found that people were initially not thinking about transport. They had meetings with Gauteng and the Western Cape, and were planning a meeting with KwaZulu-Natal.
Ms Stander expected that South Africa would receive a lot of attention from 2006, and even more from 2008, when friendly international games would be played in South Africa. That is why they had already initiated a transport agenda. The Treasury had allocated R3 billion for this, but they were yet to decide whether it would be spent at national or provincial level. One of the important areas that will be looked at was security. She said that they had also secured a UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) grant to look at the environmental issues. They were also talking to the World Bank.
Meeting the requirements
The Department’s first objective regarding the World Cup was to meet the commitments of the bid book. They were committed to create a public transport system that could support the World Cup. She said the event would generate a lot of interest and the different spheres of government were involved. The World Cup would not only concern public transport, but also aviation. Hosting the World Cup would be quite a challenge. They were expecting 150 000 spectators at each venue. The viewing times would also post a challenge. The Department was committed to making it an African event, as President Mbeki requested. The issue of cross-border facilitation would have to be addressed. This would include upgrading facilities at border posts. Ms Stander said there would be special legislation for the World Cup.
Leaving a lasting legacy
Ms Stander said they did not want to go the route of Korea and Japan, who hosted the last Soccer World Cup, and be left with white elephants. They wanted to go the route of Sydney, and have a lasting legacy.
Ms Stander said the plans for 2010 were not separate from the other programmes. She also said that if the transport during the World Cup was not effective, everybody would notice, but if everything ran smoothly, no one would notice. She said they would have a team in place to help the Cities.
The Chairperson said that the Committee wanted to assure themselves that the Department was pro-active with regards to the World Cup. He said more detail would emerge at a later stage.
One of the Members asked which stadiums would be upgraded. Ms Stander said 13 cities had been identified, of which ten would be chosen, but she could not answer which stadiums would be upgraded. She assured the Committee that they would look at the transport requirements of the stadiums.
Mr Farrow suggested that the World Cup be used as an incentive for taxi owners to take part in the recapitalisation project.
A Member asked who drove all the preparations for 2010 - the government or the World Cup Committee? Ms Stander said there was an Interministerial Committee, but that the World Cup Committee would ensure that all arrangements were in place.
The meeting was adjourned.
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