A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.
TRANSPORT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE Mr J Cronin (ANC)
17 May 2006
RAF: UPDATE & STRATEGIC PLAN 2006-09; ROAD SAFETY & SECURITY: DEPARTMENT BRIEFING
Documents handed out:
TRANSPORT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
Mr J Cronin (ANC)
PowerPoint presentation by the Road Accident Fund: Strategic Plan 2006-2009
PowerPoint presentation by the Department of Transport on Road Safety Issues and Security: Part 1 & 2
Mr J Modise, CEO of the Road Accident Fund presented a briefing on matters dealt with by the Fund, its financial status, and the challenges and new directions it would take. He explained that the Fund was technically insolvent, having a deficit of R20 billion. It also had a backlog due to insufficient funds being available to finalise claims. There was no proper correlation between its income from fuel levies and its outflow in paying claims. The Fund had only limited control over external factors influencing claims, and its internal systems had several weaknesses impacting on its performance. There was a preponderance of small, but administratively expensive claims, and major claims involving foreigners. The RAF Amendment Act was not yet in operation. The amendments would remove the cap on passenger claims, which was anticipated to increase claims by 27.8%; would introduce a limit on loss of earnings, which would result in a 2% reduction in claims; and limit general damages to "serious injury" which was as yet not clearly defined. Although the amendments to the Act would offer a temporary funding solution, there was likely to be substantial litigation. Objectives and action plans for the year were tabled, focusing on achieving a turnaround and bringing about greater service delivery and stability. However, Mr Modise warned that whilst the current fault system applied, it would be very difficult to achieve real savings. Major challenges arose in changing mindsets due to the old systems.
Questions were asked on the cost of processing claims, and the legal costs paid to claimants’ attorneys and the Fund’s attorneys. Non-disclosure of settlements was noted as a problem. Service delivery, staff retraining and foreigners’ claims and amounts paid out were raised. Target figures year-on-year were requested. The role of the Fund in reducing claims was raised and discussed.
The Department of Transport, represented by Dr W Watson gave a presentation on road safety. South Africa experienced one of the highest world levels of fatalities and serious accidents, which cost the country around R40 billion per year. Challenges in reducing the problem included wide alcohol abuse, inadequate enforcement, shortage of staff, the urgent need to re-educate drivers in their behaviour patterns, and fraud and corruption. Dr Watson summarised the main causes of accidents and highlighted initiatives being taken to address the problems in the categories of driver fitness and behaviour, vehicle fitness, enforcement and pedestrian and passenger safety. She indicated that main priority areas related to testing and issuing for public driver permits, speed governors, seat belts and anti tyre burst devices in public transport vehicles, reducing speeds and investment in new technologies. She tabled the list of partner organisations and their likely contribution to road safety issues.
Questions posed by Members related to the operation of, and effective follow up by the call centres, road safety in the school curriculum, municipal speed enforcement cameras and vehicle testing station compliance. Speed limits on new roads, reflective school uniforms to improve visibility and pedestrian safety were issues of concern. Other questions related to liaison between the Department of Transport and other departments, optimum staffing levels, vehicles switching headlamps on during the day, and periodic testing of vehicles.
Presentation by the Road Accident Fund (RAF)
Mr J Modise (Chief Executive Officer) reported that the RAF was formed in 1996, replacing previous systems of insurance for personal injury claims. In the past there had been several Commissions of Inquiry into systems. The RAF was governed by the Road Accident Fund Act (No.56 of 1996) and by policies and procedures implemented since 1996. The objective of the Fund was to pay compensation in accordance with the Act for loss or damage wrongfully caused by driving a motor vehicle. Its initial mandate was to defend all claims lodged and it followed an adversarial approach, based on the fault principle. It aimed to be a world-class administrator of a system of compensation as defined in the Act. The RAF would need to radically redefine its operational management in order to reach its goals.
Mr Modise tabled a number of graphs and comparative analyses to illustrate the problems faced by the RAF. He indicated firstly that the system was a "fault system" requiring proof of fault before claims could be admitted. Secondly, a claimant could lodge his claim up to three years after the accident and records were often impossible or very difficult to obtain, giving rise to delays in processing. Some claims dated back to the 1990s, and there was a large backlog. Thirdly, the system was claimant-driven, so that the RAF exercised insufficient control over the finalisation of the process.
During 1997 the RAF had run out of money and had therefore stopped processing the claims, causing a huge backlog. At the end of the 2006 financial year there was a deficit of R20 billion. Its sole source of income was the fuel levy, currently at under R5 billion per annum, which barely covered the cash claim expenditure. The RAF had never been administered as a proper Fund and the fuel levy had never been sufficient to cover existing and future liabilities. It had no assets other than one building in Pretoria, a few cars and office furniture, and its liabilities exceeded its assets by around R25 billion. In addition to its factual insolvency, the RAF also suffered liquidity problems as even the current liabilities (payable within twelve months) amounted to R6 billion, against current assets of R2 billion. The solvency calculations were made over an extended period, taking into account the time taken to settle claims, which was between three to five years. The liquidity was calculated on only that proportion of claims likely to be finalised within twelve months. Most of the liabilities related to claims, but there was also an amount owed to the Receiver of Revenue.
Both external and internal factors contributed to the situation. External factors included the high accident rate, with the number of fatalities out of proportion to other countries. There had been a 9% increase in accidents since 1999, whereas the income from fuel levies had increased by only 2% per annum since 1999. The amount paid per accident for loss of earnings had also increased as the economy had improved. The number of claims had increased since 1997 partially as a result of new legislation allowing suppliers to claim directly from the RAF instead of from the claimants. The number of claims had increased 22%, four times faster than the number of accidents over the same period. Many claims could be lodged arising from one accident. There was also a preponderance of small claims, which had an adverse effect upon the RAF internal administration. The cost of investigating such claims on the fault system was often out of all proportion to the size of the claim. There was increased awareness of the RAF, although a large percentage of the public was still unaware that they could claim.
Foreigners represented 54% of the largest claims; the RAF currently was dealing with one claim pegged at R90 million, based upon loss of income for an overseas businessman who specialised in turning around businesses to gigantic profits. The current system did not allow for any capping of loss of earnings. The average claim of foreigners was R15 million, as opposed to R8 million for South African citizens. The RAF had tried to minimise its losses by taking out reinsurance for overseas claims.
General damages represented the largest proportion of the compensation, at R2.5 billion. RAF was trying to institute a system where claimants would be assisted to a greater degree in nursing injured parties back to health and reintegrating them into society within the shortest possible time to minimise the claims for loss of earnings. Medical expenses accounted for R362 million and legal and other costs exceeded R600 million, although this figure could not be determined with certainty since some attorneys worked on a contingency fee system and therefore claimed their fee from their clients.
Other external factors, over which the RAF could exercise some control, were medical costs, claim settlement figures and their own legal costs. However, without being able to exercise control over the income derived from the fuel levy, and without being able to appeal to a regulator who could issue rules in this regard, there was little that could realistically be done to balance the equation. In the past there had been "one-off" transfers but RAF believed it should not have to rely on these. In Australia the equivalent Fund was able to vary the levies in line with claims received, which assisted them to plan better and cover the claims.
Internal weaknesses also had contributed to the problems faced by the RAF, and included excessive spending on staff costs, administrative costs and RAF’s own legal costs. The claims systems were neither integrated nor computerised, and therefore required extensive manual input. The forms were very complex. RAF, because of its policy of defending all matters, had not concentrated on developing systems that allowed for early settlement and payment. Investment in IT had been well below industry norms, despite the fact that the preponderance of claims, particularly small claims, required systems that allowed for early and productive processing. Delays caused a concomitant rise in legal costs. The processes meant that only 11% of the claims accounted for 59% of the funds paid out. The minority of claims were large claims; most were below R50 000. RAF was paying R500 million in own legal costs despite the fact that many of its staff was legally trained. Staff was not particularly effective or satisfied with their purely administrative work and were not motivated. Finally, the RAF’s ability to process claims was constrained by cash shortages that caused greater inefficiency.
The RAF Amendment Act was not yet in operation, although there had been some indication that the Regulations would be passed within a few weeks. The amendments would remove the cap on passenger claims, which was anticipated to increase the claims incurred by 27.8%. The introduction of a limit on loss of earnings to R160 000 would probably lead to a 2% reduction in claims incurred. Mr Modise reminded Members that the bulk of money paid out fell under general damages. The limitation of the general damages claims to "serious injury" would probably lead to a 51% reduction in claims incurred. There was, however, no final definition of "serious injury". In all, the savings were anticipated at R2 880 million in 2007, rising to R3 586 million in 2011, with cash savings of R18 million in 2007, rising to R1 625 million in 2011.
Although the amendments to the Act would offer a temporary funding solution, only the capping on loss of income would ensure savings, since the bulk of the claims would still fall under general damages. The RAF anticipated that there would be several Court challenges to "serious injury". Australia, who had a similar term in their legislation, (although they operated under a hybrid system) was still, after twenty years, trying to reach finality on "serious damages". In the early years Australia had adopted the American definitions of the term and many cases were taken on as test cases. The Courts had been quite lenient and Australia’s compensation had risen far out of proportion, resulting in the warning that this system was fraught with difficulties.
Mr Modise tabled objectives and action plans for the RAF. These included meeting shareholder expectations, achieving a turnaround of the RAF to bring about stability and efficiency, achieving appropriate capacity through training, development and retention of staff; better service delivery and managing stakeholder relations through proper risk management culture.
Mr Modise summarised the challenges faced by the RAF, over which they had some control, as the inability to process claims, which led to backlogs; the high costs of administrative and service providers; the prevalence of endemic and systematic fraud and corruption; and dissatisfied and disillusioned stakeholders. Challenges over which the RAF had no real control, were the unsustainable economic model and the poor financial health of the RAF. Action plans for translating the key challenges into objectives were tabled. Mr Modise warned, however, that as long as the fault system applied, every claim would still require to be investigated fully. The new systems would probably become operational in around five years and would run concurrently with the old systems for a while until they could be fully integrated.
The RAF had already addressed the business model, operational diagnostics, an improved organisational structure and stakeholder engagement. The RAF had not traditionally been proactive, but believed that if it became actively involved in the pre-lodgement process this would improve its chances of a turnaround. New potential partners had been identified for pre-lodgement, including emergency personnel, metro police, South African Police Services (SAPS) and insurance companies and lawyers. Potential government partners included the Department of Transport, SAPS, local authority traffic departments, the National Prosecuting Authority and Department of Home Affairs.
The RAF had yet to finalise the financing of the backlog; discussions had been held with National Treasury and the Department of Transport. Cost reduction targets had been drawn. The RAF hoped to spend R150 million in the current year. As long as the adversarial system applied, it could not reduce its costs significantly. It also was faced with the challenge of changing behaviour patterns amongst claimants’ attorneys and its own staff to try to offer more realistic settlements at an earlier stage.
The financial statements were tabled, but were not discussed during the meeting.
Mr S Farrow (DA) asked whether the figure for liabilities included the costs of processing claims. Mr Modise confirmed that it included the legal costs of both the claimants and the RAF, but excluded the administrative and HR costs.
Mr Farrow asked for clarity on legal costs, in particular whether attorneys’ fees were set at predetermined amounts. Mr Modise reported that most of the costs were party costs, and the attorneys could, as attorney and client contingency arrangements, take up to 25% of the compensation. Such agreements were not made known to the RAF.
The Chairperson asked for clarity whether legal fees were covered in all cases, or only where the claim was admitted. Mr Modise confirmed that legal fees would not be paid if a claim was lodged but the claimant was found to be fully at fault. If there was an apportionment of fault, legal fees would be paid in full, but the compensation would be apportioned accordingly.
Mr Farrow noted that many claimants were never informed of the amount actually settled upon or awarded. Mr Modise agreed with Mr Farrow that there was often a problem with non-disclosure to claimants. He pointed out that once the client had signed a power of attorney in favour of his legal advisor, the RAF would deal only with the attorney, and attorney and client privilege applied in regard to fees charged. The RAF and Law Societies were in discussion to try to find ways to resolve this issue.
Mr B Mashile (ANC) enquired whether a claimant could access information on his claim directly from the RAF. Mr Modise said that this was possible. The RAF did not actively inform the client, but was prepared to do so and hoped to take more proactive steps in future.
Mr M Moss (ANC) noted that he had been trying to contact the RAF for one of the members of his constituency, but had been unsuccessful in obtaining a working fax number or e-mail. In addition he described a problem relating to a claim for a minor. Mr Modise offered to get full details and discuss the particular case with Mr Moss at a later stage. However, he noted that minors’ claims posed a particular problem and RAF was looking into changing the system to one that was far more user-friendly, enabling laymen to lodge and process claims, rather than the current system where they had to rely on lawyers. In regard to the difficulties in contacting RAF he stated that the RAF had never been set up as a service organisation and did not currently have a proper help-line system. RAF was currently trying to address these issues and improve its systems.
Mr Mashile asked whether the RAF was being realistic in continuing to do business while there was such a severe backlog, partially caused by short staffing. Mr Modise replied that the backlog was caused by both internal and external factors and that both would be addressed in future. In addition the RAF would change its systems so that it did not contest every claim.
Mr Mashile asked for further clarity on foreigners claiming from the Fund. Mr Modise confirmed that this had caused some debate during the drafting of the amending legislation. When the amendments came into effect, general damages would still apply but the limit on loss of income would go far to reducing the claims, particularly when loss of earnings were calculated in foreign currency and converted. The current law did permit foreigners to claim.
Mr Mashile commented that although the targets were stated in general for each of the challenges, he would prefer to see a yearly programme with target figures, for instance that a percentage of backlog would be cleared by 2007, and a further number in 2008. Mr Modise stated that annual targets had been set and different models discussed between the RAF and National Treasury. The RAF only had sufficient income to process a certain number of claims. It could not improve service delivery without substantial additional funding not only to address the backlogs but also to develop and implement different systems and processes for claims.
Mr Farrow asked whether the staff retraining process would involve replacing some of the legally qualified staff with better administrators or IT personnel. Mr Modise replied that the main objective in reorganisation was better service delivery, and there would be implications for many staff, although this would not happen immediately. In the current year RAF would concentrate on its infrastructure in some provinces.
Mr Farrow asked whether the RAF was proactive in attempting to reduce the number of accidents. Mr Modise replied that to date the RAF had not made any investment on prevention, nor had investigated the exact causes of accidents and the best way to integrate victims faster into society. The RAF was concentrating on other challenges.
The Chairperson commented that in the past allocations made to various campaigns had in fact detracted from the core mandates and he suggested that the RAF could be more effective if permitted to operate properly within a defined sphere. He commented also that if it was decided that the RAF should continue, then it must be funded either by proper fuel levies, or by active steps being instituted by appropriate bodies (which in his view did not include the RAF) to lower the high rate of accidents.
Presentation by the Department of Transport on Road Safety and Security
Dr Wendy Watson (Chief Director, Land Transport Regulation, Department of Transport (DOT) reported that her division was started in 1997 to address road safety issues, following severe increases in the numbers of road deaths. The major strategy "road to safety" commenced in 2001, and was intended to run to 2005, but there were still some outstanding issues. In 2006 DOT would consider incorporating international models to improve road safety. It was clear that the number of serious accidents and fatalities was unacceptably high. The cost to the economy of accidents during 2005 was R40 billion. There were 38 deaths, 21 disabling injuries and 125 serious injuries through road accidents every day. A reduction of 10% in the number of crashes would save R52 billion per year.
The increase had been due to a 12% increase in traffic volumes, more people owning motor vehicles, and an increase in number of kilometres covered. The rate of death per 100 million vehicles dropped between 2002 and 2004 but increased again in 2005. Fatal crashes had risen during December 2005, by 19.8%, a real increase over and above the increase in traffic volume. Fatalities in the first four months of 2006 had increased by 7% on the previous year’s figures.
DOT had managed to improve the training of traffic officers and had trained 5 000 officers in 2005. 120 vehicles undertook hazardous goods highway patrol. A public relations campaign had reached 97% of the population, through radio and TV. DOT also was investigating a campaign for investigating driving licences, and the feasibility of periodic vehicle testing. It had established a Road Traffic Management Corporation with a call centre and had published statistics. It had made legislative and regulatory changes to the National Road Transport Act. It had completed an Incident Management Manual and completed a national code for bus drivers. New qualifications were being developed for the public driving permits (PrDP) licences. DOT had also begun some work on the registration of driving schools, but was currently hindered by lack of capacity. New posts had been advertised.
Challenges faced by DOT contributing to accidents included widespread alcohol abuse, and the recent decision ordering the Asset Forfeiture Unit to return confiscated vehicles of drunken drivers. There was inadequate enforcement and only about 17% of fines were collected due to shortage and inefficiency of law enforcement officers. One of the biggest challenges arose in re-educating drivers, whose driving patterns reflected the violence and crime endemic in society. Fraud and corruption was rife throughout the system.
DOT was attempting to address the challenges through coordinating forums. It encouraged engineer involvement to find solutions in hazardous locations, and road safety audits at all stages of accident investigation. Driver fitness was responsible for 92% of all accidents, and therefore advertising and public relations were vital to support the enforcement. Speed, alcohol use, and inadequate seat belts needed to be addressed, with particular emphasis on public transport, and DOT was working with the Department of Labour to address driver fatigue. DOT also intended to set up more mini roadblocks to check licences and condition of vehicles so that drivers were more aware of and cautious about enforcement. DOT also intended to increase the number of trained officers by about 1400 per year, and to improve their training, and implement the National Law Enforcement Code Book. It hoped to strengthen the capacity of the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) in coordinating traffic officers.
On specific initiatives related to vehicle fitness, DOT intended, as part of the taxi upgrades, to insist upon all public transport vehicles being fitted with passenger seatbelts, anti tyre-burst devices and speed governors, at owner’s cost. Cameras would be fitted at all vehicle-testing stations to verify the testing. Periodic testing of vehicles would be introduced, with particular emphasis on public transport vehicles. There would be better control over hazardous goods and overloading. Criteria would be better defined for the closing of vehicle testing stations that did not comply with requirements.
Pedestrian and passenger safety would be addressed by continuing with pedestrian visibility projects. R9 million per annum had been invested in schools’ educational programmes. Speed in urban areas was to be reduced to 40 km per hour to reduce fatalities. Pedestrian crossing zones at freeways would be strictly enforced and engineering solutions found to pedestrian crossing problems. Advertising and public relations campaigns would be held on community radios.
Priorities for the year included the public driving permits, where the testing and training needed to be far more stringent; enforcement of speed governors, seatbelts and tyre burst devices; limitation of bus speeds to 100 km per hour; improved PR campaigns to the public and investigation of new technologies including cameras, micro-dotting and best practice models; obtaining increased capacity for the Management Corporation; and ensuring adequate resources for staff and budgets. At present there were only 5 staff members as against the recommended 23, and road safety, which was dealt with by a combination of officials in various divisions, needed to be clarified.
Mr B Pule (UCDP) and other Members commented that they had some difficulty in deciphering the number of acronyms included in the presentation and asked that future presentations be accompanied by a list of the full titles.
Mr Farrow asked how effective the call centre was, particularly in managing to effect arrests after reports. He
referred to recent reports on a bus that had exceeded speed limits, where passengers’ only recourse was to request the driver to slow down. He asked if there was any intention to introduce an ombudsman to deal with passenger queries and complaints. Dr Watson commented that passengers could telephone the call centre, and wherever possible the call centre would try to get local traffic authorities to intercept the vehicle, but not having its own police force, could not do anything else. Some commuter organisations also assisted in lobbying. She confirmed that an ombudsman was an excellent idea. She commented also that many companies asked drivers to phone them to report on the driving of their trucks. The call centre had instituted a system whereby all drivers reported received letters detailing the complaints. 10% of those receiving letters either denied that they had been driving poorly, or said that the letter had no effect upon their future driving. 80% had thanked the call centre and had reported positive outcomes and businesses were particularly pleased to get feedback. All drivers reported did receive letters, but very few were actually arrested or intercepted.
Mr Farrow commented that this system did not appear to be sufficient. He asked if the emergency contact numbers publicised on the highways were equipped to arrange that vehicles be stopped. Dr Watson confirmed that the majority of cases only resulted in a letter, and it was entirely dependent on the local authority or the nearest police station whether there was staff available.
Mr Mashile asked how far plans had progressed to include road safety in the school curriculum. Dr Watson stated that R9 million had been budgeted annually for the project, and 116 000 teachers had been trained to implement this part of the new curriculum, operative in grades R to 9 from March 2006, and supported by radio TV and worksheets.
Mr Mashile asked whether the municipal traffic officer camera system had assisted the DOT to reduce the number of accidents. Dr Watson replied that the public perception was that local authorities merely strengthened their coffers by putting cameras in places where it was in fact safe to travel at higher speeds. DOT encouraged the local authorities rather to place the cameras in known danger areas. There were websites advising people on a daily basis of where the cameras had been placed, and although this did have some adverse effects, it did at least alert people to the fact that they should be more aware of speeding.
Mr Mashile asked how DOT justified closing vehicle-testing stations when DOT had apparently not invested in opening its own stations. Dr Watson clarified that vehicle-testing stations were only closed until they had complied with the requirements, and were always given the opportunity to rectify their deficiencies.
Mr Mashile commented that the new road between Hazyview and Hoedspruit, which had been designated a national road, carried a speed limit of 80 kph despite the fact that it travelled through a built up area. He asked whether DOT had influence in maintaining acceptable speed limits. Dr Watson suggested that it might be productive to address letters to the controlling road authority in the area, but that she would also take up this issue with DOT.
Mr Mashile asked who would pay for the training for PrDP permits. Dr Watson confirmed that the candidates themselves would pay as training was a voluntary upgrade of their skills. DOT was encouraging defensive driver training as opposed to the traditional advanced driver training, with emphasis on overtaking, pedestrian control and following distances. The training formed part of the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) qualifications so that those obtaining the permits could qualify in areas such as ambulances or forestry trucks.
Mr Farrow asked whether there had been any developments on the use of reflective materials on school uniforms to help with the visibility of pedestrians. Dr Watson replied that a number of school uniform supply stores would use reflective material on their "standard" uniforms following an initiative spurred by ‘Arrive Alive’.
Mr M Moss (ANC) referred to fatality figures in Australia – only around five people had been killed in accidents during December 2005 as opposed to over one thousand in South Africa. He asked what budget was set aside for prevention of road accidents, and whether particular areas had been targeted for initiatives. He asked also whether DOT liased with other departments to improve the infrastructure of roads and pedestrian facilities, and whether there were comparisons done between the cost of improvements to the reduction of fatalities.
Dr Watson replied that the Australian situation differed in many respects in that it had only 19 million inhabitants, spread over a much larger distance, operated on first-world systems and had a maximum speed limit of 100 kph on highways, 50 kph in towns and 30 kph near schools, coupled with a very high level of enforcement. DOT’s infrastructure had to liase with provinces on upkeep and enforcement. However, she stressed that 92% of accidents arose through driver behaviour, and it was vital that drivers should modify their driving patterns in areas where there were problems with road engineering. Until DOT could educate drivers to alter their behaviour the situation would not improve. DOT did work with other departments and stakeholders. It had highlighted 300 sites where engineering was needed and some of the local authorities and provinces did deal with the problems efficiently – for instance "traffic calmers" had been introduced in front of all schools in Durban. Dr Watson advised that regrettably DOT’s budget and staffing were both inadequate to address all problems in full.
Mr J Mogale (ANC) asked how the anti tyre-burst device functioned and Dr Watson clarified that it held the tyre in place and prevented the vehicle from rolling in the event of a blowout. Originally it had only been possible to check that such a system had been installed by removing the wheels, but a number of manufacturers had now embedded a microchip that could be read with a special device. The legislation did not currently identify or describe the device clearly enough.
Mr Farrow commented that more traffic police seemed to leave the profession than enter it, and he asked whether DOT had identified how many it needed to train to address capacity problems. Dr Watson reported that approximately 1000 new officers were recruited, and about the same number resigned, each year. DOT needed to double the numbers trained within the next five years to reach optimum numbers. She did not have the current needs but suggested that these could be obtained from the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC). Deaths on duty and HIV/Aids were significant factors. Traffic officers were employed by provincial and local authorities, who needed to budget properly to increase the numbers.
Mr Farrow asked if there had been any progress on enforcing driving with headlamps on during the day. Dr Watson replied that there had been some resistance from motorcyclists, who thought that this would reduce the impact of motorcycles keeping headlights on, making them more vulnerable. It had been found that a high proportion of drivers in any event kept their lights on, including many municipal vehicles, although there was no legislation requiring them to do so.
Mr M Swathe (DA) asked how the periodic testing of vehicles was intended to operate. Dr Watson replied that this would be aligned to licence renewals, so that an owner would not be permitted to licence the vehicle if the test was still outstanding. Feasibility studies were being done to ascertain how the system would best work. There was no doubt that it was necessary and would improve road safety.
The Chairperson summarised that road accidents were increasing, and that the Portfolio Committee had a responsibility for making out a case for improved safety and preventative measures. The current meeting was aimed at updating the Committee on progress made but he suggested that it would be appropriate for the Department to co-ordinate a larger process – perhaps during October – aimed at raising profiles, increasing publicity and drawing on the network of interested parties. The Portfolio Committee wished to send the message to the Department that more vigour, budget and vision needed to be put into addressing the problems of road safety and accident prevention.
The meeting adjourned.
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