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TRANSPORT PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
1 August 2006
NATIONAL LAND TRANSPORT TRANSITION AMENDMENT BILL: BRIEFING
Chairperson: Mr J Cronin (ANC)
Documents handed out:
National Land Transport Transition Amendment Bill [B38B-2005] - NCOP amendments incorporated
National Land Transport Transition Amendment Bill [B38A-2005] - NCOP amendments only
National Land Transport Transition Act, No 22 of 2000 (NLTTA)
Department's presentation on the National Land Transport Transition Amendment Bill
The Department of Transport briefed the Committee on the National Land Transport Transition Amendment Bill and explained the reasons for these amendments to the National Land Transport Transition Act. The Bill had first been sent to the National Council of Provinces as it was a Section 76 Bill. The NCOP had made a few changes as seen in B38A-2005. Members raised questions about certain definitions, the operators’ associations, regulations and vehicle safety specifications. Further discussion of the Bill will take place on 8 August.
Presentation by Department of Transport
Mr M Mokonyama, Acting Director-General, Department of Transport (DOT), presented background to the NLTTA, informing the Committee that the NLTTA came into existence on 1 December 2000. In May 2002, the DOT presented a progress report to the Committee, following which the Committee commissioned an independent study to assess the progress which were being made with implementing the Act in what was called the Palmer Report. The Committee also allowed representations from interested groups such as the SA Local Government Association (SALGA), the SA Commuter Association (SACO) and the Southern African Bus Operators Association (SABOA). Workshops where then held with the various stakeholders at a provincial level which led to a review framework. In September 2002, the results were presented to the Land Transport Commission Committee (LTCC), the Committee of Transport Officials (COTO), and MINMEC where the issues were discussed and a decision was taken to amend the principal Act.
Mr Mokonyama said the main reasons for the amendments were to provide additional definitions for certain terms to simplify transport planning, make provision for new taxi sizes and to extend certain time limits. Other amendments dealt with the duties of an operating licensee, regulating metered taxis and tourist services and regulating the conveyance of passengers by light delivery vehicles (LDVs). The amendments also included extending the functions of the registrar, the Minister, the MECs, and the operating license board.
The Acting Director-General formally presented the proposed amendments to the Committee (see documents).
The Chairperson asked for clarity on the definition of "association" in the amendment bill, why were other associations being recognised, and how voluntary some of these associations were?
Mr Mokonyama replied that the definition of associations would not be limited to taxis but would extend to bus operators because they acknowledged that there were also associations within the bus industry. He noted that there were other voluntary and involuntary associations within the same industry which had to be registered. In order to assist registration, all players had to be included in the definition.
Mr S Farrow (DA) added that the term “operator” would need to be defined to increase the accountability of members of an association.
The Chairperson asked about the functions of associations.
Mr Mokonyama responded that the Act’s function was not to deal with the functions of associations at ground level. The intention of the amendment was to find the best way of regulating and dealing with the operations and conduct of associations.
Mr M Bopape (DOT) added that the Department would have to also find a way of accommodating people who chose not to be part of associations so that they would be able to operate as individuals without fear of intimidation.
Mr Cronin asked if it was possible for associations to be mixed.
Mr Mokonyama replied that the definition of association referred to public transport operators. There were different kinds of public transport operators and associations could therefore be mixed.
Mr W Ngwenya (ANC) asked for elaboration on how operating allocations would be done because there were areas that had trouble accessing transport.
Mr O M Mogale (ANC) asked if the operations of the LDCs would be confined to rural areas, whether they were recognised and the status of bakkies transporting children.
Mr Mokonyama`s response was that it would depend on demand and supply and that the DOT was attempting to come up with a strategy where vehicles would easily be able to move from places of high concentration to places of low concentration with the type of the vehicle depending on the type of terrain. There would also have to be a scheme for the modification of LDCs to make them suitable for human transportation. Currently, LDCs were operating illegally which is why amendments to the Act were being made to integrate them into the system and to legalise them.
Mr B L Mashile (ANC) asked if the goal of modifying the vehicles was realistic.
Mr Mokonyama`s response was that the amendment bill would not deal with this specifically but would put regulations in place to ensure the safety of the public. A licensing framework for LDCs was also being finalised.
A member asked if there was a way to regulate the LDCs immediately.
Mr Mokonyama replied that local municipalities would be responsible for implementation of regulations and that the DOT would provide guidance for local government and municipalities on this. The issuing of licenses would be a cornerstone of the regulations and would solve the problems of demand and supply.
Mr Farrow raised the importance of crystallising definitions to avoid misunderstandings when people refer to terms such as “associations”.
Mr Mokonyama mentioned that the definitions in the amendment bill were open to discussion to ensure that they were suitable.
The Chairperson asked how the issue of tourism transport would be addressed.
Mr Mokonyama responded that tourism transport operated outside the political boundaries of the municipalities.
The Chairperson said there would be confusion if one had a license to operate in a certain area, which at the same time prohibited the operator from entering another area. He added that this was one of the issues they needed agreement on.
Mr Ngwenya felt the Bill might be too complicated for ordinary people to understand and use. He asked that the language used in the Bill be simplified for everyone to understand.
The Chairperson said that planning must occur at national, provincial and municipal level so that regulation would be easier.
The Chairperson felt it was unnecessary for the Bill to focus on the specifications of vehicles, but that it should supply guidelines for safety features and requirements because vehicle models changed regularly. If this were done, changes to the models would not compromise safety.
Ms N Khunou (ANC) asked if the DOT was in a position to brief the Committee on what was happening with regards to Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) in the municipalities.
Mr Mokonyama responded that it was difficult to work with IDPs because the DOT wanted to create time for implementation and deliver a progress report after the second year. However, by then the IDP would have changed but not the Integrated Transport Plan (ITP).
The Chairperson said the point was to empower local authorities so that they were able to deal with problems and issues in a supportive environment. He felt municipalities should have the power to change IDPs although their powers were limited.
The meeting was adjourned.
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