Policy briefing: Department of Transport

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12 September 2007
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report

12 September 2007

Chairperson: Mr J Cronin (ANC)

Documents handed out:

Maritime Transport Policy Presentation
A walking Policy for Transport Presentation
Transport, Environment and Health in South Africa
An animal drawn transportation policy for South Africa
Draft animal drawn transport policy presentation
Scholar transport policy Draft 2
Scholar transport policy presentation
International Cargo Transfer Policy(proposal)
Intermodal Cargo Transfer policy
Towards A Single Transport Regulator in South Africa: A Discussion Paper
Draft Transport, Environment & Health Charter
Congestion Pricing Policy Framework presentation
A draft intelligent Transport systems policy for South Africa
White Paper on National Maritime Transport Policy
Addendum: The transport challenge for learners in South Africa (Research Unit)
Getting the kids to school (Research Unit)
Environmental impact on proposed N2 highway to be built near Mbizana (Research Unit)

Audio recording of meeting

The Department of Transport briefed the Committee on its new policy frameworks. The presentations included the maritime transport policy, a walking policy for transport, a draft animal drawn transport policy and a scholar transport policy. The Department noted for each of these policies the consultation process that had been followed, the policy considerations, the concerns raised, what issues needed to be addressed and the funding. Each of the policies was to be finalised by Exco of the Department, and thereafter submitted to Cabinet for approval. It was noted that the comments made by the Portfolio Committees would be specifically referred to Exco. It was stressed that there was in all cases the need to involve other departments and to try to integrate the various different modes of transport into the existing frameworks. There was also a need to integrate transport plans with Integrated development plans of municipalities.

The Members of the Portfolio Committee were grateful for the initiatives, however they were also concerned how these would be implemented in the wider scope of transportation, how they would be funded, and whether they were practical. Issues of sustainability were also raised. A number of the comments under each policy related to the enforceability and logistics. Concerns were raised particularly about those groups who were not be able to afford transportation, such as safe transport for scholars in rural areas, and how that would be addressed. The specific situation where drivers of motorised transport refused to travel on gravel roads was raised. Consultation was also raised as a overarching need. It was indicated that the Department would return to the Committee at a later stage to answer all questions raised, and to brief the Committee further on the other policy issues.


Department of Transport (DOT) Briefings
The Chairperson noted that the Department of Transport still had a high vacancy rate, including an Acting Deputy Director General, and wondered when these vacancies would be filled. He further expressed the Committee’s displeasure for receiving the documents late since that would impact on the quality of interaction.

The Department apologised for the late documents and explained that this was as a result of miscommunication with the Cape Town office and promised to address the problem. It was noted that the bulk of the documents related to later engagements.

Maritime Transport Policy presentation:
Mr Ngwako Makaepea, Director: Transport Policy, Research Policy and Economic Analysis, DOT, briefed the Portfolio Committee on the development of this policy, which was influenced by the Department of Transport’s overall strategic plan, but included consultation with specialists. The engagement had included discussions with relevant people and seminars were held both in Cape Town and Durban with relevant stakeholders, which examined the nature of the Maritime sector. A website was launched and provincial legislatures together with relevant other departments were consulted.

Mr Makaepea mentioned that the aim of the policy was based on the broader vision of government regarding economic growth and development of the Maritime transport sector. The focus of the policy would be on maritime transport issues. The principles were based on the Constitution, international law and practice and the National Transport Policy, as well as taking regional considerations into account..

The goals included developing an internationally competitive shipping industry, building a nation of seafarers, creating a maritime transport friendly environment, and facilitating direct participation in the broader maritime industry. It sought proper governance and development of maritime transport, and recruitment of qualified officials. It would also aim to improve the efficiency of commercial ports and turnaround times of ships, in conjunction with the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE). Work on registered RSA ships and fair labour practices would be enforced. The policy also looked to developing a shipping register, establish holistic arrangements with SA Maritime Zones, and promote the potential of the sector within coastal provinces and metropolitan cities. Training would be an important component. The project was funded by DOT and the policy would be implemented through DOT and Maritime Transport Regulations. The draft policy was submitted to the DOT Exco in August 2007, and would go to Cabinet once approved by Exco. .

Ms N Mbombo (ANC) asked how the Department planned to build a nation of seafarers and their recruitment strategies. She suggested that perhaps education in schools should focus on the maritime industry.

Mr Makaepea replied that the DOT had looked at the competitive nature of maritime environment. The Department had started career awareness in inland schools since the vast majority of pupils knew little about the marine environment. The Department had collaborated with academic institutions to provide courses that would equip students interested in marine studies. DOT would also be involved with the Sector Education Training Authorities (SETAs) in discussing suitable programmes.

Mr M Moss (ANC) wondered about the South African Maritime Safety Authority (SAMSA) since the impression was that it was not in a particularly healthy state.

Mr Moss referred to consultations and asked if the Department had also interacted with the fishing communities on the coast since they were, in his view, important role players.

Mr Makaepea answered that the DOT would have extensive consultation that would include the people on the coast, once the policy had been approved by EXCO.

Mr S Farrow (DA) referred to the aim of improving South African commercial ports, and mentioned challenges in container movement, which seemed to come down to problems with the requisition of trucks to move goods out of harbours. He requested whether there was a formal structure set in place to ensure liaison between containers and movement of those containers outside into other areas.

Dr Jabulani Mzaliya , Acting Deputy Director General: Research Policy and Economic Analysis, DOT, responded that the shipping congestion would require the movement of certain goods in cargo, away from road to rail.

Mr Farrow indicated that nothing was mentioned on the role of the National Ports Regulator and its current status.

Dr Mzaliya replied that there was a Board appointed, where a representative of the Transport Department served. Mr Mawethu Vilana was that representative and he had been part of the freight logistic strategy in the Department. Furthermore Dr Mzaliya stated that there had been a shift on economic regulation of transportation from public entity oversight and economic regulation towards economic analysis and policy.

Mr L Mashile (ANC) expressed his concern about the document submitted to Exco and the Committee’s role in the policy. He asked how the Committee's comments would be captured.

Mr Makaepea replied that DOT had submitted the policy to Exco and would send concerns raised by the Portfolio Committee on for consideration, and maybe have a workshop where they would update Members.

Mr Mashile asked how the maritime community would be involved, especially those in the second economy.

Mr Mashile requested an indication of the financial resources for skills development in the Maritime industry.

The Chairperson raised his concern on the policy in relation to the view of being internationally competitive and RSA desiring to have its own shipping line. He mentioned the huge challenges experienced in maintaining a national carrier such as South African Airways (SAA). He suggested the DOT should not start with the assumption of being internationally competitive.

The Chairperson asked why South Africa had only two ships on the register, and asked whether this was an upward curve or downward curve. He suggested that before South Africa developed its own shipping line it should rather look at what was happening globally, and at the benefits and disadvantaged attached to own lines.

He referred to massive maritime experience that was declining and under resourced or neglected. He agreed with Mr Moss that where there was knowledge and traditional understating of sea matters these should be looked at that, and that it was preferable to try to tap into the talents and experience of these people instead of focussing on students inland who had limited exposure to sea, although he could appreciate the Department's initiative to develop the students inland as well. He emphasised the importance of consultation.

The Chairperson suggested that the South African navy could also be of benefit in maritime shipping and would be a very important stakeholder since it already had a training capacity.

Mr S Mshudulu (ANC) referred to the budget allocated for the Department of Transport this year. He suggested that there be some research to better understand the traffic and coastal challenges, and link this to budgets, what had been committed and what could be implemented.

The Chairperson stated that the Committee would need to come back to this presentation and hear a brief response from the Department. The Portfolio Committee would include these concerns in their Report.

A walking policy for transport
Dr Mzaliya stated that walking was underrated as a form of transport in South Africa, despite research results that showed that most people walked. There had been realisation that congestion and pollution of other modes of transport had been increasing and that transport planners had not been accommodating walking on their transport plans. The motivation to develop this policy was due to the large number of people who walked. The policy differentiated walking on and off roads from pedestrians, who travelled mostly on roads, and recognised walking in a broader context. The aim of this policy was to promote walking as a mode of transport that would be regulated and recognised. This policy would assist in issues of affordability, health, environmental health and positive impact on community life. There was a need to develop a common understanding that the road network was for everyone and not just cars.

The vision and aims of the policy were to promote walking as a mode of transport, to improve walking circumstances, especially for the children, elderly and disabled, to integrate walkers and pedestrians in the road network and land use, to emphasise walking among tourists, and to position the DOT and agencies to determine road infrastructure with walker and pedestrian facilities. The benefits of walking were outlined. Policy principles included promotion of walking as a form of transport, enhancing of safety and security, putting in place infrastructure, and addressing special needs. It was important also to bring other departments on board. Law enforcement must be addressed and pedestrian and walker behaviour and driver behaviour were all issues to be addressed. The way forward included approval of the Departmental bidding Committee for tendering, consultation of a walking policy with stakeholders, finalisation of a discussion document and approval from Exco, the Minister and Cabinet. The funding was estimated at R500 000

Mr Mshudulu referred to the policy principles slide and suggested that the DOT should add the review of the Integrated Development Plan (IDP) as a condition. He pointed out that many people feared walking as a result of being mugged on their way to their destination. He thought that the South African Police Services should also be consulted.

Ms M Nxumalo (ANC) wondered how the Department of Transport would address the space issues, which was currently a challenge due to limited pavements.

Mr Farrow mentioned that most of the work was the function of the municipality and asked how the municipalities as relevant stakeholders would be utilised. Mr Farrow wondered how they would overcome the barrier from initiation to implementation.

Mr Moss asked if a paraplegic was classified as "walking".

Mr Mashile indicated that walking covered two aspects; walking in the town and walking from residence to area of destination. There would be a need for integration and it brought with it other issues of parks, walkways and security.

Mr Mashile asked what sort of consultation DOT would embark on, and suggested that perhaps both South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) should be consulted to make sure the plans would be implementable.

Mr Mashile referred to human settlement principles, and asked if there was consultation made in that regard.

Ms Mbombo asked how much "walking" was required for a person to be considered a "walker" - she referred particularly to elderly people and children under six.

The Chairperson indicated that it was crucial to highlight walking and develop a policy, but the danger was to disentangle it from generic issues. He stated that one should note the importance of accessibility and safety.

The Chairperson suggested that the Department should identify the right stakeholders regarding this policy. The Integrated Transport Plans (ITP) must collaborate with Integrated Development Plans that would be driven by the local government. The DOT should note that for some people walking would be a huge challenge, although it would be good to encourage walking on a larger scale.

Mr Mashile suggested there should be some level of integration to public transport.

Dr Maziya agreed that perhaps the title should not be "walking policy" but rather "Walking policy framework". The Department would be talking to SALGA, CSIR and so forth. He further stated that brief walking for a period such as thirty minutes was healthy. This was one of the three policies being developed, not excessive walking. All the concerns raised had been noted.

Draft Animal-Drawn Transport Policy: Briefing by DOT
Mr Makaepea briefed the Portfolio Committee on the draft Animal Drawn Transport Policy, that looked at the current status of animal drawn transport and the way forward. The Department saw fit to have an animal drawn transport policy, especially due to the challenges faced in the rural communities, particularly children walking to school and access to social facilities and economic centres.

The policy would ensure that traffic regulations cater for animal drawn transport (ADT), and would promote this form of transport as a cost-effective public transport solution. There must be a sustainable infrastructure, and integration of this with non-motorized and public transport. There was a need to look at the infrastructure, which included road infrastructure, road damage, road widening, traffic separation, traffic synergy and cleansing. Regulatory aspects would have to include registration of animals, driver education, shoeing regulation, farrier education and licensing. Issues of humane animal husbandry, animal health and animal welfare were also of importance. Implementation included issues of capacity, community contracting government and tiers, and regulation. The policy framework would be developed in August 2007, whereafter there would be consultation with stakeholders and finalising of the financial implications.

Mr Farrow referred to the new animal drawn taxi in the Eastern Cape, which had been effective. Furthermore he mentioned that he saw this as a positive initiative, especially with the constant increase of fuel costs.

Ms P Khunou (ANC) commented on the importance of animal drawn transport in the rural areas, but was concerned about the practicality. She stated that this was mainly used by people who could not afford cars, and asked for elaboration upon the statement that there needed to be "education of drivers".

Ms Khunou asked if the Department had thoroughly consulted with the people that would use this form of transport and had tested the practicality of the policy.

Ms Khunou asked what DOT would do in areas where there was no infrastructure.

Ms Khunou referred to financial implications and subsidies already in place.

Ms Khunou requested clarity on humane husbandry.

Ms Nxumalo stated that animal drawn transportation was also used in the townships, especially as horse and cart transport. Years back there were inspectors to check the fitness of the animals, but presently this was not the case. She suggested that DOT should look into the matter of checking the well-being of the animals.

Ms Nxumalo commented that she did not see anything on the policy that addressed animals that caused damage, or accidents caused by the roaming of animals.

Mr Mashile referred to traffic separation or bridge safety and asked how the animals would be able to recognise robot signs.

Mr Mashile suggested that the Department should conduct research focusing on sustainability of animals as a form of transportation, and whether this would translate also into future plans.

Mr E Magubane (ANC) suggested that the driver of the cart should go through some form of fitness test.

Ms Khunou asked how the Department would ensure that sections of the road would be used for carts only, especially since it was difficult currently to enforce the bus and taxi-only lane.

The Chairperson suggested DOT should not forget the other modes of transport that would be used.

The Chairperson stated that scientists had already warned about increases in the oil price. Cuba was an example of an economy that had moved from trucks to animals for agricultural purposes. The Chairperson asked how the plans for animal drawn transport featured in the Integrated Transport Plans. He referred to the second economy and cooperatives and suggested that the Department of Trade and Industry could be more active in this regard. There would be a need for a comprehensive development plan. The Chairperson suggested that DOT should also look at tourism possibilities and asked where the policy was at the moment.

Mr Makaepea replied that this was the first draft and indicated that most of the concerns were law enforcement issues, as opposed to problems with the policy itself. He further mentioned that it would be difficult to identify animal drawn transportation in the integrated transport policy as it had not been pronounced upon before.

The Chairperson stated that they were concerned about the developmental approach. He further asked if the Department had a sense of how many people used this form of transportation.

Mr Mashile indicated that there were two areas where taxis refused to operate, and this included gravel roads. He suggested that the Department would have to ensure that in those areas this form of transport was provided as an alternative, and he further suggested that here it should not necessarily be regulated..

Scholar Transport Policy Briefing by DOT
Mr Makaepea briefed the Committee on the development of the scholar transport policy. He stated that DOT had held a workshop where all relevant stakeholders were invited, and introduced this policy to them. Strategic meetings were held with the Department of Education and these were still ongoing. The Department realised that the majority of scholars walked to school or used public transport, and had also realised that usage of public transport differed according to provinces.

The Department took note of the conditions of pubic transport, noting the expense, and the fact that many scholars were using poor or unroadworthy transport. There should be one overarching national scholar transport policy, providing scholar transport for all scholars, and all modes should be accessible. The policy should take cognisance of empowerment opportunities, and provide safe and secure scholar transport at an affordable price. There needed to be development of a national policy, finalisation of funding issues, identification of scholar transport beneficiaries, and law enforcement. The role of the provincial transport departments must be sorted out. Integration issues must still be worked out, and economic regulation was another area to be considered. The project would be funded by DOT, and the provinces would probably receive conditional grants from DOT to facilitation implementation of the policy in the respective provinces. A second consultative workshop would be taking place at the end of September, and a draft policy would be submitted to DOT Exco in October. The draft policy was to be with Cabinet by December.

The Chairperson mentioned that this work was important especially in the context of the recent tragedy where children were killed due to a taxi that was overloaded.

Mr Farrow suggested that there should be accountability, especially in cases where there had been serious injury to children due to the unroadworthy vehicles or operators not obeying the law.

Mr Farrow stated that accreditation would have to be dealt with separately since the drivers would be aware that they were dealing with a special category of children, thus requiring special skills.

Ms Khunou expressed the importance of well-trained drivers. She stated that walking was dangerous for children and this was something the Department would have to look at closely.

Ms Khunou further mentioned that funding would be a challenge, especially for those children who would not be able to afford the scholar transport.

Mr Mshudulu wondered if the scholar transport would be accommodated as other priority deliverables of government in the Division of Revenue legislation.

Mr Mshudulu suggested that the Department should have a monitoring mechanism, maybe through the school governing bodies, that would check the buses that brought children to school.

Mr Mashile stated that the policy should provide for regulations regarding maintenance of scholar transport.

Mr Mashile referred to the different categories for schools. He wondered how the policy would be able to cope with a child who was not attending his or her nearest school, because of the particular subjects or curriculum being offered.

Mr Mashile referred to the supply, especially distance-wise as that would require provision of transport. He suggested the DOT should perhaps work with the taxi associations so that they could provide the particular service required.

Mr Magubane mentioned that there were no school buses in the rural areas, and sometimes parents would organise kombis that were not road worthy for the transport of children. He suggested that the policy should expand to accommodate the rural people.

The Chairperson suggested that there should be a uniform approach. He was interested in the broader subsidy front and infrastructure spending from government. He stated the need for effective regulation and oversight for this form of transport. The Department should ensure that this operation was professionally run.

Dr Mzaliya requested detailed written comments written down from the Portfolio Committee on the draft policies. He suggested that the two remaining presentations be allocated more time, since they required more detailed interactions, and he would brief the Committee at a later stage.

The Chairperson mentioned that a date would be arranged for the DOT to engage on the remaining policy frameworks, and suggested that this would be in October.

Dr Mzaliya mentioned that DOT had taken note of the long consultation process, probably the result of under-staffing, and would address that.

Mr Makaepea mentioned that the Department focused on delivery. The Acting positions had to some degree incapacitated the Department, but it was trying to address that.

The Chairperson suggested that the Department needed to better align policy developments or they would lag behind. There seemed to be a lot of momentum around 2010. He suggested that perhaps it was not necessary to produce a White Paper but rather to focus on effective implementation.

Mr Mashile asked for elaboration on the location of the subsidy and whether the local municipality would play any role that could be monitored.

Mr Mshudulu asked how DOT would deal with the possibility that contribution made by donor funders dictated the direction that would be followed.

Dr Jabulani stated that DOT was trying to cut down on external sources, and most of their policies were developed internally. This resulted in under-spending in some areas that could then be used to address other initiatives of the Department.

The meeting was adjourned.



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