Hansard: Transport: Debate on Budget Vote No 33
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 20 May 2008
No summary available.
EPC – COMMITTEE ROOM: E249
Tuesday, 20 May 2008
TUESDAY, 20 MAY 2008 PROCEEDINGS OF THE EXTENDED PUBLIC COMMITTEE: COMMITTEE ROOM E249
The Committee met at 15:13.
The Deputy Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayer or meditation.
Debate on Vote No 33 - Transport:
The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT: Madam Deputy Speaker, hon members, in the previous budget speeches we have highlighted the importance of transport in the economy of South Africa. More recently we have restated our vision of transport being the heartbeat of South Africa's economy.
The movement of people and goods through our infrastructure, essentially, is akin to that of blood through veins and arteries in the human body and our transport system, the heart, determines the pulse and the tempo of economic growth and activity.
Globally, the increase in oil prices has lead to the escalating transport costs, resulting in spiralling food costs. Naturally, this places the greatest burden on the poorest of the poor. This is the global context around which we present our Transport budget.
For our people, transport is a basic need which enables access to employment and economic opportunities. As the ANC government, we have, over the past five years, increased the transport budget to over R20, 5 billion within a short period of time. In fact, such massive public investment in transport has enabled a major transport infrastructure development programme that has never before been seen in our country. As we all know, the multiplier effect of such investment in terms of employment creation is fourfold. The representation of our people's aspirations for a better future investment infrastructure remains a key element to sustainable growth and development.
Allow me, Deputy Speaker, to remind this House of the three specific priorities that we set ourselves after the third democratic elections in 2004. Firstly, we said we will focus our energies on improving our public transport system to benefit the rural and urban poor in our country. Secondly, we committed ourselves to accelerating infrastructure development, both as an instrument of growth and as an employment driver. Finally, we firmly committed ourselves to improve on safety and security within the transport sector.
Madam Deputy Speaker, these are firm commitments that the ANC government has made to our people as reaffirmed by the ANC national conference in Polokwane as a basis to meet the needs of our people and achieve a better life for all.
The most immediate focus has been on the 2010 Fifa World Cup which is to serve as a catalyst for transport transformation. And to this end, 2010 is providing the platform for the development of much-needed transport, social and economic infrastructure for our motherland. The creation of a lasting legacy in the transformation of the existing commuter transport to integrated public transport networks remains our key objective.
Today we are 750 days away from the 2010 World Cup and as the transport sector our 2010-related projects are to be concluded before or on time for this great event. These investments that we are putting into the transport system to prepare for 2010 which has increased to R13, 6 billion over the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework period through the public transport infrastructure fund, the PTIF, from the 2005-06 financial year to the current MTEF ending in March 2011.
The overall investment framework in transport infrastructure in addition to this PTIF is as follows: Road infrastructure - R70 billion; access roads through the Expanded Public Works Programme - R3 billion; airports development - R19,5 billion; air traffic navigation - R400 million; passenger rail - R18 billion; the Taxi recap programme – R7,7 billion and the Gautrain – R25 billion.
Almost all of the major physical 2010 projects have started in all the host cities. Some have even been completed or are in the final stages of completion. The major projects that have started so far include: Phase 1(A) of the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit System in the city of Johannesburg that is 48km long with 48 bus terminals, as well as the N17 linking Soweto to Nasrec Road, Orlando and the Northern suburbs of Johannesburg. It also includes the Bus Rapid transit system in Nelson Mandela Bay, the various rail station upgrades through out the country and particularly those that are linked directly to stadia or training facilities for the host cities.
And the first phase of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Scheme which is 230km of freeway widening by 2010 out of a total of 560km. This scheme is part of our government's innovative way of improving traffic flow in the Gauteng freeways, which carry more that 180 000 vehicles each day.
Hon members, I am also delighted to announce that we have also issued a request for proposals from prospective suppliers for more than 1 400 buses to be used during the World Cup and there after will be absorbed into our public transport system.
By the end 2010 our country will boast of a transport system and services that rank amongst the best in the world. This confidence was further strengthened by numerous visits that I had undertaken to various sites where work is currently taking place, such as in our airports, commuter railways, the Gauteng rapid rail construction cites and road construction sites to mention but a few.
It was also only in 2005-06 when we presented to government and various stakeholders the 2010 transport agenda. We have also concluded a detailed operational plan which we shall be submitting to Cabinet and to Fifa next month.
The preparations for the passenger and freight transport of the 2010 World Cup and the Confederations Cup is well advanced. The whole city's operational plans for both events have been assessed and high-level planning is in place. The detailed planning of passenger and of freight movement and the facilitation thereof is currently being finalised. The host cities of both events and the national and provincial networks are being mapped out on the basis of travel and freight demands specific to this event.
An important area for the Department of Transport has been to drive the capacity of the aviation sector and attract much-needed skills and investment for growth to take place in this sector. The Airports Company South Africa, Acsa, has embarked on a very impressive programme to prepare for 2010 and beyond. Revenue is expected to grow from R3 billion in 2007-08 to over R4, 5 billion in 2010-11. This growth averages an increase of 12, 1% per annum. Acsa in turn continues with its concerted infrastructure investment expenditure through developments at OR Tambo International Airport, in Cape Town, in Durban and other airports at a cost of over R20 billion to provide for the expansion of airport infrastructure.
Our major area of investment and upgrading is in the area of public passenger transport as a critical part of the 2010 Fifa World Cup. We have seen major initiatives being undertaken by almost all spheres of government in preparation for the 2010 World Cup.
The approval by Cabinet of a public transport strategy has gone a long way in guiding all spheres of government towards the creation of a mass rapid and efficient public transport network which is a major improvement from a situation three years ago where there was neither interest nor focus on public transport issues.
Hon members, before Parliament rises we will present the National Land Transport Bill to Parliament which will set a new framework for roles and responsibilities between the three spheres of government and, amongst others, the effective management of the public transport sector.
I must take this opportunity to commend the many stakeholders ranging from committee-based structures to municipalities that participated actively in all public transport strategic planning and continue to champion public transport transformation in our country. In a great way those are the makers of history who actively work with the ANC government to effect a thoroughgoing socio-economic transformation.
In particular, I'm glad to announce that we have made significant progress in the planning and implementation of phase 1 of the public transport networks in all major cities. This includes operational business and infrastructure planning in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Tshwane and Nelson Mandela Bay.
These four pioneering cities will have phase 1 of the Bus Rapid Transit Projects fully operational in late 2009 and early 2010. Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay have already started construction of certain portions of their Bus Rapid Transit Networks. Tshwane and Cape Town are due to commence construction in the second half of this year.
Again, hon members, these BRT initiatives are underpinned by the objectives of ensuring bus transport is the public transport of choice because efficiency would be enhanced by dedicated bus lanes. All these efforts are aimed at enhancing the value of public transport and therefore help reduce traffic congestions and carbon emissions on our roads.
The escalating price of fuel also means we have a duty to lighten the heavy burden this has on the income of all our people.
I'm sure you are all well aware that the economic growth experienced in the country over the passed few years has also resulted in an enormous increase in the demand for public transport. This is evident in the year-on-year increases in the actual subsidy expenditure on buses that has increased at a rate of about 15%. An overall average growth in passenger numbers of 12% was experienced nationally with some operators experiencing growth up to 40%. This growth has put a strain on the annual subsidy and annual budget allocation.
However, hon members, by early 2010, South Africans will start experiencing a radically improved public transport service that is based on an integrated city-wide network and which fully incorporates the minibus taxi industry. It is our stated objective that the current bus rapid transit initiatives will be integrated with the taxi recapitalisation programme.
We must use the opportunities presented to us by the public transport initiatives to accelerate the transformation of the taxi industry as we know it. Today more than ever opportunities have emerged for the taxi industry, which I believe, will take this industry of emerging entrepreneurs to greater heights.
I am encouraged also by the leadership that the South African National Taxi Council, Santaco, has shown on this matter in clearly stating that they are not only taxi operators but seek to empower and transform the industry to become transport operators in all modes.
Hon members this brings me to the progress in ruling out the taxi recap programme, particularly to improve the role of government in improving the safety of the majority of our commuters who depend on taxis as their primary mode of transport.
The scrapping of old and unsafe taxi vehicles and their replacement with new taxi vehicles with better safety features, is on track. To date over 13 533 old taxis have been scrapped and R676 million has been paid out to taxi operators as scrapping allowance. Currently demand for scrapping has escalated beyond our expectations and as government we acknowledge also that the taxi industry has not benefited from the subsidy regime in public transport. Closely related to this issue is the fixed nature of the R50 000 scrapping allowance which is not inflation linked and has an impact on the affordability of new taxis.
A fixed scrapping allowance over a seven-year period will have an accumulative negative impact. The price of new vehicles will have continued to rise throughout this period.
The department working with all the provinces in correcting this situation and being responsive to these realities is currently looking into various options for the subsidisation of the taxi industry to be tabled before Cabinet. This will be coupled with a funding model for the taxi recapitalisation programme for the balance of the seven-year period and underpinning the continued success of the taxi recap programme is the efficient and effective process of converting permits into operating licenses, which have posed a particular challenge.
The formulation of a turnaround strategy has therefore been essential in ensuring that the operating licensing boards rise to this occasion. And key to the turnaround strategy is the identification of challenges and process weaknesses and introduction of interventions to deal with them. This will be supported by a critical intervention on the effective regulation of the taxi industry which we will be discussed with stakeholders and forms part of the taxi recap programme.
Hon members, on the issue of passenger rail, which is another important pillar of our public transportation, our government has increased funding for passenger rail transport services to the tune of R18 billion over the MTEF. This funding is vital for the turnaround strategy being implemented by the SA Rail Commuter Corporation, SARCC.
I'm proud to say that over the past 18 months the SARCC has been able to upgrade and take through its general overhaul programme over 790 coaches which have since been deployed back into the service.
The corporation has also committed another 700 coaches to be refurbished in this current financial year at an estimated cost of almost R2 billion. This is vital because a key factor in the deterioration of rail services has been underinvestment in rolling stock.
The recent launch of the Tshwane Business Express between Tshwane and Johannesburg was yet another major milestone in the turnaround of passenger rail, particularly after the Soweto and Khayelitsha express services were launched last year. It is important that we demonstrate in practice that Metrorail is positioned as an organisation that could offer high quality passenger services. In addition the programme to upgrade key rail stations for the Confederations Cup next year and for 2010 World Cup is already underway and construction in many stations is ongoing in Nasrec, in Doornfontein, in Moses Mabhida, Cape Town, Loftus and North End Station in Port Elizabeth and many will be completed in April 2009. Furthermore, the SARCC has allocated an additional R300 million over the next three years to cover the basic improvement of facilities such as ablution facilities, lighting and subways in over 130 stations this year with over 75 stations either nearing completion or completed.
I'm glad, Comrade Maxwell Moss, to report today that the SARCC has finalised its policy and programme on special needs and ensured that problems at both Mandalay and Lentegeur stations here in Cape Town have been fully addressed so that facilities already in place in some of the stations are fully utilised to the benefit of passengers with special needs. [Applause.]
Our plans are to ensure that all station improvements make them fully accessible to people living with disability.
Whilst we are beginning to see visible improvement in Metrorail services, there are still many challenges that we are facing. We are also going to be increasing allocation for maintenance to 18%, which is a record of R707 million. The rising cost of materials is proving to be one of the serious constraints that we are facing.
I am also pleased to report to Parliament that the second phase of the consolidation of passenger rail entities is entering its final phase with the transfer of long distance passenger services, Shosholoza Meyl, already underway, with effect from 1 April 2008 and by September of this year we'll conclude a sale and business agreement with Transnet. The Legal Succession Act will be amended during this current sitting of Parliament.
An important recent development is also the approval by Cabinet of the Moloto Rail Project between Mpumalanga and Tshwane which will change the lives of our people for ever. In the medium-term the success of this turnaround strategy for rail passenger services will present the country with new difficulties if no urgent steps are taken today to recapitalise the current Metrorail fleet.
The average age profile of the fleet is 40 years and as such continuing to refurbish without a replacement strategy being implemented will have dire consequences and could even reverse the gains that would have been made through this current turnaround plans. A further delay would also mean that the cost of buying new trains at a later stage will even be much higher than it is today, with lead times of over three years. We therefore need to move with speed to ensure that we bring on board and introduce into our system a new generation of modern fleet.
And consistent with the instruction of the President's state of the nation address that we recapitalise Metrorail, I'm glad to report that the SARCC has now completed the business case for the recapitalisation of Metrorail's fleet. It is therefore my intention in the coming weeks to present before Cabinet the fleet replacement programme of SARCC for consideration. Once approved, the Department of Transport and SARCC, together with other with key government departments, the National Treasury and Trade and Industry will be expected to commence with the process for the implementation of this strategy in the third quarter of this year.
As you know, the Gauteng Rapid Rail Project is well on course and we are spending R25 billion for this modern state-of-the-art rail system, which should close a gap in our public transport infrastructure provision. But I am happy to indicate that the leg between OR Tambo International and Sandton is 40% in terms of implementation and completion of the whole project is 33,3% of actual time elapsed since the effective date.
The road infrastructure continues to be a priority for us. We have embarked on a programme to improve the capacity and technology on our road infrastructure. An important partnership programme between the three spheres of government is the Gauteng freeway improvement scheme, which is estimated to cost R15 billion in the first phase. The second phase will see the development of new highways for the 10 years after 2010 at an estimated cost of R7 billion. This will target congested intersections such as Allandale, Gillooly's, Artterbury and provide a fourth lane allowing for a high occupancy vehicle lane, including public transport. The net effect of this will be decreased travel time and reduced traffic congestion.
In its implementation the SA National Roads Agency, Sanra, is moving towards an open road tolling system which entails electronic collection of fees linked to intelligent transport systems.
Similarly, in August this year Sanra will also be issuing a tender for a concession contract which will be a build operating transfer scheme for the Winelands area in the Western Cape. There are many projects under the scheme of Sanra: As you know in 1998 they managed about 700km of road network and today they are managing almost 1700km of our road network. This part of the continuing project in this current financial year is to ensure that we are developing the N1 South and R30 in Welkom, Bloemfontein and Tsitsikamma extension, N2 Knysna bypass, the N3 Marianhill extension and, of course, the N17 in Soweto.
I must say that there has been a steady increase in the allocation of roads from the fiscus. Unfortunately this has not kept pace with the increase in prices of the various elements and material used in the construction of roads. So therefore we will have to continue to constructively engage the private sector to leverage the full potential of public-private partnerships to meet the funding demands.
As you are all aware the Freight Logistics Strategy was approved by Cabinet in 2005 and has created a systematic framework within which to pursue investment in our freight-rail environment. We are developing and institutional and regulatory framework to guide the implementation of the national freight strategy. We have already begun the process of establishing the real economic regulator and we are commencing with stakeholder consultation and through the process of developing corridor strategies, various projects have been identified such as the Harrismith Freight Logistics Hub, the N4 Truck Stop Project, the Cato Ridge Facility and the Durban Freight Plan amongst others.
All these initiatives reflect the priorities that we have set for ourselves as a country and as we know Transnet, our premier transport company is investing over the next five years a total of R82 billion, of which R 40,8 billion is being spent in upgrading freight infrastructure and rail engineering.
Hon members, let me re-emphasise that we are making steady progress in decreasing a number of fatal crashes and fatalities on our roads. This can be attributed to an improvement in co-ordination, better planned road traffic law enforcement operations as well improved monitoring and evaluation over the last year. Our actions were further intensified through the National Rolling Enforcement Plan, which included all provinces, metros and municipalities.
In order to sustain and further improve our road safety record, we are intensifying our programme by implementing the points merit and demerit system. I am glad today to announce that through the road traffic management corporation we are ready to launch the Merit and Demerit System Pilot Project in Gauteng, Tshwane and Johannesburg next month. This project will assist us to test our systems in gearing ourselves for the national rollout during 2009. The national rollout will go a long way in making an impact and indicating our state of readiness for the promotion of road safety in addition to the Arrive Alive Programme as well enhancing traffic measures during World Cup 2010.
As the department we continue to play a meaningful role in the transport structures of the African Union. In the past year we have been able to host AU meetings on rail and roads respectively. We also continue to have a strong presence in the International Civil Aviation Organisation, ICAO, and are playing a deputy presidency role in the International Maritime Organisation. Our presence and role in all these areas is critical as both domains of aviation and maritime play a critical role in global trade and people's travel.
The evidence of our country at work is there for all to see whether it is the pounding of Imbokodo, the Gautrain 900 ton machine drilling the belly of the earth in Johannesburg, the major construction of OR Tambo International Airport, the new La Mercy Airport in Durban, the Bridge City Rail Station in Northern Durban, the N17 extension in Soweto or the N2 from Cape Town airport to the Mother City, particularly the Groote Schuur hospital junction. All in all, what this means is that the South African transport landscape has turned the corner and it shall never be the same again. I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr D V BLOEM: Madam Speaker, I just want to correct the Minister on something. It is not Blomfontein but Bloemfontein.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, hon member. Please take your seat. Minister, I think you should stick to Mangaung. Then you would be safe. Some people want to emphasize where the name comes from and link it to their last names. So is Mr Dennis Bloem.
Mr J P CRONIN
END OF TAKE
The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT
Mr J P CRONIN: Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker, thank you Minister Radebe, that's a vast field you're covering and in fact it's huge. MECs - and I recognise one brand new MEC, colleagues from across the whole transport fraternity and hon members.
The budget allocation this year for Transport is R20 billion, and that represents a massive five-fold increase compared with 2004, and this surge which we are seeing in budgetary allocation is the consequence of a growing government and indeed, I think, public appreciation that transport in its totality is indeed the heartbeat, not just of the economy, but of our society.
Whether freight or passenger, whether road or rail, aviation or maritime, whether motorised or nonmotorised, urban or rural, transport is absolutely central to sustainable growth and to development. Failure to invest in transport infrastructure means bottlenecks. Poor public transport means congestion, environmental degradation and lower productivity.
If we fail to take public transport seriously, if we fail to integrate mobility into people-friendly, human-scale built environments then we will continue to perpetuate the ugly face of apartheid in the geography of our cities, our towns and our rural areas.
So this is what is at stake and I suppose we must ask ourselves the question: How are we faring? Well, the honest answer must be that it's a long battle and we have a long way to go. But as we speak there are a number of very encouraging indicators that suggest that we are finally beginning to turn things around.
In its report to the committee the Road Traffic Management Corporation provided us with road-crashed statistics comparing this past festive season with the previous one, Easter with Easter and the year as a whole of 2006 with the year 2007, and a consistent and encouraging pattern emerges. Yes, road fatalities and serious injuries remain unacceptably high in our country, but we are indeed seeing marked declines – and across the board.
Perhaps even for more encouraging surveys of driver behaviour indicate growing compliance. It's still not enough, believe me, but a very significant improvement is in evidence and I think that this tells us that our interventions, Minister, are beginning to make an impact.
On the freight logistics front major infrastructural investments and an important turnaround in Transnet are beginning also to bear fruit. Bottlenecks and other challenges remain, yes, but the flight from rail to road is slowing and in some cases it's reversing. As for public transport, I am absolutely confident that by the end of next year and early into 2010, in at least some of our major cities, for the first time ever in the history of South Africa we will see the rolling out of integrated, modern, rapid public transport systems. It will be transport that serves working class communities but which is at the same time so efficient, so safe, so reliable that it will be irresistible for the middle classes as well - and the rising oil prices no doubt will help as well.
We will see public transport beginning to knit together divided communities in our society. The momentum, Minister, is there but it's a momentum that can be lost or squandered. Increased budgetary allocations on their own might simply be spread too thin, so thin into many disconnected projects, some of them vanity projects. Treasury may allocate money in principle, but transfer it in dribbles on a kind of drip system so that entities barely manage to survive.
Provinces and metros may fail to co-operate running their own competing and mutually destructive initiatives. There might be change but without serious transformation. We might for instance renew most of the minibus fleet, or as you say bring it, as we must, into an operating subsidy framework but then just re-insert new and subsidised vehicles into the same unsustainable, violence-prone, driver-exploitative, operator-dominated and not publicly regulated environment.
We might preach intermodalism - the integration of pedestrians, bikes, minibuses, buses and rail mobility, but in practice continue to institutionalise and fund unimodal approaches. In short, we are seeing significant budget increases. We are seeing the beginnings of a very important transformational momentum, and yet it still too soon to be sure that we will live up to the possibilities and responsibilities of this situation.
In elaborating on these latter notes of caution that I am introducing let me not use my own words, but rather quote directly from what we heard as a portfolio committee in the last several weeks in the cause of our budget hearings here in Parliament: "We are in a worse situation than Eskom. We are on the knife edge." Those are the words of Lucky Montana, Chief Executive Officer for the South African Rail Commuter Corporation.
"Our people," he says, "continue to travel like cattle in our trains." While acknowledging the SARCC is indeed receiving a significantly increased budgetary allocation, the CEO Montana cautioned that:
Coaches are refurbished, yes, but we are just buying time. We are stabilising but we are not climbing out of the vicious cycle.
This theme of stabilising but not emerging from a vicious cycle recurred many times in varying forms in the course of our public hearings. "We've reached a precipice as the Road Accident Fund," the CEO Jacob Modise told our committee. In December he said: "We had to actively slow down on processing claims."
A similar instruction to slow down was given to the national taxi scrapping agency. As funds ran low for the scrapping process it became necessary to slow the pace of scrapping old taxis, we were told by Department of Transport's Director-General, comrade Mpumi Mpofu.
The South African National Roads Agency Limited, SANRAL, was justifiably proud of its Moody's double A-rating, and of the work it's generally doing on the national road network, but Nazir Ali, CEO, told the committee, "It is really scary, scary," he said "to see the loss of engineering skills in provinces and it is even worse in local areas. In provinces it is just not the human capacity." It might be tempting listening to those words to pat ourselves on the back for the performance of this or that national entity and to ignore the problems in other spheres or in other public entities that don't fall directly on our budget. But it is not a view that any of us can afford to take, and this was exactly the point that the Airport Company of South Africa's CEO Mohla Hlahla made to us when the committee raised numerous concerns around problems in the airport environment over the last period: Lost luggage, pilfering, long queues, a shortage of key staff whether at passport control or in check-in counters, and Minister, a really outrageous treatment of passengers with disabilities in the recent period specifically with SAA.
The committee agreed with the Acsa CEO that most if not all of these problems had little to do with Acsa as a company itself, but we also agreed with her that passing the buck is not an option. We have to accept collectively responsibility for finding effective responses and that means establishing a much more effective planning and co-ordinating capacity in Cabinet itself.
As we approach the end of our third democratic administration, now, which it'll come to an end sometime next year, now is an opportune time to reflect on governance lessons learned. Do we need to reconfigure departments and the structure of Cabinet? Should we consider a seven or eight member council of state, for instance, consisting of senior ministers in overarching portfolios like finance, economic development, infrastructure, human development and governance? Should we have a high level planning commission, perhaps located in the Presidency?
The appropriateness of these kinds of questions is underlined in our view. But the concerns raised, for instance, by the South African Maritime Safety Agency's CEO, Commander Tsietsi Mokgele. We do not, he told us, as South Africa have a coherent maritime policy. We are aware indeed, Minister, that a maritime policy is shortly to be presented to the Cabinet but once more this is not just a matter of the Department of Transport relating to a public entity that falls within our budget.
For instance like South Africa, the Greek navy has recently procured new vessels from Germany. The Greek government was careful to ensure that only the first of the new acquisitions will be built in Germany. Subsequent vessels are now being built in Greek shipyards with the appropriate transfer of jobs, of skills and technology. In South Africa by contrast, we have wasting shipyard skills and capacity. We have three German-built submarines idling alongside in Simon's Town harbour with only enough trained crew for one eight-hour shift on one submarine, and we have a shipping register that once boasted sixty vessels in 1990 and is now down to one – a vessel that's about to be decommissioned.
What the example from Greece underlines, is that a coherent maritime policy, for instance, cannot simply be driven and supported by a transport department on its own. It requires integrated planning and implementation that, in our case, should cut across at least Defence, Trade and Industry, Environmental Affairs including fisheries, Public Enterprises and Transport. Can we honestly claim that we have this kind of coherence currently?
The quotes that I have provided from senior officials in the course of our budgetary hearings might seem like a litany of lamentations, but believe it or not, the ANC in the portfolio committee sees these concerns raised as largely positives signs. As a committee we are convinced that we are getting an increasingly candid and therefore more accurate and strategically informed perspective from the department itself and from these entities that fall under our budget.
It was only last year for instance, that the Civil Aviation Authority finally drew our attention to the fact that it had been receiving less than inspiring audits from the International Civil Aviation Organization ,ICAO, for many years. Maybe we should have asked the question, we didn't.
We are pleased to note that this year the key critical challenges identified by ICAO seemed to have been addressed and ICAO has acknowledged as much. This greater candour about problems and challenges is a mark, I think, of a substantially improved governance of the transport entities falling under our budget. There has been a tangible improvement, Minister, in the oversight of the department in regard to these entities, and the boards and the senior managements in these entities are in the estimation of the ANC study group much improved.
In earlier years it was often very difficult for the portfolio committee to make sense of what was happening in patently dysfunctional entities. Now for instance, when the Road Accident Fund raises concerns about its budgetary allocations we are inclined to believe it. We are even more inclined to believe it because our colleagues in the Road Accident Fund understand perfectly well that the sustainable solution lies not in more money, but in a major transformation of the fund's mandate and character.
Yes there are challenges but make no mistake whatever the problems we are now in fact, on the threshold of a major qualitative transformation in the transport environment. It is particularly on the public transport front that we are poised to see the beginnings of a much needed transformational shift. As the ANC we warmly welcome the DoT's Public Transport Action Plan and the National Land Transport Bill, which will soon come to Parliament. Both of these mark a major paradigm shift, away from the entrenched habits of operating public transport in modal silos, bus subsidies over here, train subsidies over there, taxi recapitalization in another place, planning in one place, operating licences in another.
We must ensure that the current bus, and for that matter rail subsidies and the taxi recap programme are now much more thoroughly integrated into the development of localised multimodal public transport networks. Earlier I entered a plea for a much greater centralised planning and integrated capacity in the Cabinet itself. But we also need, however, and this is a complementary and not contradictory requirement, we need to ensure the appropriate decentralisation down to the local level of public transport planning, of public funding, of public transport implementation and of citizen participation.
Madam Deputy Speaker, with these hopes and aspirations, the ANC supports Budget Vote 33, the Transport Budget. Thank you.
Mr S B FARROW
END OF TAKE
Mr J P CRONIN
Mr S B FARROW: Deputy Speaker, the hon Cronin said a lot of things, as the Minister has as well, which I might be repeating. But for the sake of this budget, which just happens to be my eighth debate on this particular Vote in this House, some with the current Minister and some previously with the late Dullah Omar. There always has been a golden thread that runs through my speeches, which unfortunately still seems not to have been taken heed of or shown any progress in reaching resolve. But on the other hand, some major and commendable initiatives had been taking place and seem to be making headway, brought about by primarily as a result of the funding of the 2010 World Cup.
But my job is not only to give accolades when they are due, but also to constructively debate and raise concerns on issues that will enable and ensure a better, safer, affordable and efficient transport service to all our citizens and those visitors who choose to use it. Above all, my job in opposition is to provide alternative policies which will enhance and improve the lives of those commuters and motorists and members of the public who, by their very nature form part of an open opportunity society which the DA strives for and stands for.
Unlike his predecessor, though, Minister Radebe, to my knowledge, has only appeared once before the portfolio committee and that was to explain yourself out of the miserable disaster of the launch of that eNaTIS debacle. What we need from you, sir, is some leadership to look at the solutions that have been put here and have been expressed by the two speakers - and even yourself- before us in regard to the taxi recapitalisation programme, the continued major loss of lives on entry on our roads, the mounting backlog of maintenance both nationally and provincially, the disastrous handling of the technically insolvent RAF Amendment Act, which continues to cost taxpayer R10 million a day and the controversial and escalating Gautrain project with its incompatible gauge or the unacceptably high vacancy rate in your department, which renders implementation of its programmes difficult, if not impossible.
Minister, it was therefore not unexpected for the editorial of the Cape Times on 6 March 2008, not me, this year to declare that you are on a road to nowhere and calling for your resignation. Well, sir, if you are going to be the next Minister of Transport, there is no doubt in the new and reshuffled cabinet of 2009, let me offer you or your successors some food for thought. [Interjections.] Well maybe! [Laughter.]
Firstly, the whole taxi recapitalisation, which you have actually gone into and have discussed really needs revisiting - and I think you have mentioned this, because the slow progress actually of the scrapping has resulted now in Treasury revising the actual allocations from R20 000 to R8 000 a year, which means it going to take 15 years to go, which is absolutely unacceptable. I am not going to go into the details of all these because you have actually raised them. I am actually very glad to hear that you have made announcements on this that there might be some moves afoot to integrate the taxis now into a more consolidated BRT system in many of our cities.
I just want to mention one thing, the scrapping allowance which was basically was used for replacement, if you take that R50 000, Minister, and possibly look at some investing equity into the new BRT system, that will be all very well. In effect, if you take a new taxi vehicle, at R300 000, that particular taxi driver is actually paying R42 000 back in VAT. Now, if you look at that for R50 000 outlook there is R42 000 coming back into Treasury. It does not make sense at all to me and, I think, we have got to look seriously at how we are going to, actually now, effectively bring those taxis into a more integrated system.
The Fifa World Cup is 752 days away, in fact; and for us to successfully ensure that every host city has transport plans in place and implemented while we are leaving behind a legacy of sustainable public transport and infrastructure, the portfolio committee and South Africans as a whole have been passionate about its success and as part of our oversight role we have been taking a very proactive role in this regard. Of the nine cities visited, except for one of these cities, the balance we were grappling with putting together in place the TAs and their ITPs in accordance with NLTTA. Minister, I have been reading with interest the draft in NLT Bill, which is a new one, and hopefully you would soon start with its passage through this House. The Bill should act as an instrument to set the standards and so resolve the quality of services we provide to the millions of public transport users. I was privileged to be part of the multiparty delegation from the portfolio committee to visit the UK recently. And our report will soon be tabled in this House. One thing which I established from these deliberations and elsewhere is that the Department's prime task should be to determine: Who meets the standards to operate buses, taxis and rail coaches? Who has to licence them and then to make sure that those standards are maintained throughout a particular operation? One realisation that emerges from these visits, is that in South Africa, we do not seem to have those set standards and if we are to compete internationally, then this is what will have to be a priority. If it can be done in Colombia, it can be done here. And we saw that. This matter was raised extensively during amendments to the NLTTA Act some 18 months ago and with particular reference to the licensing of tourist operators.
To this end, hon Minister, you set up a task team and it is pleasing to know that their recommendations to adopt the standards for tourist operating licence have now been embraced in the new NLT Bill. However, the present state of the operating licensing board, and you mentioned them, has proved to be a disaster and has cost the transport industry and public transport dearly. I horribly suspect that the newly proposed provincial appointed PREs and Destination Plan Authorities will still be dogged with maladministration and bureaucracy and will continue to have zero standards.
I raise this issue in light of confusion that exists in regard to responsibility of who, how and at which level the approximately
3 000 buses - I could be wrong – that are earmarked for purchase or transfers to the Department of Transport - if we take all into consideration, for the World Cup will be allocated, administered and more importantly timeously registered.
The last thing we can happen is for unnecessary delays and duplication to take place at provincial and metro level. Cape Town is a clear example of this, Minister. The Constitution in Schedule 4 part B allocates municipal public transport as a competency of local government, yet the Western Cape Provincial Department of Transport seems hell bent on providing 500 of its buses for the World Cup. Chapter 3 of the Constitution emphasises the need for co-operative government assisting and supporting one another in mutual trust and good faith especially on matters of common interest. What more of a common interest can we, as South Africans, have than that of the 2010 World Cup? Yet it appears the ANC-led Western Cape department has its own agenda.
Tomorrow, hon Minister, you will be party to a number of transport-related izimbizo to which the portfolio committee has been invited, yet inadvertently or advertently, the equivalent body in the DA-led City of Cape Town under Mayor Helen Zille, has not been afforded the opportunity to be part of this. How then do you expect the city to work collectively when you openly support this type of divisive action? I can only believe it is part of a clear strategy to undermine the legitimate and democratically elected DA metro, with a view to garnering votes in the 2009 for the sake of political point scoring. That's what it's not about.
Thirdly, Deputy Speaker, let me just talk about matters of safety. The report that the RTMC is now operational after many delays, and I put my hat on, is pleasing to my ears. However, the eNaTIS system is still sitting with the Department of Transport. Its migration into RTMC's hands is expected to take place in October of this year. And I trust it will be done professionally and to avoid the currents of its launch last time. eNaTIS will assist RTMC in its ability to manage standardise, co-ordinate and administer all aspects of road safety within the confine of the ART Act and the road traffic authorities throughout the country.
At present there is about 9 to 10 000 traffic officers in the country. Without these and further approximately 2 000 additional traffic officers infringers will continue to get away with murder if they are not caught and booked. In the absence of well-run and corrupt-free vehicle testing stations, it is imperative that visible policing plays a major role in combating bad-driver behaviour which is still inherent on our roads. A recent independent road traffic offence, which has also been mentioned, highlighted some of the major infringements occurring on our roads by both visible and fixing forces campaigns. It makes for sordid reading, and one wonders how these habitual offenders will survive once the demerit system is introduced.
The pilot project in Tshwane will be implemented in June 2008. But I have some serious concerns about it. Firstly, to my record, there is about 213 offences listed for which the driver, or the owner or operator of the vehicle can be penalised. Having seen the demerit system successfully operated in Australia, it had a marked effect on the decrease in traffic offences. However, it is restricted to driver type offences only. The DA believes that including penalty points for owners, operators it will create a nightmare to administer, vehicle defects for private car owners should be dealt with by the introduction of compulsory roadworthy certificates on an annual roadworthy check once the vehicle is older than three years. The operator is catalyst to its success. Physical safety checks under vehicles on the side of the road are not a good option.
The DA, therefore, would support any initiatives by the department to create vehicle safety inspectorate and furthermore enter into private public partnerships with reputable vehicle testing stations to tackle this problem.
Commercial operators of buses and freight are on our roads every day, and therefore debiting them for offences related to roadworthiness must be dealt with severely, but separately. Regular safety controls and checks must be dealt with at the source or established vehicle stations en route. A recent response, sir, to your question on buses stopped on our main tourist routes revealed that the main offences are overloading. All buses and taxis are licensed to carry a certified number of passengers at an average weight of 68kg. In reality, this is not the case. One just has to look around this House. And very few of our hon members weigh less than 68kg. [Laughter.]
A review is necessary to redetermine average passenger weight levels in South Africa as it would be unconstitutional and undignified, to weigh every passenger boarding our tourist passenger buses or taxis before embarking on their journey. And I think we need to look at this aspect.
Finally, let me end this by referring once again to my hobby horse, the gross underfunding of roads maintenance in the country. The DA is of the opinion that road maintenance backlogs across the country exceed R200 billion. In response to a number of questions posed to the Minister, it became apparent that we were not far off the mark when the backlogs of the provinces are also taken into account.
Minister, if you do not return as the Minister of Transport in 2009, one legacy will haunt you and that of the ANC and maybe it will be me that have to face up to that and that is the continued deterioration of the roads. Because Sanral and the provinces many of whose role the former has taken over, has been living with a shortfall plus minus R10 billion per annum over and above the existing expenditure. Low investment in road infrastructure has led to an exodus of professional road engineers, technicians and contractors as more and more of our roads reach the end of their lifespan. To exacerbate the problem costs, as you said, are increasing incrementally as fuel prices rise, and it is estimated having to recruit foreign engineers or contractors could add as much as 15% to the cost of the bill.
In last year's debate I called on you, Minister, to institute an investigation to see how SMMEs, the private sector or the use of foreign construction companies could assist in meeting this backlog with a view to substantially increasing the funding levels to Sanral over the next medium-term and again reiterate this plea with the added request to investigate with treasury a remodelling of road maintenance funding from the fuel levy in accordance really with Section 34 in the Sanral and the National Roads Act of 1998. And in particular, the setting up of a dedicated growth fund that will reallocate funds on a proportional and prioritized basis to those provinces which have necessary capacity and expertise to undertake maintenance and construction works.
An interesting development which has taken place in my province, the Eastern Cape, has been the separating of the Department of Transport away from the Department of Public Works, where it was previously jointly housed, making it a far more dedicated and functional operation. Of more far rich in development though which is worrying was, the payment made last week by the Premier of the Eastern Cape of over R300 000 claimed for damages caused to a bus by a pothole on the road between Indwe and Elliot.
If this court precedent continues, it could cost the state millions of rands in private vehicle claims and damages. Speaker, the above resumé of the department's budget speaks for itself. It has some positives and negatives. Hopefully, some suggestions which could be taken heed of with the view to improving what is an ambitious programme for 2008 under major capacity constraints. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr E J LUCAS
END OF TAKE
Mr S B FARROW
Mr E J LUCAS: Mr Chairman, the Department of Transport which is one of the departments which has a direct influence on all citizens of our country. It is unfortunate that when there are problems with taxis, buses or trains the public is immediately aware of the situation; whenever there is a strike it has a direct impact on economy and the country.
Workers are late for work and those who have purchased coupons have to find money to pay for another form of transport. The aim of this department is to provide an integrated sustainable, reliable and safe transport system. This is the difficult task to implement. Yesterday alone, the bus service suffered serious disruptions. The Montana deport in the Western Cape was blockaded which resulted in passengers being left stranded all along the bus routes.
Problems are also experienced in the Free State, as well as in KwaZulu-Natal where the Durban Bus Service is now responsible for the fleet. Dozens of workers are dependent on this and other public transport services. The safety of vehicles is the major problem: Brakes, lights, tyres and registration are very seldom checked. The traffic police seem to be only concentrating on trapping for speed and being at the scene of accident.
The practice of vehicles patrolling is needed as well as to create awareness of traffic police. Whenever a traffic inspector is driving a car, you immediately take notice and you start to obey the rules. And we ought to reduce the rate of casualties on our roads, because I do know that when you driving, you pass a traffic inspector and you driving with one light. He doesn't stop you and it's unfortunate, but if you speeding, you are stopped. These are serious issues which ought to be done because the traffic department is not looking at roadworthy vehicles.
We appreciate the huge increase in the budget, however, we are concerned about the vacancies which continue to exist within the department and the under spent amount from the previous budget.
The Road Accident Fund is another cause for serious concern. Motorists pay so much for petrol, which includes a levy for the fund. We realise that collecting the levy this way, makes the collection easy. But what is disturbing is that some unscrupulous lawyers and doctors are making a fortune from this fund. In many cases, even when the fund pays the claims, the bulk of the money ends in the hands of the lawyers.
I was at the outpatients section in hospital one morning and witnessed two young men scouting for clients. I asked them what information they were seeking and what were they going to do with this information? They said they were trying to help the affected people, and they were going to inform the lawyers. And obviously, these people were pushed there by these unscrupulous lawyers, for in order to get the poor people to go in there and they handed over their ID books and then these were photocopied. And that's why we have so many fraudulent claims and I think we ought to do something about this. This is an example of the extend some people will go to in order to rip-off our fellow citizens.
The Taxi Recapitalisation Programme is an issue which has taken rather a long time to complete. However, the Minister assures us that it is on track. The reason for the establishment of the taxi industry must not be forgotten, because not so long ago we had serious problems travelling from one part of our country to the other. It took days to move around and with the introduction of the taxi people, they solved this problem and we must look at this here. And I think it's an industry which needs support. Yes, they have behaved badly at times but we must recognise that they were an essential evil.
The taxis reduce the travelling time and inconvenience. There have been problems with the routes and serious clashes due to competing for passengers. Hopefully, all of this will be rectified and the management of this industry will be attended to. Vehicles must, at all times be, in roadworthy condition and permits must be up to date. It was good to notice all the vehicles today, the compliant vehicle standing in the passage over here; it showed us that there is something happening and let's hope that this carries on. I hope those are not only the vehicles are good in compliance.
We hope that the Minister will try to reduce the number of extra heavy vehicles which are destroying our national roads, by encouraging the use of rail system - and he has mention that today. The high cost of toll roads is mainly due to lack of maintenance of our roads. The lack of maintenance of our roads is caused because these heavy vehicles, especially those that come from outside the borders, are overloaded and they are destroying the roads. These national roads were not made to take such heavy loads.
And that's why we, really, as IFP recommend we should look at these rails and see whether we can go back to them, because it will make a huge saving on the expenses. We pay a lot of money for tolls and this in actual fact should be reduced because when the toll road was made the levy was on a special recommendation. And the more you pay that liability should be lowering and we should be paying less, but the situation, as we all know, is that we are going through difficult times and the expenses, interest rates are going up.
We still need to look at the toll system, it is quite expensive to travel from Durban to Cape Town with all the toll gates along this road and we don't get 100% satisfaction simply because there is always something being done to the roads.
Owing to the rising fuel price, the cost of transport has a direct effect on our cost of living. Food prices are extremely high and with the unemployment rate so high, we are heading for a disaster. [Time expired.]
Ms N P KHUNOU
END OF TAKE
Mr E J LUCAS
Mme N P KHUNOU: Modulasetulo, Tona ya Lefapha la Dipalangwa, Ditona tse di leng fano le batlatsi ba tsona, Balekgotla-Khuduthamaga ba diporofense – le wena rra ke rata go go amogela - Maloko a Palamente a a tlotlegang, molaodi-kakaretso wa lefapha le ba ba dirang le ena, botlhe ba ba tswang kwa dikemeding [agencies], Maaforika Borwa a gobala le go tlhokofala mo mebileng ya rona. Go tletse dikhutsana le malapa a a sa felelang ka ntlha ya seno. Ke rata go gwetlha mokgweetsi mongwe le mongwe gore pele o tsena mo tseleng akanya ka batho ba bangwe. Fa o batla go ipolaya ipolae o le nosi, o seke wa batla bafelegetsi. A re tlhokomelaneng mo mebileng. A re obameleng melao ya tsela, re seke ra kgweetsa re nole tagi kgotsa re jele diritibatsi. Re tlhoka go bona bana ba rona ba gola re ntse re le teng.
Mopresidente wa ANC, rre Jacob Zuma, o reile maloko a ANC kwa Foreisetata a re re se dire diphoso gonne motho yo mongwe a re senyeditse. O ne a dira motlhala ka dikoloi. A re fa o tshwanetse go feta mo robotong e le tala koloi e nngwe e bo e tlhaga ka lobelo, a o tla feta gonne e le wena o nang le tshiamelo ya go feta kgotsa o tla tlogela koloi eo go feta? Ke eng se se botoka, a ke go tlhokofala kgotsa go golofala kgotsa go tlogela koloi eo go feta? E ke potso e re tshwanetseng go ipotsa yona pele re kgabaganya mebila. Lebelelang ba bangwe.
Accidents are not only caused by the recklessness of drivers but by other factors as well. The fatal statistics have a traumatic emotional impact on the society and also represent a drain on the economy. Our government has shown commitment by devising means to put an end what I have earlier talked about. The Department of Transport has got agencies and today I want to talk about three agencies, which are the Road Traffic Management Corporation, the Road Accident Fund and the SA National Road Agency.
The Road Accident Fund which was initially called "the third party system" was mainly a fund for motorists or road users to claim from for injuries. It was funded through the fuel levy. The fuel levy is recognised as taxation imposed upon the road-using public to fund the Road Accident Benefit Scheme as one of the systems of social security and not as an insurance premium. Throughout the years the fund has had backlogs and lots of lawyers and third parties to deal with. The RAF is trying to phase out all these third parties and concentrate on dealing with the public.
I want to say to the CEO that the efforts that he is trying to make are considered by this committee, and the public should know that the forms have been simplified and they can get them in many public places.
The fund has serious problems. It is technically insolvent. It doesn't have sufficient cash or near cash assets to cover its short-term liabilities. More and more people are claiming, and amongst them is a Swiss foreigner with a claim of R22 million. As 2010 approaches, more and more visitors from outside are coming in and if some of the things are not tidied up, we are going to have problems.
The Road Accident Fund Amendment Act was passed in 2005 and to date we do not have regulations. It took the Department of Transport and the Health department three years to define what serious injuries are. This is a real concern to the committee, and until we have these regulations some of the problems in the Road Accident Fund won't be solved.
In trying to solve some of the problems, our committee met with Treasury and the commission that overlooks or monitors RAF. Treasury admitted that the levy they are giving to RAF is not enough and they are going to increase it. I want to agree with the chairperson when he said that it is not about money only but we also need the regulations to be in place.
The participation of all road users, infrastructures that are maintained and law compliance and enforcement is what Road Traffic Management Corporation is committed to. With the new enthusiastic CEO, Mr Rakgwale - I want to congratulate you on your appointment – these will be achieved; not only by you, but also by the team you work with.
This agency had lots of problems before. It was established in 1999, but now we are really pleased as the committee because there is progress. We can see where this agency is going to. Initially it had 10 functions, but concentrated on the following: Training of traffic personnel, road traffic information, accident investigation and recording, road traffic communication and education, infrastructure safety audits and traffic engineering.
The RTMC has got colleges where we are training traffic officers. Presently we don't have the accident data and they are going to make sure that they capture all accidents that happen on the roads, when they happened and how they happened, and as from now onwards the will be accurate.
One of the problems that cause these accidents is the road infrastructure that is not maintained and well-cared for. They are going to inspect all the roads in South Africa and make sure that this is done properly. There are functions which still have to be transferred. These are road traffic, law enforcement, vehicle registration and licensing, vehicle and roadworthiness testing, testing and licensing of drivers and the administrative adjudication of road traffic offences, Aarto.
Most accidents are caused by unqualified drivers. They get licences because they bribe officials. They will visit all driving schools and make sure that the wrong things that are done there are corrected. What is impressive is that children from as young as primary school they will be taught road traffic rules and at the end of Grade 12 they will be tested and receive their learners licence.
I want to congratulate the CEO together with the team that, in the five months that he has been there, we, as the committee, can see progress.
The RTMC has objectives but because of time I will only name a few: To enhance the overall quality of road traffic service provisions and in particular to ensure safety, security, discipline and mobility of needs. To show these they participated in mass mobilisation during peak seasons that is the Easter weekend and the festive season. The number of fatalities decreased by 217 from 1 636 to 1 419. Over Easter, from 20-24 March 2008, the number of fatal crashes was reduced by 68 to 182 in comparison to the 250 previous year.
We don't want to see law enforcers only during Easter and the festive season because people know that during those times the police will be all over. But what happens between now and Easter and between now and the festive season? We need to see more of the traffic officers. The CEO promised the committee that that will happen.
A word of advice is to see more of this and we need to see improvement. Even though the number of fatalities has decreased we need to see more of that happening. I want to tell the Members of Parliament that are always speeding on the roads, that Aarto is going to be implemented very soon. If you don't want to obey the rules then pay the traffic fines; if you don't, you will end up losing your licence and some of your movable assets. So please, abide by the rules. Let us be exemplary to the public out there. I cannot leave this; I know that Sanral has got programmes that the Minister has talked about, but what about rural development? ... [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Ms N C NKABINDE
END OF TAKE
Ms N P KHUNOU
Ms N C NKABINDE: Chairperson, hon Minister and hon members, the Budget before us totals R20 billion. We are pleased that a significant proportion of this is aimed at improving infrastructure and public transport. Of concern though is that such a huge budget allocation doesn't necessarily translate into delivery. On a number of problematic areas the department has not made adequate progress.
The taxi recapitalisation programme initiative has fallen far behind the initial deadline. Rail freight is in a dull state whilst we continue to see the reliance on road freight expanding every year.
The road infrastructure maintenance backlog is massive, as is the rail infrastructure backlog. These are the arteries of our economy and where they become jammed it filters through to every product and service on the market. The further that the country falls behind in rectifying the freight imbalance between road and rail, the bigger would be the price that our economy has to pay.
On a related topic: The capacity of our ports remain of great concern. Our ability to adequately and speedily process containers and certain bulk commodities such as oil is placing unnecessary inflationary strain on the economy. The health of the Road Accident Fund remains in doubt and once more we are forced to question the viability of the current system. Road casualties and collisions remain at unacceptably high levels and we are uncertain that current policies are capable of making a significant impact on the current rates. South Africans are dying in numbers every month on our roads. This is simply wrong.
The chaos that ensued last year with the credit card driving licence is still fresh in our memories and there are still long queues at some venues. Whilst we are thankful for the improvement in waiting time, the situation is still not ideal.
The 2010 Fifa World Cup is rapidly approaching and we hope that the department has all the systems in place to ensure that the masses of visitors and locals who will be spectators at this huge sporting event will have adequate access to safe and reliable transport. The UDM supports this Budget Vote. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr M I MOSS
END OF TAKE
Ms N C NKABINDE
Mr M I MOSS: Chairperson, hon Minister, and colleagues, it gives me great pleasure to participate in today's Budget Vote debate on Transport.
When Minister Jeff Radebe and the department says transport is the heartbeat of our economy, economic growth, and social development we want the people of our country to know that it is indeed the truth. Without transport infrastructure and a proper transport system, very little development can take place.
Sedert 1994 het die ANC-beheerde regering baie gedoen om die ekonomie van die land tot voordeel van die meerderheid, naamlik die armes, te transformeer. Desondanks bly armoede, werkloosheid, en ongelykheid van die grootste uitdaging vir ons land. Vervoer speel 'n sentrale en kritieke rol om Suid-Afrika se ekonomiese groei en vooruitsigte binne die land, op die kontinent, en in die wêreld uit te brei.
Dit is juis hoekom die jaarlikse begroting vir vervoer die afgelope vier jaar vanaf R4 biljoen tot R20 biljoen gegroei het. Die Departement van Vervoer is tans besig om projekte aan te pak wat 'n paar jaar gelede net 'n droom was. Hier dink 'n mens onmiddellik aan die Gautreinprojek, die vervoerverbeteringe van die gasheer vir die Wêreldbekersokkertoernooi in 2010 en die huurmotor-herkapitaliseringsprogram - om maar net 'n paar te noem.
A good administration with skilled personnel will have to be in place if any programmes of the magnitude mentioned above can be achieved successfully and on time. This is where the portfolio committee has raised its concerns in the past. The huge staff vacancies, shortage of skilled personnel, and the composition of the staff have improved and we are happy about that.
The number of disabled staff has by far exceeded the government employment target of 2% of disabled persons to be employed by the public sector. I think other departments can learn from the Department of Transport in this regard. [Applause.] However, the shortage of highly skilled personnel among the senior staff remains a concern to the portfolio committee.
The South African Maritime Safety Authority, one of the many agencies in the Department of Transport, gave an honest report to the portfolio committee when they reported to us in Parliament last week. SAMSA is tasked to ensure the safety of life and property at sea. SAMSA also prevents and combats pollution of the maritime environment by ship and promotes South Africa as a maritime nation.
In my kiesafdeling, Saldanhabaai, en in ander vissersdorpe aan die Weskus, word baie goeie werk deur Samsa verrig om die lewens van vissermanne op see te red. Die amptenare van Samsa nooi belangrike persone in die gemeenskap na werkswinkels, waar die vissermanne oor die gevare van alkoholverbruik ter see ingelig word. Die opleiding van vissermanne sluit ook HIV/Vigs- en lewensvaardighede in.
However, a very big concern to the portfolio committee was when the new SAMSA chief executive officer, Mr Tsietsi Mokhele, pointed out that they are doing their business without a policy. As the Chairperson said earlier, they depend on a memorandum of understanding and on the Act. The good news, however, is that a maritime policy will be tabled soon. South Africa has an extensive coastline of 2 800km to protect.
The chief executive officer, Tsietsi Mokhele, stressed that the lack of maritime awareness is a big problem facing our country and that there is a need to attract young students to study in the maritime field at the University of Cape Town and other tertiary institutions. Our country has a serious shortage of maritime lawyers and, in general, a low skills capacity in the maritime discipline.
I shall not do justice to this debate without touching on the issue of public transport that is not friendly to the many people with disabilities and the vulnerable ones. The total amounts to about 4 million people who make use of wheelchairs; crutches; who are blind; temporarily disabled and sick due to injuries; mothers with prams; and the elderly. South Africa needs an accessible, affordable, safe, reliable, efficient, and integrated public transport system. All modes of public transport like trains, buses, taxis, and air travel must be disabled friendly.
The public transport system, which is in a poor state, is undergoing a transition and the fruits of this labour will be visible in the next 18 months, as the President and Chairperson have alluded to earlier. The department is working hard and has good and promising plans in place to ensure quality public transport networks that will meet the needs of both rural and urban passengers.
Thousands of disabled persons, who are the poorest people in our societies, simply stay at home as they do not have any means of mobility. The Dial-a-Ride system in Cape Town, where disabled persons phone and make an appointment to be picked up, is not a solution as it is totally unreliable. I am a member of Disable People of South Africa – DPSA and the two priority campaigns we have are transport and education. The disabled community feels that it is unfair and contrary to the Constitution of the country that public transport is nonexistent to persons with disabilities. Whilst the department is engaged in consulting with the various disability organisations, we believe this engagement should be an active and permanent one to ensure a solution to the problem.
In the Western Cape the DPSA is, on a regular basis, engaging the Western Cape MEC for transport, Marius Fransman, to ensure that together we will fight and ensure that transport for disabled persons will become a reality.
Chairperson, when it comes to air travel, transport is also a problem. I can speak from experience when I recently had to travel. When I got to O R Tambo International it took me one and a half hours from the time the aeroplane landed until I entered the terminal building. When I came back I was stuck in the public relations office as the truck used to transport disabled persons was old and rusted. Since the new company took over, disabled persons have complained to us that it is unacceptable that this company could win a tender without being operational when it had to start its business.
We keep putting pressure on the department to ensure that disabled persons are being accommodated. I can, with pride and confidence, say that when it comes to rail, things are really starting to happen and we hope that by 2010 there will be a huge focus on rail and bus transport and we commend the department and the MECs for doing something about it. I thank you.
Mr B C NGIBA
END OF TAKE
Mr M I MOSS
Mr B C NGIBA: Chairperson, the Nadeco supports this Budget Vote. However, we feel that there are few worrying factors that I shall elaborate upon. One of the objectives of the Department of Transport is the restructuring of public transport, to better target poorer commuters and to have access to all modes of transport and aligning subsidised transport services to support municipal integrated transport plans.
Government is committed by its National Land Transport Transition Act to ensure that South African commuters have access to a reliable world class public transport system. However, it is a worrying factor that some municipal managers, especially in the rural areas, have no understanding of the National Land Transport Transaction Act or the National Land Transportation Amendment Bill.
In order for the government to meet its objectives of providing South Africans with a reliable and world class transport system, government is going to require huge investments and a sustained
long-term commitment. The research has shown that, currently, 50% of all commuting is done in private cars, with 50% using public transport but the trend is that it is still towards private cars.
The research has shown that 85% of public transport is road-based, whereby 70% is by means of minibus taxis, 15% buses and the balance is using the Metrorail commuter service.
Thus one of the challenges in improving the transport system in South Africa is how to balance the priorities of public transport users and private transport road users. As we all know, this financial year's 95% of the department's budget goes towards public transport, R12 billion to integrated planning and other interference co-ordination programmes. It is important that the profile of public transport has to be raised respectively.
It is important that the profile of public transport must make commuter movement more user-friendly and an improved public transport system will enhance mobility for both urban and rural poor . . . [Time Expired.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr V G SMITH): Hon member, time has expired! We are attempting to get the noise addressed with the serjeant-at-arms. I am sorry if you could just bear with us for some few minutes but we are dealing with the matter.
Ms M D NXUMALO
END OF TAKE
Mr B C NGIBA
Nk M D NXUMALO: Sihlalo, Ngqongqoshe woMnyango Wezokuthutha, malungu ahloniphekile ePhalamende, sihlalo wekomidi lePhalamende, oNgqongqoshe abakhona, ihhovisi loMqondisi-Jikelele, izivakashi zethu, izinhlangano zamatekisi noNgqongqoshe bezifundazwe, ngibone uNdosi onguNgqongqoshe obukhali kakhulu lapha. Le nkulumompikiswano ngesabiwomali esingunombolo 33 yenzeka ngesikhathi lapho sibuyekeza umsebenzi osuwenziwe uMnyango kusukela ezinhlelweni ezazihlongozwe ekuqaleni konyaka ka-2000.
Ngqongqoshe, sizokhumbula ukuthi uMnyango uhlele ukufeza izinhlelo eziyishumi okumele zenziwe zibe ungqa phambili ukuze zisimamise umnotho nozinzo ngo-2010 nangale kwawo. Uma nje ngingase ngikhumbuze amalungu ahloniphekile ngalezi zinhlelo, zime kanje:
… addressing the 2010 transport demand, public transporting infrastructure, reliable good quality system, infrastructure system and operation from 2010 and beyond, integrated road and airport links, improving safety and security in all modes of transport, reviving branch lines impact on economic growth and the assessment of key freight corridors; and the assessment of key freight couriers.
Kepha ngifuna ukugxila ohlelweni lokuhlelwa kabusha kwemboni yamatekisi okubizwa phecelezi nge-Taxi Recapitalisation Programme. Uhlelo lokwakhiwa kabusha kwemboni yamatekisi kuyisinyathelo esithathwe uhulumeni emizamweni yokwakha ukuphepha, ubuqotho, ukwethembeka nokufinyeleleka kwamatekisi. Yilapho phela okuvela khona umbono wamatekisi amasha esiwubiza nge-new taxi vehicles, NTV, okuyizimoto ezakhelwe ukwenza umsebenzi wokuthuthwa komphakathi kule mboni yamatekisi.
Uhlelo lokuqedwa kwamatekisi alwenzelwe ukuqeda amatekisi amadala, kepha luqonde ukubheka ukuthi abanikazi bamatekisi bangasizwa kanjani ukuze bahlomule futhi basinyanyiswe. Lolu hlelo lokuhlela kabusha imboni yamatekisi luzama ukwenabisa izinkontileka zokuxhasa ngezimali nokubheka izindlela ezingahlomulisa le mboni kulolu hlelo lokuxhasa ngezimali. Uhulumeni oholwa uKhongolose wabona ukuthi kufanele uhulumeni asize ekusingathweni kwezindaba zemboni yamatekisi.
Lesi senzo senze ukuthi kunciphe izinga lodlame nokulahleka kwemiphefumulo eminingi yabantu abangenacala. Inhloso yokuqala kahulumeni ebambisene nabezinhlangano zamatekisi kwabe kuwukuthi akwakhiwe ubumbano, ukuhloniphana, ukulandelwa kwemithetho, nokuthanda komunye nomunye ukuze kwakhe isimo sokuziqhenya kubasebenzi bale mboni ngokunjalo nomphakathi. Kwavunyelwana ngokuthi kumele kube khona inqubo nentando yeningi kule mboni mayelana nokukhethwa kobuholi kusuka emazingeni aphansi kuya phezulu.
Ngesikhathi kuvela lo mbono wenqubo yentando yeningi embonini yamatekisi, kwahlongozwa izinjomgo ezithize okumele lolu hlelo luzifeze. Ngiyakhumbula nje eyokuqala kwathiwa kufanele kube khona umoya omuhle wenqubo yentando yeningi embonini yamatekisi okumele ibe semthethweni. Elandelayo, kwaba ukuthi kufanele kube nesimo esihle sokuqaliswa kohlelo lokwenziwa kabusha kwemboni yamatekisi kanye nokwakhiwa kwezinhlaka ezimele imboni yamatekisi kusuka ezingeni lenhlangano yesigceme kuya esifundeni kuze kuyofika esifundazweni jikelele ngokunjalo nakuzwelonke.
Ukuphumela kohlelo lwenqubo yentando yeningi eGauteng olubizwa nge-Gauteng Democratisation Process kube uphawu oluhle kakhulu. Iqhaza elibanjwe uhulumeni ekuhlweni kabusha kwemboni yamatekisi, nakuba abaningi bebelugxeka ngezindlela eziningi, lube yinto ebaluleke kakhulu esigabeni sokuqala ukuze lo msebenzi ube yimpumelelo kakhulu. Enkulumweni kaNgqongqoshe ngesikhathi evula ingqungquthela ebizwa ngokuthi i-Gauteng Provincial Taxi Conference mhla zi-20 kuNtulikazi 2000, wabeka wathi, ngiyacaphuna:
Seniluqalile lolu hlelo esifundazweni senu ukuqiniseka ukumeleleka kuzo zonke izinhlelo zamatekisi. Lolu hlelo lweyinqubo yentando yeningi lwenze kwaba khona isidingo sokubamba ukhetho ngenxa yalesi simo. Uhlelo lwenu lwaqala emazingeni aphansi lapho nenza khona ukhetho lwenhlangano yesigceme lapho nizakhele khona amakomidi axhumanisa izinhlaka zamatekisi, ngokunjalo nemikhandlu esemadolobheni amakhulu okwaba yiqhaza elabanjwa yibo bonke abanikazi bamatekisi. Imizamo yenu ayiphelelanga obala. Bekunzima kodwa nikwazile ukuphumelela.
UNgqongqoshe waso lama zwi ehlonipha umsebenzi owenziwe imboni yamatekisi ekwakhiweni kwezinhlaka zenqubo yentando yeningi. Bhungane, ngiyafisa sibabonge bonke ababambi beqhaza abebeyingxenye yalolu hlelo. Ngiyakholwa ukuthi bakhona lapha eNdlini. Siyawuhlonipha umsebenzi esiwubone wenziwa i-Mincom ngesikhathi ihlangene emhlanganweni wesu wokufundisana owawubanjwe ngomhla zi-31 Julayi nomhla zi-1 Agasti 2000, lapho bahlongoza khona ukuthi akuphothulwe ngokushesha uhlelo lwenqubo yentando yeningi futhi bavumelane ngokuthi umnqamulajuqu wokuphothula lolu hlelo akube inyanga kaNovemba 2000. Leli gunya laphinde lagcizelelwa emhlanganweni ophuthumayo we-Mini esco owawubanjwe mhla zi-22 Agasti 2000.
Omunye umsebenzi esiwubone njengempumelelo obukhombisa ukuphumela koMnyango kwaba ukwethulwa kwezimoto ezintsha ezingamatekisi okwenzeka eBotshabelo, eFreyisitata, mhla zi-28 Okthoba 2006. Kwaba uhlelo lokuhlobiza lezi zimoto ngemibala nemidwebo eyifulegi lesizwe kanye nezimpawu zokuphepha. Kuzenselelo-ke, Ngqongqoshe, esibhekene nazo singuhulumeni, sizinhlangano zamatekisi nabashayeli bamatekisi. Inselelo yokuqala ukunganeliseki kwezinhlangano mhlawumbe ngemali enga-R50 000 yokuqeda izimoto zabo ezindala; ukubhaliswa kwabashayeli bamatekisi eMnyangweni Wezemisebenzi okumele kuqalwe ukuze nabo bahlomule esikhwameni somshwalense wabangasebenzi esibizwa nge-UIF nasekhwameni sempesheni; kanye nokufundiswa kwabashayeli bamatekisi ukuziphatha kanjalo nokukwazi ukuphatha kahle abagibeli.
Inselelo enkulu leyo ngoba isithunzi sabashayeli bamatekisi sithintekile kakhulu ngezinto ezenzekile. Kulezi zinyanga eziphelile kwaba khona ukuhlukumezeka kwentombazane eyayigibele ku-Noord Street okwabonakala sengathi ayigqokile ngendlela efanele yokuthi ingagibela itekisi. Yakhunyulwa intombazane, yashaywa yase ithelwa ngotshwala. Lokho kwenza ukuthi kwehle isithunzi samatekisi futhi kwenze ukuthi abantu bazibone bengaphephile ekugibeleni amatekisi.
Amatekisi ayinto enkulu emphakathini wethu ngoba athutha abasebenzi basezibhedlela, othisha, izingane zesikole, abasebenzi abaya emsebenzini mihla namalanga. Kunezinye isigameko esenzekile kulama sonto mhlawumbe amathathu edlulile. Kuya kwaba khona intombazane egibela itekisi ibheke e-Midrand igibele e-Noord Street. Leyo ntombazane ayizange ifike ekhaya. Yatholakla idlwenguliwe yase ilahlwa endle. Lokho kubonisa ukungaphephi kahle kwabantu besifazane ngoba kuthe uma kulandela lelo cala, kwatholakala ukuthi umshayeli waleyo tekisi wayinukubeza intombazane wagcina eyibulalile. Lokho kusho ukuthi abaphephile abantu besifazane ematekisini. Ngikhuluma lokhu njengomuntu ogibela amatekisi ngaso sonke isikhathi. Yingakho ngikhuluma ngokuthi masiphephe futhi wazi ukuthi uma ugibele itekisi uzofika ekhaya. Inselelo esibhekene nayo leyo mhlawumbe siwungoMnyango nohulumeni, Ngqongqoshe.
Ukufundiswa kwabashayeli bamatekisi ukuziphatha kanjalo nokukwazi ukuphatha abagibeli kubalulekile. Ngingajabula uma izinhlangano zikhona. Abashayeli bamatekisi abaphathi kahle abagibeli. Ngelinye ilanga uhlangana nomshayeli wetekisi onesimilo uze uzibuze ukuthi kungani bengafani bonke naye. Siwuhulumeni kaKhomgolose siyaseseka lesibaiwomali. Ngiyabonga. [Ihlombe.]
Mr M T LIKOTSI
END OF TAKE
Mr M D NXUMALO
Mr M T LIKOTSI: Chairperson, the Department of Transport has set itself seven strategic objectives dealing with different problems to fulfil its mandate. Due to time constraints, the APC has preferred to base this Budget Vote debate on programme 6 – Public Transport. This is not because public transport is more important than all other programmes, but because it directly affects the most vulnerable members of our society who are classified as poor people. There has been a noticeable disparity in public transport from the heydays of the colonial and minority apartheid white regime in our country. The status quo is the same today; 14 years down the new democratic dispensation.
The bus public transport which is white dominated receives preference compared to the taxi industry, which is mostly owned by black Africans. The question that comes to mind is: How long will this biasness continues? Why is the taxi industry, which is owned by our African people remains at the receiving end? Hon Minister, your Budget Vote and our own Budget Vote in this MTEF still has a crystal clear disparity on the buses and taxis. The programme as it stands reads as follows: "Public Transport Management oversees the payment of bus subsidies; facilitates the transformation of the subsidised bus industry and system, rail commuters are subsidised as well".
When it refers to taxis, it talks of taxi recapitalisation. The question is: Why not talk of a Transport department recapitalisation as a whole? If, as it is always stated, was due to the conditions of the taxis, I have boarded and seen worst trains, worst buses, worst aeroplanes in this country. The taxis should not be treated differently. They must be subsidised and not be brought out of business through the recapitalisation project. The R50 000 may not be regarded as a commuter subsidy as it is paid once off; whiles the buses and trains are subsidised millions of rands annually. That is what we know.
If we are serious about the welfare of our own people and the small businesses, let us not destroy the taxi industry through the taxi recapitalisation programme. The APC fully supports the taxi associations that are cautious of the recapitalisation ploy, it does not hold water. The issue of a fixed buy-out fee of R50 000 stands and does not consider inflation, price hikes and so on. The routes and the operating permits or licences matters are unclear and not fully understood even by the department. We support the Budget Vote. [Time expired].
Ms B THOMSON
END OF TAKE
Mr M T LIKOTSI
NKK B THOMSON: Ngiyabonga Sihalo, Ngqongqoshe Jeff Radebe, kubaba u Likotsi, ngiyazi ukuthi awusebenzanga kahle okhethweni mhlawumbe yingakho ungakwazi ukuza emihlanganweni yethu. Uboke uze khona uzoxoxa le ndaba yo hold water bakho lapha emhlanganweni.
*** Language spoken has changed to English ***
Transport is a way of life and it plays an important role in the country's economy. In some of the countries that I have visited, I can safely say that South Africa can pride itself over safe and reliable transport service. As we all know that one of the major priorities of any transport system is safety, and again, as you all know that one of our airlines, Nationwide has discontinued its service. There has been a lot of controversy around this airline and notably the issue of safety as one of its carriers dropped off an engine after taking off from the Cape Town International Airport. I shall not bother to indulge into the technicalities of this incident, nor shall I point a finger at anyone. That is the work of the aviation experts. The point I am merely making here is that safety is of paramount importance; despite all these, South Africa can pride itself in terms of maintaining a safe transport service. Added to safety is convenience, comfort and reliability, having said this; we must consider cost efficiency in the face of ever spiralling inflation and notably the ever increasing fuel costs, this has aspiring effect and that is to wholesome and increase the cost of our daily leaving.
Kusobala ukuthi impela sekuyosinda laba abadla izambane likapondo, abafokazana abadla imbuya ngothi bona sekuyombulwa kwembeswa kubona, okungeyona ke into egculisayo ngoba iningi labo abantu kakade abadonsa kanzima
*** Language spoken has changed to English ***
Oil is the lifeblood of most economies in this day and age. How then do we disentangle ourselves here?
Kungabe sizitatulula kanjani kulolu talatiya esizithola sikulo?
*** Language spoken has changed to English ***
We have an erratic rail transport service in South Africa. We are aware of the energy crises facing our country. Rail transport to a large extent depends on electricity, as mentioned earlier our main transport is erratic. Let it come as no surprise that we are using an obsolete rail transport system.
Ngizokhetha ukungageqi amagula ngesimo sohlelo lwezitimela zethu. Ngiyacabanga ukuthi iphuzu lami liyile ekhaya futhi lizoyithola indawo. Ngiphinde futhi ngivume ngikwamukela ukuthi lena inyakanyaka esazithola sikuyo ngesikhathi sithatha izintambo zombuso eyenziwa yibo laba asebevulela kakhulu ngaphansi kwekhala, khona kunjalo sibekelwe khona phela ukulungisa amaphutha esiwaficile.
*** Language spoken has changed to English ***
It is my submission that we indulge in the knowledge that experts tell us about the life span of the rail carriages. To my simple mind most of our carriages have exceeded their life span.
Thina singuhulumeni sifuna uhlelo oluhamba luphephile, oluthembekile, olusheshayo, olunethezekile futhi, yikhona abantu bethu bezokwazi ukuphimisela bathi namuhla kungcono kunayizolo. Siyabezwa bencoma benconcoza ngokulungiswa kwe Khayelitsha Express, impela makube njalo.
*** Language spoken has changed to English ***
Ours is a growing economy, perhaps to surpass the 60% growth rate as anticipated under Asgisa South Africa. How then do we achieve this growth rate with an unreliable rail transport service? Chairperson, I request that we consider validating the age of our rail carriages. We have to replace it in line with modern times, let alone our ambition to be a growing economy. The year 2010 is also engulfing us and we cannot afford the inconvenience and unreliability of our rail transport services. Let us invest in a reliable rail transport service. As the price of fuel seems to be on an endless rise, perhaps more focus will have to be on rail transport.
I am mindful of the great contribution of the road transport to the economy, the energy crisis we are facing and the huge cost that could be involved here, but a balance must be struck somehow. I am hopeful that post-2010 will bring measured economic developments in terms of foreign trade. One of the modes capable of moving bulk cargo nearer to our harbours is rail.
As this government we have done wonders and we have invested about 3 billion in the Gautrain Project, which is much appreciated and complemented …
Angiboni ke ukuthi naleli phupho lethu lingeke lafezeka uma sizama.
Chairperson, congestion during peak hours is becoming a serious problem in South Africa, even in the smaller cities like Petermaritzburg where I come from. An efficient passenger rail transport system will go a long way in relieving peak hour congestion on our roads. This will not only prevent terrible accidents, but it will also enhance the efficiency of the economy.
In conclusion, Chairperson, it may not be soon, but when the budget permits, then it will be our great desire to see the locomotives and wagons replaced with new models of better design and reliability. In this way the economy will be greatly enhanced and at the same time we can pride ourselves on a convenient and safer rail transport system. I support the Budget Vote 36. I thank you.
Mr L M GREEN
END OF TAKE
Ms B THOMSON
Mr L M GREEN: Chairperson, hon Minister and members, thanks to the 2010 infrastructure development for it has created a positive buzz around the country. A recent inspection by the 2010 local organising committee confirmed that our transport plans are on schedule for the World Cup. With an expected 400 000 tourists to visit our country during that time, there are still a number of challenges that need to be overcome. There are still too high a number of deaths on our roads. Besides the studies that show the link between drinking and driving, which includes speeding, we are not aware of the extent of the effect that those in possession of fake driver's licences have on road safety and security.
An investigation by the special investigating unit as reported in the media last year, has established that more than 42 000 persons were issued with fake drivers licences. Now with reference to the RAF, we are aware of foreigners who have put in astronomical claims against the Road Accident Fund that runs into millions if not billions, but the fund has expressed fears that it does not have the financial capacity and may be forced to refuse payment to accident victims, which has the backlog spanning five years and more.
The Finance Minister has raised the fuel levy by five cents and on the other hand, delays to introduce the Road Accident Fund Amendment Act, has led to the financial world warning us that its deficit will continue to increase to R50 billion by 2009.
We understand the difficulties the fund is going through and that intervention is required to turn around its administrative and financial capacity, yet the fund has to embark on an image drive to restore its trust among the people.
Hon Chairperson, Minister, let me just also bring to your attention that many poorest of the poor have been disgracefully exploited by unscrupulous lawyers who have claimed on their behalf. At my own constituency office I have reports of 10 to 15 people that have come to report about these unscrupulous acts. Lawyers charge up to R650 per consultation of a few minutes and we know of the actual legal issues that are being discussed. If you check these bills, you will discover that the huge amount of funds have been spent on consultations that have actually led to anything.
So, Chairperson, the fund needs to make use of the media to educate the public on their rights, as well as to work on a system whereby claimants are able to provide information by which payment can be directly done to them. Now, we are fortunate that after inviting the Road Accident Fund to the constituency office, they were able to spend two days of intensive training with many of the leaders in the community and now in a place like … [Time expired.]
Mr S A MSHUDULU
END OF TAKE
Mr L M GREEN
Mr S A MSHUDULU: Thank you, hon Chairperson, hon Minister Jeff Radebe, hon members and the House at large. This debate happens at a time when South Africa, its friends and Fifa are celebrating the success in preparing South Africa towards hosting the 2010 World Cup. The state of readiness is displayed within four years of the decision to host the World Cup as was confirmed by Sep Blatter.
As we celebrate the 96th anniversary of the ANC under the theme "The year of mass mobilisation to build a caring society", we should reflect on the achievements of the great movement as it has worked together with the masses, first to defeat the apartheid system that led to decades of South Africa being excluded and isolated from the global world of sports and the economy; the movement that thereafter vanquished the legacy of racial oppression and gender inequality.
In the January 8 statement, as we make these recollections we cannot forget the heroic and selfless contributions of countless South Africans who over several decades fought with determination and principles for peace, democracy, human and people's rights. The undying spirit of Oliver Tambo, Chris Hani and Steve Tshwete will remain as examples and inspiration to the successive generations of freedom fighters as they grapple with the challenges of a changing terrain of struggle. We salute them today, Chairperson, these giants of our revolution for what they have contributed to our nation and for the legacy they have left.
I will directly focus on the 2010 Fifa World Cup and transport infrastructure. Some areas after having been covered by the Minister, will only be refered to merely for emphasis. It is important that at all times we reflect on the policy imperatives. The ANC at its 52nd national conference in Polokwane reaffirmed its commitment to the fundamental principles of the national democratic revolution in terms of capacity to intervene in the economy and sustainable development, thus effecting sustainable programs that address the challenges of unemployment and poverty and mobilising the people as a whole, especially the poor, to be their own liberators through participatory and representative democracy.
Chairperson, we cannot only stand here and say whatever we want to say but as the representatives of the majority of the people of this country we are bound by democracy to represent their views and needs. We have to give an account of what Parliament and government is doing, share information as required by the Batho Pele principles, as well as educate and empower them on issues of governance and the Budget being the tool for service delivery.
Within the context of what President Thabo Mbeki calls in his 2008 state of the nation address as "business unusual" my focus is on transport infrastructure and it will be a strategic analysis of the present situation as it was mentioned earlier by the Minister.
Under the infrastructure expansion programme, we have noted that the centrality of the transport infrastructure in both economic and social development cannot be undermined. I think the Minister in his own words used economic metaphors to qualify transport as a heartbeat or as an engine. This acknowledgement is confirmed by Polokwane's conference commitment to the ANC-led government that it continues to roll out the state-led infrastructure investment programme and promote strategic investments, as also confirmed by the Minister. We are on course.
This policy direction happens after the ANC-led government has gone through a ten-year review of its performance. This exercise has shown us that the distortions we see today or that the DA is complaining about were created by them through their development plans; the negative externalities of spatial development that led to communities being separated and being far from their work places as well as being unable to access social facilities like sport and health; it has also shown how the then government failed to invest in road infrastructure as well as rail that had to be maintained continuously.
Chairperson, the cross-cutting challenge I think we are facing, is the maintenance issue which I think, when government's commitment to the 2010 is measured, you will always have to weigh against the modalities that have been put there by the Department of Transport through its project management.
The transport infrastructure challenges then in terms of what the South African Institute of Civil Engineers has found, has reflected that regarding national roads it is important to note that most roads are in a fairly good condition because of the take-over by Sanral. Most of the roads that used to be under the provinces are in poor shape. This additional burden is affecting funding negatively according to them, as refurbishment and replacement costs are high. There is generally inadequate funding and management systems leading to neglect of maintenance. I am sure that it is clear to those who come from municipalities that municipalities did not used to budget for maintenance of infrastructure and I think things are beginning to change.
This additional take-over by Sanral is increasing the maintenance backlog as well as the demand for skilled personnel. The same applies to - as you might have heard from the Minister - in terms of Acsa as a world-class aviation infrastructure provider that is under pressure because of the need to meet the legislated requirements due to South Africa's exposure to the global world. There is a 10% growth that creates delays and inconveniences to users which I am sure all of us are aware of. The same applies to the ports as well as the rail; the rail where demand is challenging capacity in upgrading its programs. Conditions decline where maintenance backlogs are rising and skills are reduced.
SAICE statistics have also confirmed that 2001 provincial and national roads equalled 370 000km, municipal roads equalled 540 000km, freeways had 120 vehicles per 24hr. It is correct to conclude that given this rise in demand - I think the Minister has confirmed that we have 17 000 roads today, it is putting pressure on maintenance demand. Also, the current replacement cost of road infrastructure under the ownership of provincial governments has not been rigorously calculated because all the roads, as were mentioned earlier, should be looked into.
Chairperson, from the strategic analysis which I think should always serve as guidance to other structures that do not have capacity, when you do a sort analysis, it is clear that South Africa's strength is a result of being a global player both politically and economically; its potential to grow and meet Fifa standards and requirements as confirmed by the Minister; the political will by both the ruling party, which is the ANC, and the government as well; economic integration of South Africa into the global economy through tourism as an example; having the requisite leadership of course – because in delivery you need a leader; diplomatic relations with other global players and capacity to deliver.
The opportunity South Africa has is due to South Africa's continental and global geographic location. As we are in the Cape, it is to our advantage that we have access to all modes of transport. The old infrastructure is renewable and growth potential is possible, hence 2010 Soccer World Cup preparations were feasible.
Also though through transport strategy CAPEX projects as was confirmed had been allocated billions and the projects that are under implementation include: Intelligence transport systems - and I think what the Minister was confirming is that this intelligence relates to communication. In project management, if you cannot communicate the phases of progress then you will not be able to manage the critical path. Secondly, there is a new and improved bus and taxi infrastructure; new intermodal interchanges and facilities as confirmed by the Minister; nonmotorised transport infrastructure as we have seen in our visit in Bloemfontein- Mangaung … [Time expired.]
The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT
END OF TAKE
Mr S A MSHUDULU
The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT: Ngiyabonga Sihlalo, ngibonge futhi namalungu ahloniphekile asePhalamende ngalenkulumo mpikiswano yalesi sabiwo mali sanamhlanje.
Ngiqale nje kuSihlalo wekomiti, umhlonishwa u Cronin ekhuluma ngalendaba yalencwadi enohlu lwamagama alabo abaphethe imikhumbi yase Ningizimu Afrika, phecelezi I Ship Register, ukuthi kunomkhankaso okhona eMnyangweni wezokuThutha ukuthi kwenziwe umgomo wasolwandle, I Maritime Policy. Kungasensuku zatshwala nje sizokwazi ukuthi siye kuhulumeni ophethe kwi Khabhinethi ukuthi babone ukuthi lo mgomo uhamba kanjani.
Ezinye zezinto ezizokwazi ukuthi ziphakanyiswe lapho ilokhu esikubiza ngesilungu ngokuthi iTonnage Tax esibonayo ukuthi yiyo ezogqugquzela abaphathi abaningi bemkhumbi emhlabeni ukuze babuye beze lapha e Ningizimu Afrika ngoba siyazi ukuthi miningi imikhumbi yalapha e Ningizimu Afrika kodwa esihamba ngama fulege amanye amazwe.
Kukhona iqembu futhi elikhethiwe ukuze likwazi ukwenza lesi siphakamiso se Tonnage Tax sisebenzisana kakhulu noMnyango wezezimali nalowo obizwa ngokuthi I Revenue Service. Kulento yezinhlelo ezihlangene I Integrated planning, kufanele amalungu ePhalamende azi ukuthi uMnyango wami wezokuTutha olwenzayo esilubiza ngesilungu ngokuthi I Integrated Master Plan 2050 lapho esifuna khona ukuthi sazi ukuthi uma senza izinhlelo sazi ukuthi kukhona isikhathi esikhulu esizokwazi ukuthi sisebenzele phezu kwaso. Uhulumeni wagunyaza uMnyango wami ukuthi kube yiwona ogqugquzela yonke iMinyango kwi ngqalasizinda, integrated transport planning.
Ngamanye amazwi ke ngiyakwazi ukuthi ngitshele iPhalamende ukuthi miningi imikhankaso kahulumeni kulento yezinhlelo. Futhi nase hhovisini likaMongameli kunomkhankaso omkhulu ukuze kube khona uhlelo olulodwa oluzokwenziwa uhulumeni. Njengoba siya nje ku 2009 ngonyaka ozayo ngiyethemba u Jeremy nabanye abaku Khongolose sizobe siluxoxa lolu daba ukuthi lendaba yokuhlela izomiswa kanjani kulo nyaka ozayo ka 2009.
Ukuntshontshwa kwezimpahla zabantu ezikhumulweni zezindiza e Ningizimu Afrika yinto ebuhlungu leyo futhi esiyichithayo singuhulumeni.Sizosebenzisana kakhulu namaphoyisa kanye nabaphathi bakwa Airport Company of South Africa ukuze lo mkhonyovu owenziwayo ezikhumulweni zezindiza uphele. Ngicacisele amalungu ePhalamende ukuthi kunezinkontileka ezintsha ezinikezwe abanye osomabhizinisi njenge BidVest kanye nenye yase Ngilandi, okuyibona ababhekele lento esiyibiza ngokuthi I Baggage Handling kuzo zonke izikhumulo. Kunomkhankaso futhi wezokuphepha esifuna ukuthi izimvume zinikezwe abantu ukuze kwaziwe ukuthi uma kuntshontshiwe sibone ukuthi ngobani abenza izinto ezifana nalezo.
Endabeni ye National Traffic Information System kuyangithokozisa ukuthi nginikeze umbiko ukuthi ihamba kahle I eNatis njengoba sikhuluma. Umkhuhlane eyayinawo ngonyaka ophelile awusekho, uphelile futhi iphile kahle kakhulu.
Umnumzane Furrow uke wakhuluma ngalendaba esibiza ngesilungu ukuthi ama gage, ojantshi, lokhu okukhombisayo ukuthi isitimela sikhulu kangakanani noma sincane kangakanani. Uyazi ke ukuthi I Gautrain siyenze ukuthi ifane nazo zonke izitimela eziyisimanje manje emhlabeni jikelele. Njengoba sizoqala futhi I Moloto Corridor Rail, sifuna ukuthi nayo ihambe ngale gage enkulu ukuze sikwazi ukuthi kube khona isivinini esizoba naso. Yonke imisebenzi esinayo esizobe siyenza eMnyangweni wezokuThutha sifuna ukuthi kube khona le gage eyaziwayo ukuthi isesimweni esikahle.
Kulolu daba lwesikhwama sokunxephezela abalimale ezingozini zemigwaqo, ngifuna ukuthi iPhalamende lazi ukuthi, le mithetho sesiyenzile, izoqala ukuthi isebenze kusukela ngoNtulikazi wokuqala kulo nyaka futhi nokuxoxisana kwethu noMnyango wezempilo akuthathanga iminyaka emithathu, kwakufanele phela ukuthi sixoxisane nabo kwazise ukuthi bekukhona ukungaboni ngaso linye ngendlela yokucwaninga zonke lezi zinto ezenzekayo. Abazaziyo ke lezinto zezempilo, kukhona lokhu okubizwa ngokuthi indlela yokuhlaziya. Beziningi ke kodwa manje sesivumelene ukuthi iyiphi leyo ndlela okuzofanele ukuthi siyisebenzise.
Angiyazi le mbizo uFurrow akhuluma ngayo ukuthi ikhona kusasa kodwa mina ngisebenzisana kahle kakhulu no Meya engusodolobha walapha eKapa u Zille futhi zonke izinto esizenzayo ku 2010, izinhlelo ziyahlangana njengoba sengichazile ukuthi kunesizumbulu semali engu R13.6 billion wezigidi wokwenza ukuthi kube khona umkhankaso we 2010. Idolobha lase Kapa liyayithumela imibiko eMnyangweni wami futhi siyakhuluma nabo ngisho nabezitimela basebenzisana ngokukhulu ukuzwana nabo bonke laba bantu ngoba thina sithi kufanele ukuthi kube khona ukusebenzisana okuhle ngoba umthetho wase Ningizimu Afrika uthi kufanele kube khona ukusebenzisana kahle kuzwelonke, isifundazwe kanye nomasipala.
Kulolu daba ubaba uLucas akhulume ngalo, kunemikhankaso eminingi ekhona ukuze sikwazi ukuthi izimpahla eziningi ezihambayo ziphume emigwaqweni ziphindele kijantshi wesitimela. Zonke ke lezo zinto kuzoba khona nemithetho esiyibiza ngokuthi I Mass Exi Limit ezokwenza babuye laba ababaleka ezitimeleni baya emigwaqweni ngoba siyazi ukuthi umgwaqo uyamoshakala ngenxa yamaloli amakhulu futhi asebulala nemigwaqo yezifundazwe.
Isiteleka salapha e Kapa siphakathi kwabaqashi nalaba abaphethe lamabhasi, ngiyezwa ukuthi kukhona ukuxoxisana ukuze kube khona isisombululo sale nkinga ekhona kodwa iqiniso ukuthi abantu abagibela amabhasi bayanda, yingakho senza lento esiyibiza ngokuthi I Bus Rubber Transit futhi sithenga namabhasi amaningi esizokwazi ukuthi uma sekuphele u 2010, umdlalo kanobhutshuzwayo weFifa, lawo mabhasi siwanikeze omasipala, ikakhulukazi omasipala basemakhaya.
Endabeni ebuzwa umama uNkabinde mayelana nezikhumulo zemikhumbi, ngiyazi ukuthi u Transnet usethengile futhi imishini emikhulu lapha eThekwini ezokwenza ukuthi ukusebenzisana kuwo wonke amabhodwe ase Ningizimu Afrika kube yinto enhle.
Umnumzane uMoss ngezithuthi zasemakhaya kanye nabantu okufanele basizwe, ziningi ke izinto esizenzayo singuhulumeni, uMnyango wezokuThutha ukuze sikwazi ukuthi kube izinto ezizokwenza ukuthi abantu abakhubazekile nabo bakwazi ukuthi bafinyelele kuzo zonke izindawo. Kuyangithusa lokhu okushoyo ukuthi bakuphathe kanjani lapha esikhumulweni sezindiza e OR Tambo. Sizoxoxisana nabantu bakwa ACSA, ikakhulukazi nabakwa South African Airways ukuze lo mkhuba omubi abawenzayo bangaphinde bawenze.
Ngamafushane nje angibonge bonke abakhulumile kuleli voti lezokuthutha, yonke imibono yenu eniyibekile, sizokwazi ukuthi siyibheke ukuze uma kufika unyaka ozayo sikwazi ukuthi kube khona into engcono esiyenzayo ngaphandle kwalo nyaka lo esikuwo.
Ngaphambi kokuthi ngihlale phansi, angithathe leli thuba ukuthi ngibonge bonke esisebenzisana nabo eMnyangweni wezoku Thutha, ngiqale ngoMqondisi Jikelele u Mpumi Mpofu okunguyena uMqondisi Jikelele woMnyango wezokuThutha kanye nabo bonke asebenzisana nabo abangamaphini akhe, abenza umsebenzi wethu ukuthi ube yinto ehamba kahle, kanye nabasebenzi abangaphansi kwami eMnyangweni wami, ngibonge ukungisiza kwabo ukuze kube khona inqubekela pambili eNingizimu Afrika. Ngibonge futhi I Phalamende ikakhulukazi ikomiti eliphethwe u Cronin elenza umsebenzi omuhle ukuze babhekisise kahle ukuthi izinto esizenzayo ziyakwazi ukuthi ziqhubele phambili impilo engcono eNingizimu Afrika. Engisebenza nabo abakhona lapha kuyo yonke iminyango yezokuthutha o Sharman kanye namabhoza akhona iCEO, nginibonge ngokusebenza kwenu, nazi ukuthi isitswebhu sihlale sikhona ukuze yonke into esiyenzayo ibe impumelelo. Ngibonge futhi ozwakwethu, bonke oNgqongqoshe bezifundazwe boMnyango wezokuThutha esesize saba umndeni owodwa. Sihlala sihlangana koma Minmec futhi sibe nembizo yokuxoxa ngezokuthutha ukuze wonke umndeni wezokuthutha ukhulume izwi elilodwa futhi sicule kanye kanye yize noma amazwi ethu ehlukene, kukhona abane baraton, soprano, kodwa ukucula kwethu kuyahambisana. Ngibonge umndeni wami, unkosikazi wami yize noma engekho lapha ongisizayo ukuthi umsebenzi engiwenza kuhulumeni uhambe kahle[ihlombe]. Ngibonge futhi nezingane zami ezintathu ezikhona ikakhulukazi encane enonyaka owodwa engivusa njalo ekuseni ngehora lesihlanu ukuze ngikwazi ukuthi ngihlale ngiphapheme eNingizimu Afrika. Ngibonge nonke.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Will you take a question, Mr Minister?
The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT: Yes.
Prince M G BUTHELEZI: Angizwanga kahle mina Ngqongqoshe uma uthi isitimela lesi I Gautrain sekuyisimanje manje, usho ukuthi akuseyoba yiso yini lesi esihamba sithi po [iHombe.][Laughter.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Thank you, hon Minister. Before I conclude the debate, I also want to make an appeal, particularly to the Minister and I heard that there are officials from the Airports Company of South Africa and the SAA in the House here. It might be a subtle thing which other people don't realise or it doesn't touch them but it touches me all the time.
When you sit in the plane and listen to the messages of safety when they talk about putting your luggage up there and closing the overhead storage. They say you should open it and put your luggage in there and then close it. Then comes another one and he puts his luggage there and does not close the storage and the luggage falls on to the other person.
Whenever you look at the two people you will find that the one who is listening carefully to the messages is white and the one who is simply not listening has got his funny haircut like mine, he is black and he is not even listening to the messages. [Laughter.] It is very subtle! Yes, it might look like a joke but it says a lot to people in Africa and people who come from other countries and they might think; what is the perception here? How did these people look at each other and/or how did they reconcile when they even think like this.
So, I am simply making an appeal to the Minister. [Interjections.] [Laughter.] You see, he further injures the other fellow. So, he is terrible in many ways and he doesn't listen and he injures the other fellows. I am saying this is much subtle and if politicians don't see that – we are in trouble.
The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT: No, we have to look through it ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Please, Minister. This is just my appeal to you.
The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT: But, we extend an invitation to uMntwana kaPhindangene at Gugulethu where we will be having a cocktail to which you are all invited to Gugulethu Sport Centre.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Mr M B Skosana): Thank you, Minister.
The House adjourned at 17:37.
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