Hansard: NCOP: Unrevised Hansard
House: National Council of Provinces
Date of Meeting: 05 Oct 2017
No summary available.
THURSDAY, 05 OCTOBER 2017
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL COUNCIL OF PROVINCES
The Council met at 14:00.
The House Chairperson: International Relations and Members Support took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
Ms N P KONI: Chair, I want to check if the House forms a quorum, that alone excluding the opposition parties. Because it can’t be that we be here working for the ANC members whilst they are absent sleeping. Chairperson, I don’t know if hon Nthebe wants to Chair. He failed to Whip and now he wants to Chair. Am I protected, Chair?
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Hon Koni, you are protected. Are you done?
Ms N P KONI: Yes, I am done.
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Please, take your seat. We will continue with the business of the day because the House does form a quorum. Hon Koni, please, order!
NOTICES OF MOTION
Mr O S TERBLANCHE: Hon Chairperson, I give notice that at the next sitting of this House I will move:
That the Council debates the impact of state capture and corruption on the South African economy and job creation.
Ms E PRINS: Chairperson, I move without notice:
That the Council –
notes the concern... [Interjections.]
HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Hon Prins, on a point of order and my apology! We are still on the notices of motion. Take your
seat, mam, and we will call you when we are on the motions without notice.
Mr F ESSACK: Chairperson, I hereby give notice that at the next sitting of the House I will move:
That the Council debates municipalities’ increasing liability to generate revenue as is exacerbated by the staggering Eskom debts they face nationally resulting in the faltering of the municipalities on contractual agreements with service providers throughout the country.
Mr L V MAGWEBU: Chairperson, I hereby give notice that at the next sitting of the House I will move:
That the Council –
notes that on Monday night, 02 October, a student was raped at Nelson Mandela University in the Eastern Cape inside the computer lab on the university campus;
further notes that this is not the first incident of this nature at this university; and
calls for an investigation into all rape and other sexual crime offences on all university campuses by the Minister of Police and for him to table his findings to the relevant select committee of the NCOP.
Mr L B GAEHLER: Chairperson, I give notice that at the next sitting of the House I will move:
That Council –
notes that the majority of employed and retired South Africans are beneficiaries of the provident fund and pension funds;
also notes that on retirement some of the financial institutions do not inform them that their money is due to them;
further notes that some of them died in abject poverty;
believes that much more could be done to educate our people particularly the pensioners about pension investment and beneficiation as well as the relevant process of claiming before they retire;
calls on the Department of Labour to consider rolling out education programme in this matter so that beneficiaries are fully equipped to benefits and to mitigate possible abuse of their investments; and
resolves that the government must take necessary steps to correct this situation thus restoring the dignity and the respect of our people.
CONTROVERSIAL SALE OF PUBLIC PROPERTY
Ms E PRINS: Chairperson, I move without notice:
That the Council –
notes with utmost concern the controversial sale of five of Cape Town’s 16 hectares prime coastal land between Clifton and Camps Bay;
further notes that the prime land was sold to property developer Tobie Mynhardt who is a close friend of the son of the Mayor of Cape Town, Patricia De Lille and who submitted an unsolicited proposal for the site as far back as December 2013; and
takes this opportunity to call on the people of Cape Town to use this 21 day period to rigorously object to this controversial sale of public property to benefit the family friends of politicians
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms. M C Dikgale): Thank you very much hon Prins. Hon members, you are so many, as long as you know that we are within our 20 minutes. Hon Mlambo ... [Interjections.]
Mr E M MLAMBO: Chair ... [Interjections.]
AN HON MEMBER: Order!
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms. M C Dikgale): Oh! Thank you very much hon Essack. Hon members, can I check if ever the ... [Interjections.] thank you very much hon Julius. Hon members, can I check if ever the hon members agree or object to the motion without notice. ...
[Interjections.] Agreed to ... okay, the hon Mlambo you are the next one
Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
DISGUST OVER CAPE TOWN MAYOR AND EXCO MEMBER’S SPECIAL LEAVE
Mr E M MLAMBO: House Chair, I move without notice:
That the Council –
notes with great disgust that the DA decided to place Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille and a member of her executive JP Smith on special leave from DA activities in Cape Town Metro instead of dealing with the actual problem being the irregular use of public funds by mayor De Lille in her house security upgrades;
also notes that again the DA demonstrates its arrogance and undermines the citizens of Cape Town where this decision shows that the DA is bigger and important than the people;
further notes that instead of putting the culprits on special leave from the council where the crime of corruption had been committed, it decides to treat them with soft gloves;
further notes that the shutting down of the City Of Cape Town Special Investigation Unit and the refusal to accept any evidence pertaining mayor De Lille’s irregular use of public funds is clearly indicative of the DA not willing to walk the walk in uprooting corruption that engulfs the councils that they are in charge of; and
call upon the DA to come clean, investigate the allegations against mayor De Lille and put both of them on special leave to allow the smooth running of the investigation.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms. M C Dikgale): Is there ... [Interjections.] Order hon members! [Interjections.] In light of the
objection the motion can not be proceeded with. The motion without notice will now become a notice of a motion.
BUSINESS LEADERSHIP SOUTH AFRICA TAKES STANCE AGAINST STATE CAPTURE
Mr O S TERBLANCHE: Chairperson, I move without notice:
That the Council –
conveys its appreciation to Business Leadership South Africa, BLSA, for its stance against state capture on Wednesday, 27 September 2017; and
acknowledges that this move will certainly strengthen the wave of resistance against state capture and corruption.
Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
SYMPATHY AND RECOGNITION FOR SINDISO MAGAQA
Ms L MABENA: Hon Chair, I move without notice:
That the Council –
notes with sympathy and recognition for former ANC Youth League Secretary-General, Sindiso Magaqa who died on 4 September, and laid to rest on 26 September 2017;
also notes that he succumbed to injuries resulting from 15 gunshot wounds in a drive-by shooting along with two fellow Umzimkhulu councillors, Jabu Mzizi and Nonsikelelo Mafa, outside a general dealer in the southern KwaZulu-Natal town after attending a council meeting;
further notes that comrade Magaqa proved to be loyal to the movement even after the disbandment of the structure he led in 2012 and different political tests he endured and that earned him being elected as a PR councillor in the Umzimkhulu Municipality;
acknowledges that in him, the nation has been robbed of one of its prospects; and
conveys our sincere gratitude and sympathies to his family and friends on their loss. May his fighting spirit rest in peace.
Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
DA CONDEMNS LAS VEGAS MASS SHOOTING
Mr W F FABER: Hon Chair, I move without notice:
That the Council –
express our deepest sympathy to the families and friends of more than 50 people who were killed in Las Vegas, United State of America, USA, at a music festival;
notes that this has been the deadliest mass shooting in US history;
further notes that more than 525 people were injured or wounded as concert goers ran for their lives; and
condemn these acts of mass murder in the strongest manner.
Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
TRANSNET’S TIMELY INVESTMENT
Mr C J DE BEER: Hon Chair, I move without notice:
That the Council –
notes with utmost appreciation the reports that South Africa’s state-owned freight logistics group Transnet will invest an additional R84 billion over next three years to increase the capacity of ports and railway lines;
further notes that this enormous investment is part of government’s commitment to address the long years of apartheid skewed infrastructure investment and to meet the demands of a growing economy and population;
takes this opportunity to welcome this decisive economic intervention; and
calls for government to ensure that black business suppliers, women and youth play an active role in many of these projects.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): In light of the objection the motion may not be proceeded with. The motion without notice will now become a notice of a motion.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Order hon Koni!
IFP CLAIMS WINS BY-ELECTION
Mnu M KHAWULA: Sihlalo ohloniphekile, ngedlulisa lesi siphakamiso esingenasixwayiso:
Ukuba loMkhandlu –
ukhwahle elikhulu ihlombe ichome uphaphe lwegwalagwala umphakathi wakumasipala waseNdumeni ewadini lesithathu kwisifundazwe sombuso wobukhosi baKwazulu-Natali ngokuzikhethela ngobuyoninco okhethweni lokuchibiyela obelungeSonto eledlule ngoLwesithathu mhla zingamashumi amabili nesikhombisa kuMandulo;
wazi ukuthi kulolukhetho iqembu leNkatha yeNkululeko lizidlele amahlanga ligadulisa iqembu likaKhongolose;
wazi futhi ukuthi okucacile wukuba nalabo ababesasele endlini evutha amalangabi ye-NFP sekuyisikhathi sokuba bahlanze ngedela babuyele ekhaya ngoba, hayi, akusasele lutho;
uphinde wazi ukuthi i-IFP icoshe amaphesenti angu-53, i-ANC angu-43, i-EFF amane [four] abanye bacoshe amaphesenti angakwazi ukubhaleka nokubizeka njengoba eqalisa ngamaqanda [zeros] amaningi kakhulu;
ubongele imeya u-Mbatha kumasipala waseNdumeni neqembu lonke leNkatha yeNkululeko ngomsebenzi omuhle kanye namaqembu wonke abencintisana ngokhetho olube nokuthula. Siyavuma Sihlalo.
Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
50 YEARS SINCE CHE GUEVARA’S DEATH
Ms N P KONI: Chairperson, I move without notice:
That the Council –
note that in five days time, on the 10th October this month, it will be 50 years since one of the greatest revolutionaries in the history of mankind was killed;
also note Ernesto Rafael Guevara, also known as Che, was killed by the fascist government of Bolivia with the help of the Central Intelligence Agency, CIA;
acknowledges the contribution that Che made towards the total liberation of all humanity from oppression and exploitation of capitalism can never be overlooked;
further acknowledges that he was a remarkable man who combined a theoretical understanding of the exploitative nature of capitalism with a very practical approach on how capitalism can be defeated and socialism built;
also acknowledge this he did in Cuba to great success but he did not stop there;
acknowledge that after serving in the Cabinet of Fidel Castro he did not allow the comforts of power to trap him like what we see in South Africa today but went to Bolivia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, and many other countries to advance the socialist revolution;
further acknowledges this he did at great cost to his personal wellbeing as he was not able to see his family and lived under harsh conditions like any other guerrilla;
also acknowledges that he was and continues to be an example of what a revolutionary is; and it is why we honour him today; and
we will continue the struggle by fulfilling our generational mission of economic freedom in our lifetime for Africa ... [Interjections.] in the present world.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms. M C Dikgale): Order hon Koni! Order hon member! Your time has expired. Your motion will now become a notice of a motion and will be printed in full in the next Order Paper. Hon Ncitha ... hon member take your seat. What is your point of order?
Ms N P KONI: House Chairperson, I have a point of order. I noticed that as you are ruling on my motion you are smiling like you are celebrating that it was not captured.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms. M C Dikgale): That is not a point of order.
Ms N P KONI: But the fact is my point is made. Thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms. M C Dikgale): That is not a point of order hon Koni. Actually, you are totally out of order because I am not smiling; I am serious with the work. Over to you, Ma [Ma’am] Ncitha,
SHOCK AND DISMAY AT BRUTAL NMMU RAPE ATTACK
Ms Z V NCITHA: Chair, you should be smiling because she is claiming Guevara. I move without notice:
That the Council –
note with utmost shock and utter dismay the brutal rape of a student at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, NMMU, on Monday 3 October 2017;
further note that the student was stabbed in the Second Avenue Campus in the university because she did not have a Cellphone;
condemns in the harshest possible terms this senseless and horrendous crime that happened at the university; and
call on NMMU ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms. M C Dikgale): The hon Ncitha, hon Ncitha take your seat. The hon Julius is standing. Why are you standing on your feet hon ... [Interjections.]
Mr J W W JULIUS: House Chair, on a point of order: I think the member did not listen that we dealt with that motion already. It is a repeat.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms. M C Dikgale): Okay, let us then continue. If ever the motion has been dealt with then I have to move to the hon member Parkies.
TRIBUTE TO GENERAL VÕ NGUYÊN GIÁP OF VIETNAM DIES ON 4TH 0CTOBER 2013
Mr J P PARKIES: Chairperson, I move without notice:
That the Council —
pays tribute to General Võ Nguyên Giáp who died on 4th 0ctober 2013;
notes that he —
is and has been a universally considered general;
was the greatest man in history for his indomitable service to the Vietnamese revolution;
was a man of intelligence; and
was also a revolutionary who directed and commanded the revolutionary forces under the leadership of the communist party of Vietnam.
further notes that —
against the imperialists aggression, he pulverised the French forces, humiliated the Americans respectfully with the supreme objective to defend the independence of homeland and liberation of the Vietnamese;
his immortal ways says and I quote: “if the nation is determined to stand up, it is strong. We can put the past behind us but we can’t completely forget it”; and
this is the longest and brutalised fighting battle defoliant for Vietnamese fired by fear of communist
venim, which signified the human resilience that had outwitted and outperformed gun power.
acknowledges that –
general Võ Nguyên Giáp was the former Commander-in- Chief of the Vietnam army and also served as the Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister since reunification;
he was the Deputy Chairperson of the Council of Ministers, a diminutive and depth general;
he was the master of motivation and a moral boost;
he was a military strategist who mastered the application of the guerrilla warfare principle with tenacity and inordinate confidence and revolutionary patience; and
led the resistance against the imposition and fostered culture.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Hon Parkies, your time had expired when called on your name, so your motion will now become notice of a motion and will be printed in full on the next Order Paper. Why are you standing hon Julius?
Mr J W W JULIUS: Hon Deputy Chairperson, I rise on a point of order. I was wondering whether the Nkosazana-Dlamini Zuma faction will object to that motion of hon Parkies?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): You are the one who is out of order.
ERECTION OF THE JACOB ZUMA CAPTURE SITE MONUMENT AT GROOT MARICO IN THE NORTH WEST
Mr C HATTINGH: Hon Chairperson, I thought that when you winged at me initially, you forgot me afterwards.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): No I won’t forget you. I know all of you hon members.
Mr C HATTINGH: On behalf of the DA, I hereby move without notice:
That the Council -
condemns the erection of the Jacob Zuma capture site monument, which was officially opened by the President yesterday at Groot Marico in the North West;
further notes that although the North West Premier, Supra Mahumapelo, heeded to the call of the DA not to erect a six metre tall statue of the President and then scale down the project to the monument, it should still be regarded as fruitless and wasteful expenditure;
acknowledges that in a community where there are regular protests surrounding the lack of water by people who don’t have access to water; and
finally notes that this monument will be remembered for the physical manifestation of state capture in South Africa, which President Jacob Zuma plays a pivotal role.
MUNICIPAL COUNCILS FREQUENTLY DISCONTINUE SERVICES WITHOUT DULY ADVISING CITIZENS
Mr L B GAEHLER: I hereby move without notice on behalf of the UDM:
That the Council -
notes in many instances, particularly in the historically disadvantaged communities, municipal councils frequently discontinue services such as provision of water, electricity and other services without duly advising citizens;
also notes that the disruption of services is destructive in the daily lives of the already impoverish communities;
further notes with disgust that these communities are not given the same respect and decency as that of the historically advantaged upper class communities; and
acknowledges that there should be equality in the enjoyment and provision of municipal services in every community and for all citizens.
Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution
THE BRUTAL AND SENSELESS MASS KILLING OF 11 PEOPLE IN THE MARIKANA INFORMAL SETTLEMENT IN NYANGA IN CAPE TOWN
Ms P C SAMKA: Hon Chairperson, I hereby move without notice on behalf of the ANC:
That the Council -
notes with utmost shock and utter dismay, the brutal and senseless mass killing of 11 people in the Marikana informal settlement in Nyanga in Cape Town, Western Cape province last Friday night;
also notes with concern that these senseless killings follow the brutal murder of seven more people a few weeks ago;
acknowledges that the rate of killings in Nyanga, which is regarded as South Africa’s murder capital, requires a decisive battle that will rid the streets of Nyanga of the heartless criminals who show no regard for the law and human life;
takes this opportunity to welcome the decisive intervention by the Minister of Police to ensure that the people of Nyanga are not held ransom by heartless criminals; and
conveys its profound condolences to all the families who have lost their loved ones and reassure them that, as the voice of the people of South Africa, we will continue to use whatever platform in our Parliament to stand on the shoulders of our nation to call for decisive action to bring peace in Nyanga
Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution
EMALAHLENI LOCAL MUNICIPALITY IN MPUMALANGA SPENT R2,1 MILLION ON A PRIVATE SECURITY COMPANY
Mr F ESSACK: Hon Chairperson, I am indeed grateful for the opportunity. On behalf of the DA I move without notice:
That the Council -
notes that the eMalahleni local municipality in Mpumalanga spent R2,1 million on a private security company, Trek Optimum International, in order to protect the private residence of executive Mayor, councillor Lindiwe Ntshalintshali in Phola, eMalahleni for 29 days only;
further notes that according to documents in the DA’s possession, which is attached to this motion;
also notes that the director of this company is also is the director of Mzanzi Guarding and Events cc, the company that was paid R20 million in 2014 to protect the municipal manager Theo van Vuuren and of course other senior staff in eMalahleni;
acknowledges that in light of eMalahleni’s current financial woes, which are in complete disarray also owing to an accumulated debt now of R1 billion to Eskom that this House calls upon the Auditor-General to urgently investigate the eMalahleni local municipality’s finances and report its findings to the relevant select committee in this august House - National Council of Provinces; and
finally notes that in a country where many people are currently resorting to feeding their children sugar water, it is deplorable that for the Mayor to use public money for her own benefit instead of the much needed service delivery that it was meant for.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms. M C Dikgale): Order Hon Essack. Hon members, hon Koni and hon Essack, point of order. Can I check with the hon members if there are any further motions without notice? Hon Essack, how can you do that? Okay, the hon member, Magwebu and then you will be the next one hon Chabangu.
VEHICLE ATTEMPTED TO FORCEFULLY ENTER THE PREMISES OF NELSON MANDELA UNIVERSITY
Mr L V MAGWEBU: Hon Chairperson, fellow South Africans, on behalf of the DA, I move without notice:
That this Council -
notes that on Wednesday, 4 October 2017, the driver of a vehicle attempted to forcefully enter the premises of Nelson Mandela University during the ensuing student protests;
further notes that the driver fired gunshots at the students and sped off;
congratulates the Canine Police Unit of Port Elizabeth for their swift arrest of the culprit; and
wishes them more success in the execution of their duties to ensure the safety of students at our institutions of higher learning.
Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution.
GOVERNMENT INSTITUTIONS CUT TIES WITH KPMG, SOUTH AFRICA
Mr M M CHABANGU: Chairperson, I rise on behalf of the EFF to commend:
That the Council-
commends Parliament and all other institutions that decided to cut ties with KPMG South Africa and for supporting #KPMGmustfall;
further recognises that KPMG helped the Gupta-led syndicate to loot state resources, collapsed SARS capacity and costed South African economy millions of jobs;
notes the failure by the Auditor-General of South Africa to take a decision to cut ties with KPMG-South Africa;
also notes that AGSA’s failure to cut ties with KPMG brings into question the reporting by government of all its expenditure and could possibly damage the image, credibility and mandate of AGSA;
further takes this opportunity to recognize the investigations by Independent Regulator Board of Auditors and calls upon this Council to encourage all necessary investigations that must be conducted; and
lastly, takes this opportunity to call upon all companies, state-owned entities and organisations to cut ties with KPMG as soon as possible.
Motion agreed to in accordance with section 65 of the Constitution
RELIABLE AND SAFE PASSENGER RAIL TRANSPORT: BUILDING A RELIABLE AND SAFE PASSENGER RAIL TRANSPORT.
(Subject for Discussion)
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): I want to take this opportunity to welcome the Minister of Transport to the House and also the special delegates from legislatures. I see a hand. What is the point of order, sir?
Mr C DUGMORE: House Chairperson, my name is Cameron Dugmore, I am a member of the Western Cape legislature. Yesterday ... I would like to ask the messenger to give this notice to you. I received an email indicating that I was on the speakers’ list for today. I prepared myself for today’s debate, which is a critical debate around reliable and safe passenger rail transport. I was then contacted and
that’s why I really don’t want to create any embarrassment for the Chief Whip of the ruling party.
I was then informed that the DA objected to me being a speaker at this legislature today. This has never happened to me in the past. I have previously spoken either as a representative of the legislature or on behalf of the political party, the ANC.
Chairperson, I am prepared to abide by a ruling and not to disrupt this process further. If one looks at Constitution of the Republic, clause 61(4) indicates that the legislature with the concurrence of the premier and leaders of parties entitled to special delegates in the province‘s delegation must designate special delegates as required from time to time from among the members of the legislature. So, what I would like to know is whether you are able to clarify this? If not, to have an investigation on whether the Premier of the Western Cape has intervened to block the ANC speaking here today or what has the process been that I am not allowed to participate in this debate.
I am not sure whether you allow howling, but there is obviously the DA is howling on the left here. [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Hon Dugmore, you are protected.
Mr C DUGMORE: I would like to ask you if there is an explanation or failing which, to request your honourable office Chair to investigate this matter because I was informed by the Chief Whip of the ANC in the legislature, Pierré Uys, already last week to be here as the speaker for the ANC. I find it a complete violation of the most fundamental right in our Constitution – the freedom of speech. It is the DA, which is standing up here objecting, in fact, I am also a member of the Transport and Public Works Committee in the legislature. To speak here today, I find it absolutely astounding. I will abide by your ruling but I think the DA is clamping down on freedom of speech in this House. [Interjections.] I have spoken here many times before. You are just a new boy.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: Order, hon members. Order, hon Faber. The hon member Labuschagne can you please take your seat. I will recognise you. The hon Dugmore, I know that it is not within my competency because I don’t compile the speakers’ list but allow me to go and look further into the matter and will come back with a ruling thereafter.
I have noted the hon member, Labuschagne and Julius, I don’t know whether they still want to raise their points of orders? Would you like to rise on a point of order or a point of debate because the matter is not up for debate? Unless if you are rising on a different point of order.
Ms C LABUSCHAGNE: No, I would like to rise on the same point of order.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: Ok. Order member, I am not going to allow you. Please take your seat. I have already made a ruling. Hon Julius, for as long as you are rising on a different matter, hon member?
Mr J W W JULIUS: Yes. House Chairperson, you allowed the member for almost four minutes to state his case and belong to the Chief Whip and not the member to state his case here individually. I am surprised that the Chief Whip didn’t even stand up to address the matter because this rests in the office of the Chief Whip, otherwise I can also bring one of my members from Gauteng to come and say why didn’t you put me on the speakers’ list. Can you rule on that matter, please?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Hon Julius, I gave you an opportunity to speak. We are done with that matter. I have ruled on the matter and the matter does not deserve any discussion from any other member.
The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT: Thanks Chairperson, members of executive councils, MECs, present, Chief Whip and members. Building a reliable and safe passenger rail transport in South Africa. Passenger rail as a mode of transport plays a critical role in socioeconomic development. Passenger rail services are designed to move large numbers of commuters simultaneously between destinations. Commuter rail services in particular make the work centres and central business districts accessible to the country’s workforce, providing affordable transport at set times.
Long and regional passenger rail services provide transport services to passengers over longer distances for the purposes of travelling and tourism. The department has put a sound regulatory framework in place to ensure safe and reliable passenger rail transport.
The mandate of reliable passenger rail is delivered by the Passenger Rail Agency of SA, Prasa. Prasa is a wholly-owned government public entity reporting to the Department of Transport. In South Africa,
Prasa operates commuter rail services through Metrorail which currently transports 1,8 million passengers daily. The Metrorail network covers more than 15% of South Africa’s rail network. Prasa plays a major role in reducing the cost of living through affordable rail, first for people travelling to and from places of employment; an effective public transport system that contributes to the movement of people; and facilitates employment and labour force participation, thereby increasing commuter and passenger numbers, and social demographics.
Metrorail’s performance is very low, with the average national train performance reflected punctuality at 78,4% against a target of 85% and train cancellations at 8,8% against a target of 4%. A total of
284 train sets at 12 coach set configuration is required to provide the equivalent of the service capacity offered in 2008-09.
Currently, 216 train sets, which constitutes 76% of the 2008-09 requirement, is available with 55% of these train sets running at eight to 10 coach set configuration. Service capacity has effectively reduced from 3 400 coaches in 2008-09 to under
000 coaches currently in the system.
The Western Cape is the most affected by declining capacity, with a number of coaches out of service due to fire arson damage. A total of 101 coaches have been lost due to fire since October 2015 with a value of over R300 million. Nationally, a total of 80 to 100 coaches are vandalised per month due to cable and equipment theft, and vandalism in trains.
However, the Gauteng province has managed train capacity and performance within reasonable norms, achieving consecutive monthly improvements on train performance since January 2017.
Key services in KwaZulu-Natal were at a total collapse towards the end of May 2017, with only 26 train sets in operation against the requirement of 52 sets. While the washaway at Umbogintwini due to adverse rainfall also affected the South Coast’s services during the same period, the regional technical team, through a special management intervention, restored 12 train sets in a three-week period. The washaway has also been addressed as an emergency repair project and services in KwaZulu-Natal have stabilised. The challenge in KwaZulu-Natal is to sustain the reliability of the train sets and improve infrastructure quality.
Prasa is contributing to reliable and safe passenger rail transport through a modernisation programme to the tune of R173 billion. It includes a number of initiatives, such as the refurbishment of the existing fleet, depot modernisation and the signalling renewal programme in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape regions.
These initiatives are correcting years of underinvestment in passenger rail in South Africa.
To take the issue of investment in passenger rail to the next level, Prasa has commenced with its programme of modernising the commuter rail network in the country. The acquisition of new rail rolling stock to replace the aging fleet accommodates the growth in passenger numbers. Improved passenger safety and energy efficiency are critical components of the modernisation programme and part of Prasa’s mandate.
The new fleet of rolling stock will be introduced in two 10-year cycles while the existing fleet is being phased out. New depots with the necessary equipment to maintain a modern fleet will be built and existing depots retained to maintain the existing fleet.
The rolling stock fleet renewal programme is a catalyst for the transformation of Metrorail’s services and public transport as a
whole, whilst the urgent challenge to improve passenger services remains primary. The programme has also been designed to achieve a number of key government objectives, such as the delivery of quality services to citizens; the revitalisation of South Africa’s rail engineering industry through local manufacturing; and ensuring a 65% minimum local content as part of government’s Industrial Policy Action Plan.
Prasa has made considerable progress in achieving this objective with the Gibela Rail Transport Consortium appointed to supply
600 new Metrorail coaches at a cost amounting to R57 billion over a 10-year period. The programme aims to create 65 000 direct and indirect jobs. The total number of jobs created to date is
1 080 with 261 jobs in manufacturing, 65 in maintenance and 754 in construction. The targeted groups in terms of jobs are the youth, women and local small, medium and micro-enterprises, smme’s. Of course, women and the youth are in the majority.
Prasa has been provisionally accepting new trains from December 2016 and to date no delays have been experienced. A total of 20 trains have been received by Prasa. On 9 May 2017, President Zuma launched the new trains, handed them over to Prasa and Prasa launched the rail service in the Pienaarspoort-Pretoria Corridor where only new
trains are being utilised for operations. The rolling stock fleet renewal programme has now entered its most exciting phase with the construction of the local factory which is progressing very well.
In making sure that rail passenger transport is accessible to the majority of South Africans, a number of provincial rail extensions are underway. The following are the initiatives. In the Western Cape, the Blue Downs extension to provide Blue Downs and surrounding areas with access to rail transport improves rail services and connectivity between Bellville and the metro south-east, and is congesting on the existing network ... new 10 km line and three stations. Cape Town International’s rail link will provide rail connectivity to the airport. The new four km link between the existing railway line and the airport ensures that existing infrastructure is used optimally and improves the reach and accessibility of the rail network.
We also have a stabilisation intervention programme to recover the
20 train sets in 12 months at the rate of two sets through special in-house and contracted capacity, reduce short configured sets from 86% to 50% over 18 months, and also co-operate with the SA Police Service, the SAPS, provincially as well as with city security to make sure that we have a security plan.
In Gauteng, we have the Moloto Rail Corridor for providing a modern technologically multi-model integrated transport system to commuters between Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Gauteng; that is Tshwane. Again, the Etwatwa Rail Extension aims to extend the existing line and services eastwards from the terminal station in Daveyton into the areas of Chris Hani, Etwatwa and Knoppiesfontein ... [Inaudible.] ... almost
10 km with eight stations. We are going to spend R2,5 billion on the Etwatwa-Daveyton Rail Extension. We also have a stabilisation intervention programme in that area.
In KwaZulu-Natal, we have to increase and sustain the additional
12 train sets with spares and in-house repairs, address Transnet’s dependencies through an interface agreement and penalty regime, and increase the security conditions in conjunction with the SAPS.
In the Eastern Cape, we have a project called the Motherwell Rail link Extension which will enhance the role of rail in Nelson Mandela Bay, with 15 000 to 20 000 daily passengers in the short term,
increasing to 35 000 daily passengers by 2020.
The development of the full loop becomes more attractive in the medium to long term as the Coega development has reached greater density. In terms of the stabilisation programme ... is the
confirmation of locomotive support from Transnet or alternatively, its arrangement for locomotives.
In terms of Gauteng, we are working together with the province of Gauteng, also complimented by the Gautrain Management Agency which was established as a Gauteng provincial government entity to manage the public-private partnership concession agreement between the Gauteng provincial government and the concessionaire for the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link.
The Gautrain Rapid Rail Link is clearly different from the other rail networks in South Africa in that it is currently the only service offered on standard gauge. The Gautrain Rapid Rail Link is designed to operate profitably and serves commuters travelling between Pretoria, Johannesburg and the O R Tambo International Airport.
We also have the Railway Safety Regulator which has been established in terms of the National Railway Safety Regulator Act of 2002 to oversee, promote, monitor and enforce rail safety within the Republic of South Africa. Through its vision, the Railway Safety Regulator aspires to achieve zero occurrences in the railway environment. Its mission is to oversee and promote rail safety
operations through appropriate support, monitoring and enforcement guided by the enabling regulatory framework.
As this government, we have a clear programme to recapitalise and modernise rail services in South Africa to make sure that our rail services are reliable and safe. We are also developing the national rail policy which is going to Cabinet soon. As the ANC government, we have the plans to improve rail services in South Africa. We are moving South Africa forward. [Applause.]
Mr M I RAYI: Hon House Chairperson, hon Minister of Transport, hon Chief Whip, hon members and special delegates, distinguished guests and fellow South Africans, the launch of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Prasa, in March 2009 brought about a new era in passenger rail transport. The agency was created out of a decision by Cabinet that saw a need to consolidate the former SA Rail Commuter Corporation, Metrorail, Shosholoza Meyl, Autopax and other entities into one agency. Cabinet’s vision was that Prasa, as the implementation arm of the national Department of Transport, would offer an integrated passenger service that would prioritise customer needs, provide better mobility and accessibility to masses of the South African population in need of safe and affordable transport.
The ANC made a commitment to the people of South Africa in 2014 that in the current term of government, world class passenger trains would be introduced with the new modern coaches to replace outdated trains, bringing safety and comfort to the millions of commuters. In addition, government committed to work towards opening new passenger railway lines to connect our people in the new human settlements, rural areas and townships. Government’s undertaking to improve our public transport system is also aimed at creating many new jobs and contributing to skills development as locomotives and trains would be manufactured and assembled in South Africa.
The mandate of Prasa as a state-owned enterprise, SOE, has a strategic role to play in terms of fulfilling the broader objectives of the developmental state we are building. Within the framework of this developmental state, the SOEs are not created to maximise profits or incur losses, rather their existence is for the purpose of driving the agenda of the development of our people. In other words, Prasa must fulfil a dual mandate, which entails achieving a balance between the required level of self-funding and undertaking developmental projects. As a public entity, reporting to the Minister of Transport, Prasa’s main responsibility is to deliver commuter rail services in the metropolitan areas of South Africa and long-distance intercity rail services.
With regard to the operational challenges such as the decline in fleet availability, the National Development Plan, NDP, identified that South Africa needs reliable economical and smooth-flowing corridors linking its various modes of transport road, rail, air, sea ports and pipelines. These corridors are dominated by old railway technology that is prone to malfunction and poor intermodal linkages. The passenger rail system in our country is faced with enormous operational challenges characterised primarily by the decline in fleet availability.
The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa has bought the passenger trains from Gibela Rail Transport Consortium to the value of
R57 billion which amounted to 600 trains. Furthermore, Prasa had then bought 88 locomotives from Swifambo Rail Leasing before the rand took a knock and the agency ended up taking 70 instead. The management of Prasa had decided to take 70 instead of paying for extra 18 locomotives because it had found no scientific determination on how the decision to buy 88 had been arrived at.
With regard to the lifespan for the entire railway system, the condition of station facilities has been degenerating at a much faster rate than other portfolio stock due to an increased rate in vandalism and theft. As a result, security has in the 2017-18
financial year been included as one of the most crucial services. The maintenance of facilities is characterised by the provision of cleaning and hygiene services, general waste management, security, repairs and maintenance. The location of these facilities and user behaviour has a direct impact on facility lifespan and condition.
With regard to infrastructure, technology and operating systems, one of the policy difficulties confronting Prasa is the fact that it uses Transnet’s rail infrastructure. Since Transnet has became a commercial company, it started charging Prasa for the use of its infrastructure at a rate of R800 million a year. This led to Prasa owing Transnet billions of rand in unpaid debts. This is a matter that requires political intervention by Parliament and the executive.
The rail industry is a key component of any functioning industrial economy. It is an important component in the logistics chain that is integral to our economy. It is critical to the future of South Africa and our industrialisation. However, investment spending in South Africa fell from an average of 30% of the gross domestic product, GDP, in the early 1980s to about 16% of GDP by the early 2000s. Public infrastructure spending is also at a low-level by
historical standards. In effect, South Africa has missed a generation of capital investment in public infrastructure.
The agency’s current procurement of 600 train sets, coupled with rail industrialisation contractual obligations, is a key part of government’s programme to reindustrialise the economy. However, sustainability of the industry requires that it does not only rely on demand from South Africa, but it should also have export potential. Hence Prasa’s reindustrialisation plan is premised on restoring the once dominant role of the manufacturing of Gauteng’s East Rand a role that has been taken over by services sector which become the major contributor to the regional economy in the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality. In August of this year, Prasa has announced that about 1 500 people will be permanently employed at their R1 billion local train manufacturing plant at Dunnottar Park in the City of Ekurhuleni.
The reindustrialisation plan will include improved support for and responsiveness to manufacturing enterprises and upgraded infrastructure networks. The acquisition of the new rolling stock has been established to increase the proportion of the number of the train originating from South Africa and achieve government’s local content target of 65% within 10 years, the creation of a sustainable
and competitive local rolling stock manufacturing sector, a strong focus on job creation and job retention, the transfer and development of rail related skills to our workers, meaningful black contractor development and improved safety and reliability of the procured rolling stock.
In line with the NDP’s key focus areas and planning priorities on creating workable urban transit solutions, government has identified the need to renew the commuter train fleet. Government has adopted a programme of modernising the rail system. This entails primarily the investment programme of R173 billion over 10 years for the rolling stock fleet renewal, signalling technology and modernisation of corridors and stations.
The rail engineering is crucial in ensuring the availability, reliability and safety both the rolling stock and infrastructure. The engineering turnaround focuses on improving reliability, availability, predictability and safety of the service. The rolling stock recovery plan aims to recover 798 coaches back into service, to increase the number of coaches from the current 2 702 to 3 500 in
The agency has committed to reducing signalling telecoms faults by 15% through procuring the services of the contractors in Gauteng, the region with the most dire performance, to supplement the internal maintenance capacity for points, track circuits, signals, interlocking, cables and panels on the old signalling network, as well as upgrading signalling technology, for example migrating from copper to optic fibre on the control system in all regions, installing vandal proof signal equipment especially in the Western Cape.
One of government’s priorities is to address the challenges that workers and commuters who depend on our passenger rail transport have been complaining about for a number of years is lack of reliability and safety of the trains. Government’s plans in the medium to long-term will ensure that Prasa remains a leader in passenger transport solutions and that, as a modern public entity, it delivers high-quality passenger services in a safe and secure environment.
The NDP notes that currently outdated, malfunction-prone railway technology and poor intermodal linkages dominates these corridors. In realising the objectives outlined in the NDP, Prasa plays a
crucial role in providing a suitable public transport solution that is safe, efficient, reliable and cost-effective,
Every month Metrorail loses 70 carriages due to fires and vandalism in Cape Town alone. At Maitland station there is a whole graveyard of burnt out and vandalised train carriages. In August, two entire trains were set alight in Cape Town. As a result, Metrorail is spending R500 million annually on service recovery work related to breakdowns and vandalism. In most countries this would be regarded as a national disaster or even elements of counter-revolution which would require the mobilisation of the Security cluster and the whole society.
With regard to the need to leverage on new rail investments in rail upgrades, government needs to leverage the investments in rail upgrades such as R19,5 billion earmarked for capital spending to upgrade existing infrastructure which includes signalling systems and R173 billion in new rail rolling stock over 10 years. Over the medium-term, Prasa aims to improve the reliability of rail services and increase rail passenger ridership. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
Mr W F FABER: Hon Chairperson, members and Mr Lovemore ... or Tugmore. [Laughter.]
A reliable and safe passenger rail transportation system is a critical aspect of any society and the growth of its economy. Millions of South Africans rely on rail transport and their safety is of utmost importance. Government encourages South Africans to make use of public transportation like trains but, considering the unreliability and safety aspect of public transport, it is yet to be a viable option for many South Africans.
Factors such as the availability and good maintenance of resources also need to be considered when determining the viability of our current systems.
Safety signals and speed limits are often disobeyed and train drivers are, in many instances, inexperienced or unskilled. This contributes to more than three quarters of the failures our rolling stock assets during their lifespan. Furthermore, the maintenance of the assets keeping and them in operational condition play a large role in the reliability context.
Reliability is of utmost importance to communities as it has a direct impact on the lives of mostly the poor communities getting to work on time. To a commuter, a train arriving a few minutes late could mean being late for an interview, or a job, or even losing a job because of their perceived lack of respect for punctuality. It could mean a student missing out on critical information in a lecture, or even the inability to obtain critical social services due to the lack of access.
A case study done on the reliability of Metrorail rolling stock found that Metrorail operates an ageing fleet of trains of which some have been in use since 1958. Metrorail then makes use of cancellations and delays as reliability measures for their fleet.
Between 400 000 and 700 000 people use trains daily in the Western Cape and they complain daily of the inefficiencies of the Prasa train system.
Reliability has declined in such a way that the Western Cape can only operate at 60%. Trains break down without alternative transportation to help commuters get to work and back. Because of this, many people have lost their jobs as they could not get to work on time or even at all.
Furthermore, there is no public announcement system on trains to inform passengers when trains stop with problems. Passengers sit and wait in carriages for hours due to breakdowns while signals are not working before being notified that they need to make alternative arrangements. This creates vulnerability and criminals use such opportunities to mug and assault commuters.
An elderly male colleague of ours from the National Assembly recently needed to go to the doctor in Bellville and decided to take the Metro train from the Acacia Park station at the parliamentary village to commute to Bellville. On this 10h00 train a young gangster started robbing the few passengers that were sitting in the coach with our colleague. The member swiftly moved to the next coach to try and get help from security, but it was the last coach and it was also quite empty without any sign of security. As the train was close to a nearby station our colleague jumped from the slow-moving train to get away from the thugs.
I went to investigate myself and took a few trips on some of the lines and was shocked not to find any security officers on some of the trains. [Interjections.]
The next story on safety was when I took an overloaded Metro train from Cape Town to Acacia Park parliamentary village. [Interjections.]
Hon member, you should try that!
I saw plenty of commuters hanging between and out of the train coaches as there was no more space available inside the train, and also saw commuters taking free rides by jumping off before entering the station, thus avoiding having to pay.
I went to the security personnel standing on the platform and asked whether they had seen the violation. Their answer shocked me. The two guards told me that the commuters tease or threaten them and when they report these incidents, the higher ranks do nothing about it. [Interjections.]
The security officers deployed on the trains and stations are by far too few and are mostly untrained. The so-called Rapid Rail Police Unit is spread thin and far apart and has almost no influence on criminals and their activities on trains. Vandals throw trains with stones and carriages are burned, all of which could be ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): I’m sorry, hon Faber. Hon members, you do know you are not supposed to drown the speaker out. Hon Mthimunye ... Continue, hon Faber. [Interjections.]
Mr W F FABER: Thank you, Chairperson. I don’t take him seriously at all, so it’s not a problem.
All of this could be prevented if there were adequate security or police available. Millions of rands damage is regularly inflicted. Just hop onto the Metro train from Cape Town to Strand and you will be shocked ... [Interjections.]
Yes, Mr Mthimunye, you can go and have a look, but you never travel by train.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Hon Faber! You know the Rules do not allow you to address hon Mthimunye.
Mr W F FABER: Through you, Chairperson, some of the members should take the train and get this shocking experience of seeing the 101 burnt-out carriages along the way. [Interjections.]
On the way out of Cape Town station.
To date, the damage is more than R300 million.
Speaking to commuters on the Cape Metro trains, you will understand their fear of gangs boarding the trains, robbing passengers, and being stabbed or cut by knives on a trip ... [Interjections.]
Chairperson, sorry; this hon member is misbehaving. Can you please protect me?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Hon Mthimunye, the hon Faber is protected. Please behave.
Mr W F FABER: Thank you, hon Chair.
People are attacked but there is no security to protect passengers or to serve as a deterrent.
Workers’ unions asked Transnet more than 10 years ago for train drivers to attend refresher courses and undergo competency tests, for regular changing of shifts to prevent accidents due to fatigue, for barriers at railway crossings to be visible and completed, for there to be stricter access control, and for railway police be instituted.
Furthermore, it is clear that the aged railway lines on train routes are not maintained – as we saw when a new locomotive rolled off a straight line near Kimberley in my constituency. While we acknowledge that crime plays a role and has a negative impact on railway infrastructure, what with the theft of rails, sleepers and cables leading to derailments, we have a duty to ensure the continuous maintenance of trains and safety of commuters.
It is thus clear that the Passenger Rail Agency of SA, Prasa, governed by the national ANC-led government, is ineffective in providing our communities’ with passenger rail transportation. The Metro passenger rail transportation system should be privatised and/or be run by the cities and provinces themselves. We cannot continue to allow Prasa to steal education and job opportunities from commuters due to their own inefficiencies, lack of expertise and lack of empathy for the direct impact their operations have on commuters’ lives. Our communities deserve better. I thank you.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Hon Dimaza, before you continue, can I ask you to take a seat a little bit? Hon Julius, members from Gauteng Province sits this side.
Mr J W W JULIUS: [Inaudible.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Yes, you can come and occupy your seat. Hon members, I want to make an announcement. Noticing that the other Presiding Officers are not in the House, they are busy with the programme of Parliament somewhere and the hon Deputy Chairperson is off sick. He has been admitted in the hospital. With the powers invested in me, I am going to request the Chief Whip of the Council to come and relieve me and we continue with the business of the day. Chairperson, you can take the podium. Is that a point of order, hon Essack?
Mr F ESSACK: Hon Chair, sorry, with due respect to the speaker at the podium, I am sitting behind hon Mthimunye and I think he needs to get to the emergency clinic, he seems to have a big gash at back of his head. We can excuse him.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M C Dikgale): Hon Essack, please do not disturb the House, take your seat. Continue hon Chair.
Mr M DIMAZA (EASTERN CAPE: CHAIRPERSON - HEALTH): Hon Chairperson,
hon Minister, hon Chief Whip of the Council, hon members, distinguished guests, it is with a great sense of gratitude to have been afforded an opportunity to participate in this debate on behalf of the of the Eastern Cape province, the passenger rail
transportation must speak to the economic linkages between the different economies.
It is a fact that most of the workers stay far from their work places and that diminishes their disposable income due to transport costs. Safe passenger rail is still the most affordable mode of transport. It should create an environment to deal with spatial planning while advocating for such mode of transport. Therefore, it is important to underscore the importance of the link between the passenger rail with the existing mode of transport such as taxis.
The rail infrastructure in the Eastern Cape province is substantial, consisting of 3500km of Cape-gauge railway line and 300km of
narrow-gauge line but only 23% is in good condition with 37% being abandoned. The main lines comprise the line between Port Elizabeth and Noupoort and between East London and Bethulie. These lines are also electrified with a modern 25kV Alternating Current, AC, system.
The commuter rail services are also poor with the service between East London and Berlin carrying only 20 000 passengers per day and the line which is between Uitenhage and Port Elizabeth service carrying only 5000 passengers per day. Freight volumes carried by rail are not very substantial with roughly 4million tonnes of
freight carried by rail in the province of which the majority represents the Manganese being transported to Port Elizabeth for export.
The rail situation in the province is evaluated against the global background where successful commuter rail is represented by fast, regular services with high capacity coaches and where successful freight rail is represented by high capacity trains that typically operate on standard gauge, which is roughly 0,5m wider than the Cape-gauge used in South Africa.
There are some developments which represents freight concentrations suitable for the rail in Port Elizabeth and East London. The existing port in Port Elizabeth is adequately catered for and rail developments are underway to cater for the new port and related developments in Coega. The East London Port is currently undergoing an upgrade to accommodate larger ships and increase its volumes and is served adequately by rail for the limited freight that is currently being shipped.
The poor commuter services in Buffalo City and Nelson Mandela Bay are constraining the development of these cities and are losing
ground to Bus Rapid Transit, BRT, services and other forms of road based public transport.
The poor and abandoned branch lines do not represent any viable rail opportunities due to the limited freight volumes that are more suitable to road transport. The passenger and freight rail connectivity between the three cities, that is Port Elizabeth, Buffalo City and Mthatha is poor even to non-existent and represents a reasonable long term opportunity for a high speed passenger service which could include freight.
You will remember hon members that there was once a passenger rail between uMthatha and East London. However, because of the situation of it being too slow people opted for other modes of transport.
Thus, as the Eastern Cape we are advocating for that because there is still a need for that and we are advocating that it is faster and a better one than the one that was used before that.
Several rail related projects that were identified that should be pursued by the Province. The two commuter rail services in Buffalo City and Nelson Mandela Bay should be improved to standards that would serve
the cities more appropriately to support the development of the two cities.
These services operate on dedicated rail reserves and would only require upgrading of the rolling stock to modern coaches with improved acceleration.
In this way, the rail can operate on the more suitable high volume sections and fewer expensive trains will be required to provide a frequent regular service. All stations along these routes will need to be carefully developed as transport orientated developments that encourage the use of the services and provide income to ensure that high quality security and services levels are retained.
The existing of the now defunct Narrow-gauge depot at Humewood in Port Elizabeth should be re-developed as a transport orientated hub to serve the entire City of Port Elizabeth, the airport and the Port Elizabeth passenger terminal at the port. The Narrow-gauge apple train should be retained as a tourist heritage train and some limited freight operations may be feasible although this will in all probability fade away as the rolling stock becomes defunct. All the other stations at the urban and rural rail reserves in the province should be assessed and some of them retained.
The high speed passenger rail connecting Mthatha, Buffalo City and Nelson Mandela Bay has been identified and a long term flagship project and all rail developments in the province should be viewed as the staged development of this service.
This will include for example, supporting improvement of the existing rail between Port Elizabeth and Alicedale to achieve a high speed alignment and a greater extent of double track in a way that improves Transnet freight rail operations and also provide for the eventual development of the flagship.
Also, we think there can be a better line that can be developed between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown - which that line if it can have a fast speed train it will assist the people who are moving between Port Elizabeth and Grahamstown because there is a serious need of that especially in that particular area.
Having looked at all these issues I have raised above, we ought to in the near future take a bigger step to bring us closer to the fulfilment of the goals as we have planned. The success to our developmental goals will be one of our greatest gifts to honour the life and legacy of our struggle icon utata Oliver Tambo whom we will
be celebrating his life on 27 October 2017 in Nkantolo. I thank you, Chairperson.
Mr M KHAWULA: Hon Chairperson and hon Minister, my brother, almost all well-developed and developing countries in the world have had to also incorporate world standard transport in their developmental plans. This is normally an integrated transport plan which focuses on introducing a safe passenger rail transport in order to help ease traffic congestion in the roads and thus minimise the road accidents.
South Africa records one of the highest road fatalities per year as compared to other countries in the world. This is one amongst many reasons why there is a great need to build a reliable and safe passenger rail transport. In 2016, 14071 people died on the South African roads. This was an increase of 9% on the 2015 figure of 12944 road fatalities in South Africa.
Whilst passenger rail transport provides no guarantees that fatal accidents will not happen, it is however rated as one of the safest modes of transport around the world. In South Africa for the year 2015, two rail accidents were recorded. There was one train crash in Denver in April 2015 resulting to one death and 240 people injured,
two trains collided in Johannesburg in July 2015 resulting to about
100 people injured. In 2016, two trains collided in June in Durban resulting in 130 people injured. In 2017, trains collided in Pretoria resulting to about 100 people injured. Thus far, for the past three years only one death has been recorded in our rail accidents in South Africa.
The question is: If South Africa has such a remarkable record of minimal rail accidents and minimal fatalities, why are South Africans so reluctant to maximise usage of rail transport instead of road usage? Here are some of the reasons, hon Minister; South Africa has the worst record of criminal elements and criminal activities in the trains. Just two days ago, passengers got attacked by criminals who boarded the train that had stopped at the red light. The train driver tried to intervene and got stabbed. He is in hospital as we speak.
Our rail system is also not reliable in terms of time and not ideally convenient for daily commuters to and from work. Damage to rail infrastructure in the form of cable theft and other forms render the rail service totally unreliable. The train schedules in between the different cities of our country render the network inefficient for reliable usage. The types of coaches used have not
changed much from the apartheid era coaches which were designed to suppress human dignity of the then third class citizens. Graffiti and illegal advertising pasted all over the coaches of our trains render the rail environment so unfriendly and un-welcoming to use. The speed of our trains in between distant cities also makes it difficult for commuters to choose rail as a preferred mode of transport.
Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, PRASA, is the county’s biggest headache and drawback in the non-improvability of our passenger rail network system. In 2011, the then estranged Minister of Transport, Mr Sbu Ndebele, announced a R137 billion injection to modernise South African Passenger Rail infrastructure. Five years later, it was found that PRASA ordered locomotives that cannot be used in South African rail network. It took the ruling by the North Gauteng High Court to stop the controversial deal from proceeding. Even the legal tender processes towards this deal had been short circuited in order to award the tender to connections of certain people in government circles.
PRASA has been recently involved in a public spat with the then Acting CEO Mr Letsoalo over his senseless demands to the board. Up to now, the Minister has not been able to appoint a new board for
PRASA. Under these circumstances, how can South Africa have any hope at all for reliable and efficient transport?
In conclusion, the IFP message to the people of South Africa is that, South Africa will be able to build a reliable and safe passenger rail transport on the day the ANC is voted out of power in this country. I thank you Chair.
Ms N A NDALANE (LIMPOPO: MEC - TRANSPORT, SAFETY, and SECURITY &
LIAISON): Hon Chairperson, hon Minister Mr Joe Maswanganyi, fellow NCOP delegates and the audience in the gallery.
Chairperson, passenger rail transport forms the economic livelihood of our nation. Majority of our people in the rural and urban areas rely mainly on rail transport and this is because it is cheaper and affordable. Our rail transport relies on coal and electricity for its survival. Chairperson, it is against this background that there is a need for us as a country to make sure that our rail transport is safe and reliable. Firstly for our rail passenger transport to be safe and secure, we must look at the technical aspects of our trains. Our trains should be in good working conditions. Our fellow technicians should, at all times, service our trains.
Last week, the Minister of Transport, hon Joe Maswanganyi, was launching the October Transport Month. We are pleased that as the Minister outlined, several projects are aimed at improving the passenger rail transport. A study was done with regard to four identified projects in Limpopo: Polokwane to Mokopane Commuter Service, Polokwane to Gauteng, Mankweng-Polokwane—Seshego rail passenger transport and Polokwane Moloto Corridor. The purpose of the study was to make sure that we have an improved and safe passenger rail transport. Once more the Minister outlined during the launching of the transport month that trains will be built in Gauteng under Ekhuruleni Metro.
We must also bear in mind that the safe and reliable transport will also involve the human aspects. Such human aspects include the human resource. There is a need for us as government to fully train and equip our drivers with new skills. We must make sure that we don’t export the resources that we have. As previously indicated, an academy where we shall train drivers, artisans and technicians should be a top priority.
Another safety measure will be to strengthen our police visibility in trains. As of now we can safely say that our trains are becoming safer daily. Criminals should know the truth that their days are
numbered. As a province we shall assist the national government with all our resources available in order to make sure that our passenger rail transport is safe and reliable. All of us should remember that Limpopo borders Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique goes through the Kruger Gate. This therefore means that a safer rail transport will also play a vital role in increasing our tourism market. Most of visitors will prefer to visit our country using trains.
As I conclude, hon Chairperson, it is now quiet clear that there is a need for a new rail infrastructure. This will need businesses and government to come together. The success of the safer passenger rail transport will need the involvement of all stakeholders. I thank you.
Ms M C DIKGALE: Hon Chief Whip, Minister of Transport - I heard that hon Khawula is calling you his brother, yes, he is our son of the soil in Limpopo - hon members and special delegates, ladies and gentlemen in the gallery, this day, 5 October, is World Teachers’ Day, also known as International Teachers Day. As a former teacher myself, would therefore like to have your indulgence to teach a bit in relation to the topic of the debate at hand. My teaching will of course be related to my focus area of the debate, which is the Moloto Rail Corridor Project. As we might all know, this project is
a direct response by government to excessive traffic congestion, numerous fatal road accidents and general economic underdevelopment in the Moloto area.
In September 2016 government managed to secure R30 billion rand for the construction of the Moloto Rail Development Corridor and major construction work to renovate Moloto Road has begun. The upgrade has started with the construction of traffic circles or roundabouts in major intersections on Mpumalanga’s section of the road. This phase will also involve closing off of dangerous illegal accesses, reducing conflict movement on service roads, installing and replacing street lights and moving informal traders to safer areas.
The theme of our debate is: “Building a reliable and safe passenger rail transport”. The key words, which are adjectives, in these theme are reliable and safety. The concept of safety includes a notion of hazard. When we talk about safety we are always talking about being safe from something. The type of safety in the case of railways relates to train operations being safe from collisions and derailments.
The question, however, is: How do we achieve this? Part of the answer is that we must adopt safety as a culture, ie, safety
culture. This means that safety should manifest itself as a totality, instilled, transmitted and demonstrated throughout all organisational human work involved in the project.
The concept of safety culture should be ingrained in the deepest, unconscious aspects of all departments of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Prasa, as the agent that will be running this rail passenger programme. It should be turned into a tangible concept and needs to touch every person within the organisation, and should influence the way in which people relate to one another. I am glad that this Moloto Road upgrade is being built with safety in mind and promises to reduce the countless accidents and deaths on this road.
As I said it has started with the construction of traffic circles or roundabouts in major intersections on Mpumalanga’s section of the road and dangerous illegal accesses are being closed off, reducing conflict movement on service roads as well as installing and replacing street lights and moving informal traders to safer areas. If the concept of safety is not given the attention and priority it deserves, passenger rail transport will be viewed as a catalyst for economic depression, nonproductivity and unemployment rather than a catalyst for economic development. This is so because when an accident occurs, the disruption disturbs the timeous arrival of
people, goods and services and impacts negatively on employment and the economy.
In addition to instilling safety culture, Prasa needs to cultivate the safety climate, which is referred to as a situation where managers at all levels are highly committed to safety, where the workforce express satisfaction with and adherence to the organisation’s safety system, where everyone is risk averse, where there is no pressure towards maximising profits at the expense of safety and where operators as well as managers are highly qualified and competent.
When we come to the notion of reliability, this refers to the extent to which an experiment, test, or measuring procedure yields the same results on repeated trials. This means that, for Prasa to provide a high quality service in this Moloto Rail Corridor, it would be advisable to adopt a considerable degree of reliability as a user requirement, where the safety levels are regularly measured.
If Prasa were to accomplish these two notions, then it would have no difficulty in achieving the other purpose for which this project is aimed at, that of economic development. Studies show that transport is a catalyst for providing equitable access to opportunities and
services and the majority of the working class who are heavily relying on public transport. In economics there is a branch called Transport Economics and it deals with the allocation of resources within the transport sector. In the language of this Transport Economics it is said that roads carry the economy of the country. This means that the means of transport and roads must be accessible to all the people for them to be economically empowered.
This project is designed to change the quality of the life of people in the area through, among others, promoting economic development and work opportunities and bringing to end long commuting distances from home to work for the poor. It has been designed to unlock the northern mineral belt within the Waterberg area and will include the development of a logistics corridor to connect the three provinces of Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
In addition to boosting the Waterberg mineral belt, the project will also boost local economies along the Moloto Road. The project has been identified as one of the country’s 18 strategic infrastructure projects and is predicted that it will create about 12 500 jobs.
These would be distributed as follows: 3 250 jobs in Mpumalanga;
3 000 jobs in Limpopo and 6 250 jobs in Gauteng.
The rail services will comprise feeder services and distribution, which will be complemented by 49 bus and taxi routes with 681 buses and taxi stops. The aim is also to reduce the relative number of people that will travel long distances for work and other purposes because this development will create an opportunity for a higher percentage of people that will find employment locally. The proposed rail service will provide 13 new train stations, 125 km of double- track, 38 roads over all rail bridges, nine pedestrian bridges - with the potential for more, 44 river crossings, three staging yards in the corridor, 12 car train sets, 46 train sets, capacity to transport 15 000 passengers per hour, one major multimodal interchange and 160 km/h operational design.
The small businesses will also benefit. According to the revised procurement Act, along with other government entities, SA National Roads Agency Limited, Sanral, has put aside 30% of the total project cost to create opportunities for small black-owned businesses.
Residents have been recruited and contractors and service providers have now been appointed for the first phase in Mpumalanga. A total of 160 community members have been recruited for the construction of four traffic circles between Moloto and Moteti in the Thembisile Hani and Dr J S Moroka local municipalities. I thought members will give me a round of applause on this one, but they are quite.
My teaching ends here and I hope the stakeholders involved in this project, especially Prasa and the government at large will heed the recommendations I have made, especially with regard to safety and reliability. I also hope that in light of the numbers that I have laid bare here, all the pessimism with regard to this project will lay to rest. In my language we say ...
... monamolomo o boletše gomme monaletsebe o kwele; ebile tsebe ga e na sekhurumelo, mohl Koni.
The doubting Thomases must just take a ‘Sho’t Left’ to Moloto area...
... gore ba ikgodiše ka nko.
They will realise that the ANC-led government is hard at work to make the lives of our people better. Thank you.
Mr J J LONDT: Hon Chief Whip, Acting Chair, Hon Minister, members and fellow South Africans, reliable and safe passenger rail transport for all and together we move South Africa forward. I must say that one thing about this government is that it is good at coming up with catchy slogans and themes. I can just imagine sitting in the ANC caucus, some members actually stop playing on their phones and looking up, other members half asleep actually sitting up and listening, whilst the Eastern Cape members using chairs for what they are meant to – sitting up straight.
The problem, hon Minister, comes in with the actual delivery on these slogans should take place. Without a doubt, the spatial development legacy of South Africa has left our towns and cities with millions of South Africans that need to travel countless hours every day, every week and every month. These are the challenges that the post 1994 governments had to address. They are still struggling to address and must continue to do so.
This debate is not only about transport but freedom and opportunity. Prasa has proven time and again that they are not up to the challenge to address these shortcomings and challenges that we need to face. The question we should ask is why is the national ANC government doing the same thing over and over again? It fails
continuously yet they expect a different result. It is the very definition of insanity. It is not just the severe economic impact that is ineffective, unsafe and unreliable passenger rail transport has on the economy, communities and individuals.
Minister, by failing to provide what you so eloquently promised, you are squandering something much more valuable from South Africans, that is, their time. It is time that is meant for loved ones, time meant to access job opportunities and time meant to live life instead of being caught up in the rat race. It is now time that you allow privatisation or at the very least, give the budgets to the cities to ensure that in communities where the DA govern we will ensure that there is proper transport and the people will have more time for their loved ones. I thank you.
Mr M M CHABANGU: Hon Acting Chairperson, let me take this opportunity to greet South Africans at large. Gustavo once said that a developed country is in the place where the poor has cars; it is where the rich use public transportation. The reality of passenger rail transport in this country is that it is neither safe nor reliable. This is why the rich do not take trains because they do not6 have to. Going to and from work on a train is something millions of South Africans have to do every day including Ministers.
In the last 10 years the passenger train services have deteriorated across South African metros and in towns like Bethlehem and Bloemfontein where I come from. What has also happened in the last
10 years is that the capture of the state-owned entities by the Gupta family, particularly Prasa and Transnet. During this time close to R10 billion has been stolen from Prasa by the Gupta and Zuma’s families. This is money that should have been used to replace trains, buy new equipment, train staff and upgrade technology and systems. None of these is happening because the ANC government has allowed the Gupta family to loot Prasa and Transnet. Cape Town alone, the number of passengers using metro rail has dropped by 50% since 2000 with a 400% in train cancelation over the last two years.
Whilst it is estimated that the failure of Metrorail causes the country billions of rands a year, workers in this country are getting fired by their bosses because they do not come to work on time. This is not reliable. Trains are so full that half the passengers are on the roof or hanging out of doors and windows of trains. This is not safe. Not having a conversation about improving the safety and reliability of passenger rail transport in this country without talking about stake capture. It is impossible to make rail transport reliable and safe in this country if the money
which is meant to be used to do this continues to get stolen by Zuma and the Guptas.
That is why we will continue to fight state capture ... [Interjections.]
The ACTING HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: Mr S J MOHAI: Order. Hon member,
please take your seat. What are you rising on hon Mthimunye?
Mr S G MTHIMUNYE: Chair, I am rising on a point of order. The hon member is making an allegation and presents it as if it is fact. In his statement he says that President Zuma has stolen money as if he has proof of that. I want to place it on record chair; the President is not charged in any court of law and is not appearing in any court of law in this country as of now. So, to say that with total conviction that he has stolen money, is actually ...
The ACTING HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: Mr S J MOHAI: Hon members the point of order is sustained. Hon members please refrain from making a statement of fact when there is no investigation on this matter.
Please continue hon Chabangu.
Mr M M CHABANGU: I am happy that South Africans are listening that the hon Mthimunye is protecting the President. It is why we will continue to fight state capture. It does not mean that the only challenge to passenger rail transport in this country is state capture by the Gupta family but it is the most immediate challenge. Money which should be going to Metrorail is being taken out of the country to Dubai where Zuma and Mugabe are going to retire after looting money belonging to Zupta and South Africa. [Interjections.]
Ms Z V NCITHA: Chairperson, it is parliamentary to call the hon President as Zuma.
The ACTING HOUSE CHAIRPERSON: Mr S J MOHAI: Hon Chabangu, you know that you are supposed to address the President of the Republic appropriately. May you please do so whenever you raise the name please understand that he is the President. Thank you, can you proceed.
Mr M M CHABANGU: Until state capture ends, we cannot focus on building a reliable and safe passenger rail service in this country.
Last but not least, let me take this opportunity and thank Ms Dikgale for being a referee and a player at the same time.
[Laughter.] I have never seen this in my lifetime that being a chairperson, the next time she is on the Speaker’s List. This proved that the ANC has brought deadwoods. That is why I am honouring you. Thank you very much.
Mr D GRANT (Western Cape): Hon House Chairperson, hon members and office bearers, delegates from the provinces, hon Minister of Transport, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.
It is a pleasure to represent the Western Cape Government today in the NCOP during this important debate. I have listened intently to the range of contributions already made this afternoon; contributions which reflect many important aspects of commuter rail transport.
When I spoke in this House earlier this year as part of the Minister’s budget debate, I indicated our full support of his five core pillars underpinning the overall transport budget. It is appropriate today in this debate that I highlight once again three of these core pillars, as follows: firstly, transforming and improving the lives of our people; secondly, continually improving transport safety and security; and lastly, a strong commitment to quality public transport infrastructure and services.
Against this background, Chairperson, I want to plead the case of the hundreds of thousands of ordinary, hard-working residents of the Western Cape, whose lives are impacted by the current clear absence of the quality and the improved safety and security which these three core pillars commit to.
The passenger rail network in the Cape Town functional area is well- located, should provide an essential social and economic service and has the potential to make a major contribution to an efficient and sustainable urban future. The service is meant to provide a critical lifeline for the poor, providing affordable access to opportunities and services to those living in far-flung areas and helping to bridge the spatial divides that were so shamefully put in place during the apartheid era.
Passenger rail has so much potential in Cape Town and the surrounding areas to provide affordable access to opportunities for all; potential to support the reshaping of this major city through Transit-Orientated Development; potential to alleviate congestion by providing a real alternative to the private car; potential to boost investor and tourism interest in Cape Town; and the potential to improve the overall quality of life for so many of our population.
It is this potential of rail that makes the current situation so tragic and unacceptable.
As we are all aware, the passenger rail service in Cape Town is currently in crisis and is providing neither a safe nor a reliable service.
The most disadvantaged in our communities are forced to wake up very early to catch a train, for fear of delays and that they may lose their jobs. These same people must endure inhumane and severely overcrowded conditions, with some hanging out of the train. If the train arrives on time, the risk of breakdown is a cause for anxiety given the recent aggravated decline in reliability. Passengers are also exposed to crime and personal danger. These are just some of the very real consequences of an unreliable and unsafe service for the people of the Western Cape.
As we all know, one of the major issues affecting the rail service in Cape Town in recent years has been vandalism. This has had a devastating effect on Metrorail’s capacity and the reliability of its services. For captive users - those who have no choice but to use the train for economic reasons - life has become that much harder. For choice users - those who can afford to use a private car
or another mode of public transport - the train has become an increasingly unattractive alternative.
The inability of Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Prasa, to secure its network coupled with the appallingly low rate of arrests and prosecutions for arson and other attacks on trains, a depressing by-product of poor policing and limited effectiveness of the criminal justice system, has produced what is often nothing more than a crime scene on wheels.
The impact on businesses and the broader economy is great given the vast number of workers who rely on rail as their main mode of transport.
In the last few years, we have witnessed declining reliability, deteriorating safety conditions, an increased incidence of vandalism and fewer available train sets, from 88 down to 60.
At the same time, we are concerned by the broader organisational challenges being experienced by Prasa at a national level, including allegations of corruption and mismanagement from the Public Protector and others, the loss of technical skills, and poor staff morale.
We note the hon Minister’s commitment to rail improvement, through investments in rail infrastructure and rolling stock but are appalled at the extent to which these commitments are being hampered by allegations of massive fraud and managerial inefficiencies.
My Department has already provided assistance to Metrorail wherever possible - particularly in relation to security. The return in improved service for the more than 600 000 dependent commuters and the many more possible passengers has not been significant.
We hear about orders placed for new train sets and we read about the potential impact of new technologies. Commuters dream of affordable, efficient, safe and reliable rail services. But, Chairperson, we know that these will not be a reality today or even next week.
As the Western Cape Government, we wish to see an improvement much sooner, a movement towards a good quality rail service that is meeting its potential and we want to work in partnership with the National Department of Transport, Prasa, Metrorail, the City of Cape Town, the private sector and passengers to develop a workable solution to the current crisis. We simply have to improve the here and now situation. We have to give commuters something better as soon as possible.
The Western Cape Government and my department in particular, will welcome with open arms any opportunity to make a contribution to turning around this failing service.
From a safety and reliability perspective, this means we would like to see, at the very least: service that business, workers, learners and the broader community can rely on to be on time and provide sufficient capacity to meet demand, a demand which will grow rapidly; a service free from crime; a service that is affordable to those on low incomes; a secure network, free from vandalism and fare evasion; infrastructure, rolling stock, stations and other elements of the network that fully meet safety standards; as well as the capacity and processes in place to ensure safe operations.
As Government, we cannot sit back and let our residents endure such hardship or let the enormous promise of rail fade.
I thank you. [Applause.]
Mr B G NTHEBE: The Minister rose to the occasion and said, “Connectivity and accessibility becomes and remains the key pillar of what the national safety policy would seek to achieve when presented by Parliament”. I think it’s a critical issue for us to be
able to do that. Minister as the ANC we represent affordable, accessible and safety reliable rail transport system for our people so that we can be able to, and later on I will unpack the relationship between safe and reliable rail transport system for our people and the economy.
Hon Rayi also came and spoke eloquently about our endeavour to propel a developmental agenda through such rail infrastructure that we want to see happening. We also acknowledge the old infrastructural gaps that exist in between. He also spoke about commuter rail service that needs to be kept to standard so that we can be able to respond at the challenging needs of our own people.
Quite critical, the Chairperson of the Select Committee spoke about security and waste management system. I can assume ... and hon Minister, I used a train yesterday afternoon to go back home. When they talk about issues of safety, I can relate. Yesterday, hon Faber. [Interjections.] Yes, yesterday, I used a train back home.
So, the things that you are talking about here, I know them.
Ms N P KONI: On a point of order.
Mr F W FABER: But you ...
The ACTING CHAIRPERSON (Mr S J Mohai): On what point are you rising, hon member? [Interjections.]
Ms N P KONI: I believe that the member at the podium is a veteran of this House and I believe that he is well aware of the Rules of this House that he is not allowed to address another member directly, but he must address a member through the Chairperson.
The ACTING CHAIRPERSON: (Mr S J Mohai): Thank you very much for that reminder point. Can we allow the hon member to proceed?
Mr B G NTHEBE: Fair enough I accept, Chair. Seemingly, the imparting of knowledge is working. Hon Faber spoke about the importance of this rail infrastructure into the economy. I will come back to that through you Chair, together with what hon Londt was saying. The issue of the need for integrated transport system as raised by hon Khawula, it’s an important matter. It’s something that we need to do urgently. It’s something we need to see working so that we can be able to stimulate the growth that we want to see in our economy. I think it’s a good point that was made.
Hon Shabangu messed the good debate. He came here and grandstand on personalised politics; unfortunately he is not in the House. The problem with personalised politics ... [Interjections.]
Ms N P KONI: On a point of order.
The ACTING CHAIRPERSON (Mr S J Mohai): Okay, what is a point of order?
Ms N P KONI: Chair, I would plead with you to plead with the member on the podium to stop being emotional. This is a debate. Thank you.
The ACTING CHAIRPERSON (Mr S J Mohai): Well, okay, I will ask the hon member to proceed. I do not sustain the point of order.
Mr B G NTHEBE: The problem with personalised politics, hon Chair, is that when that person that you personalising politics unto is no longer there, you are losing political mileage. [Interjections.] You are no longer relevant because you have been targeting Nthebe and Nthebe is no longer there, you are losing mileage. This is the danger that we forever warn the EFF on that if you want to speak and that’s why hon Koni, that’s why ... Let me refrain before the Chair calls me to order. [Interjections.]
Hon Londt and hon Faber’s arguments were quiet explicit in that there is a need for privatisation, Minister. A call that I would stand up here and say we must reject with contempt. I will tell you why. They don’t tell us that they are speaking on behalf of those who want to feed their opulence. [Interjections.] They are not representing the majority of our own people who suffer on a daily basis on the trains. [Applause.] If you are going to go on tender tomorrow, hon Minister, and say I am advertising, I want this part to be privatised, it’s not ordinary people, poor people who are going to be able to contest and win that tender successfully. It is going to be those who are already filthy rich who are going to be feeding their opulence. This must be rejected.
The ACTING CHAIRPERSON (Mr S J Mohai): On a point of order, hon Nthebe? There is a member standing. On what, hon Faber? Why are you standing?
Mr W F FABER: Chairperson, the hon member was talking about privatisation and tenders going out. Is he perhaps talking about the Guptas, with Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Prasa, because definitely when we talk about privatisation, it’s not by getting tenders for the Guptas as happened with Prasa.
The ACTING CHAIRPERSON (Mr S J Mohai): The point of order is irrelevant. Let’s allow the member to proceed.
Mr B G NTHEBE: Let’s take, for example, hon Chair, through you, hon Faber, a competition between Africa’s two leading economies, 95% of the income of Nigeria comes from what we call the petro dollars.
Dollars made out of the oil industry. Sixty five percent of the South African economy comes from a variety of commodities. We want to acknowledge that there is progress made in the banking and the Telkom sector in terms of what Nigeria ... But we also know that their GDP rebasing has not been done in the 1990 until recently. [Interjections.] No, let me school you. [Interjections.] Let me assist you. [Interjections.]
The ACTING CHAIRPERSON (Mr S J Mohai): Hon members, please allow the member to debate without any interruption. Can you proceed, hon member?
Mr B G NTHEBE: Hon Chair, as I proceed, we also know that the agility and the rigidity of our manufacturing sector cannot be compared to any other economy in the continent. [Interjections.] There is an article that is giving you facts on that and I can give you facts right now at my disposal. [Interjections.] The World Bank
conducted a study last year March, and came to a conclusion that if we want to compare the two leading economies in Africa, Nigeria will be estimated around 296 billion US dollars and South Africa will be sitting around 301 billion dollars. What does it mean? I am going to give you a sporting analogy by BBC African Economist Chief Editor, McDavies. He says, and this is important for you to comprehend, and I quote through you, Chair. He says:
In the whole, if Africa’s leading economies competition was a horse race, the two leading contenders would be virtually neck and neck. They wouldn’t be galloping, they’d be trotting at best.
Looking increasingly tired and in need of sustenance.
If you understand that, you would understand that the necessity to privatise state goods when you are seeking to propel your developmental agenda it’s a fallacy to grow your economy.
A transformational agenda ... We want to thank hon Grant, who quiet well-spoken. You are saying the transformation of the lives of our people depends on the reliability of the rail transport. We want to agree, but you can’t do that if you want to privatise. Let’s agree. You can’t do that. You can’t transform the lives of our people if other people from your sector are saying let’s privatise. The very
same private goods that seeks to develop our own people. So, these are the issues that we must be able to be alive to and we must be able to say there are critical issues that are being raised, issues of security and issues of safety management in the rail infrastructure. I can give an example, if you want to go to Gauteng, which is hard heat hon Makue today; people are not hanging out of the train because the trains are full. They are hanging out of the trains because some of them do not want to pay. It is not an issue that will be resolved by the Minister. It’s a societal issue. It’s how we go out on public platforms in campaigning mode to ensure that our people understand that the safety and security of our own people depends also on us as deployees but also on the generation that is coming before us so that we make sure that our people understand where we want to go.
So, these are the things that we want to correct. We will not correct them if we continue to throw stones. It is coming together that is going to allow us to solve these matters. These issues that are being raised, we think that the transformation of our own people
... and it is not catchy slogans and themes that are directing us. It is programmatic implementation of the programmes that we agree on and the policies that are going to be implemented through the
leadership of the Minister that are going to get us out the quagmire we are in today.
From where we are sitting, we want to thank the Eastern Cape, they are having a clear platform, clear programme of how they want to have a fast train system linking our people in the most peripheral part of our country. We want to say, when you bring such goods to our own people, you begin to emancipate them.
Chair, from our part, as the ANC, we know that the challenges are immense. We are equal to the task. We are sitting here and we are talking issues of security that when you know that you are going to be buying goods that are being taken from commuters in trains as a member, you are also contributing to the safety and security that is going down in trains. These are the issues that we want to resolve. Thank you Chair for the opportunity. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT: Hon Chairperson, let me thank the hon members for the debate. The challenge in this sector, which all of us have to assist one another with, is the theft of cables and you cannot blame Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Prasa for that. The problem, as all members acknowledged, is vandalism. Even though we are changing from copper cables to optic fibre, the criminals
destroy the fibre because you cannot recycle it. I have experienced that when I went to Nancefield and New Canada Train Stations in Johannesburg where trains were delayed because certain people vandalised our optic fibre connectivity.
All of us have to assist one another to deal with the problem of crime, as hon Nthebe has alluded to. It is not a Prasa problem but a societal problem as you have said. We are working very closely with Minister Mbalula, Razzmatazz in this regard. If you go to O R Tambo International Airport for instance, you will find that we have a security plan. O R Tambo is no longer the same. You will remember that there was a serious problem where people were followed home and a whole range of other problems. However, if you go there now, you will see a high visibility of police and of course, other related security services.
People who want to be free riders, get on top of the trains and hang all over the trains are a problem. Our train drivers are assaulted as one hon member has alluded to. The trains, in particular here in the Western Cape, hon Grant, are burnt throughout when people get frustrated. Even sometimes as a result of service protests, people resort to burning trains and it is a problem that all of us have to resolve.
The apartheid government - you know very well hon Grant if you studied the De Villiers Commission - decided to longer invest in the rail sector. It is there in the commission and the apartheid government was run by the National Party and the Democratic Party which today is the DA, hon Faber. So, you deliberately decided not to invest in the rail sector and that is the problem that we have today.
The ACTING CHAIRPERSON (Mr S J Mohai): I am very reluctant to allow you to say anything because you have almost said what you wanted to say, seated. [Interjections.]
The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT: Let my minutes be saved, please!
The ACTING CHAIRPERSON (Mr S J Mohai): So, please do not do that hon member. On what point are you rising hon member?
Mr W F FABER: The Minister is misleading the House by saying the Democratic Party and the National Party went together because I can tell you now that as far as I understand, that was a coalition but after that the National Party joined the ANC.
The ACTING CHAIRPERSON (Mr S J Mohai): You are now entering the debate because that is the point of debate. Let us allow the Minister to proceed with the debate. Thank you, members. [Interjections.]
The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT: Hon Chairperson, we are not going to privatise Metrorail because the train is one of the cheapest modes of transport in this country. The moment you privatise it, it will become very expensive and not be accessible to poor people who come from townships and villages. Let us set the record straight, Chairperson, we do not have Gupta tenders in Prasa. [Interjections.]
AN HON MEMBER: Now, everything is about the Guptas.
The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT: Let somebody come and say that this is a tender by the Guptas. The Public Protector conducted an investigation and she found no Gupta there. There is no President Mugabe who wants to get money from Prasa and retire to Dubai. Do not make frivolous statements and insult heads of state of other countries. It is not on record that any tender has been given to the Guptas. It is a pity that Shabangu is not here. To just come and make statements which are not factual is not correct. We do not have Guptas in Prasa. Of course, we are going to appoint the board in
Prasa at the end of this month. Points have to be outlined and we make meaningful contributions.
The Western Cape is one of the biggest beneficiaries of the Metrorail. In the new projects, Metrorail here, will invest not less than R8,4 billion to Western Cape alone, in terms of the new projects. So, I do not know what they are talking about when they say we are not investing here. It is not factual. [Interjections.] In terms of the Blue Downs Network extension, we are going to spend R3,5 billion for the construction which will reduce travel time between Bellville, the Metro as well as the south east. We are going to pay R2,5 billion in the project of linking the airport. The Philippi Train Station Modernisation is at 60-79% completion and the signalling programme in the Western Cape will be upgraded by
R2,5 billion to modify the remote control system and reduce signalling failures.
For Helen Zille to say she wants to come with a Bill on rail is just hot air. She must resolve her own problems with Patricia de Lille, Smith and others and deal with the problems of providing housing to our poor people here. She should not get involve in a project where she will not even have a cent to budget for.
Therefore, hon Grant, let us work together as you have said to make sure that we provide better services in the Western Cape. Tell your premier that what she is talking about is neither here nor there because you are a businessman and you can do costing. We are spending money on the refurbishment of existing fleet whereby metro coaches will be refurbished by Transnet at a cost of R1,36 billion in this regard. We have a programme on depot modernisation to support train operations in Gauteng, Western Cape and Durban. In the Medium-term Expenditure Framework, MTEF, we will spend R2 billion in this regard. On the signalling renewal project, the construction in Gauteng will cost R5,4 billion. As I have said, Chairperson, we have a problem of theft and vandalism. It is just that my friend hon Khawula has left. We are going to spend R2 billion in KwaZulu-Natal on a signalling renewal project. We have a programme to replace rails, turnouts, slippers and also balanced screening. This is a lot of money that we are spending.
In terms of station modernisation we are going to improve on the PA systems, CCTV and walk-away automatic ticketing system. When I was in Nancefield, we spent not less than R12 million to modernise that station. The next day after opening it, everything was vandalised in that station. On the new locomotives, for the first time, unlike during apartheid, we will build or manufacture 580 new trains which
we are going to deploy in the Western Cape, Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape. Already 20 of those trains were unveiled by President Zuma in July this year. We are busy delivering those trains. You can go to Danota in Nigel. We are not talking fiction like hon Shabangu who was fictitious and has left. They are there and the construction will be starting soon. We have a timeframe and we are starting with the new train at the end of this year or early next year.
In the Eastern Cape, we are going to spend R2 billion in Motherwell in Port Elizabeth to make sure that 20 000 daily passengers are transported. So, this is all that we are doing and we are putting wall constructions in hot spots where there are problems more especially here in the Western Cape.
Therefore, let us all work together for the better life of our people and stop grandstanding. Thank you very much.
The ACTING CHAIRPERSON (Mr S J Mohai): Thank you very much Minister for leading this debate. MECs present here, special delegates and hon members we conclude this important debate on reliable and safe passenger rail transport. Building a reliable and safe passenger rail transport remains a key priority. So, it is our view that
transport remains the heartbeat of South Africa’s economy. We want to thank members that participated in this debate for their contributions and I want to remind members that immediately after the House adjourns members should remain here in the Chamber for a quick rundown about the provincial week of the NCOP next week. All of us delegates will be back in our provinces.
The Council adjourned at 16:25.