Hansard: NCOP: Unrevised hansard
House: National Council of Provinces
Date of Meeting: 12 Mar 2021
No summary available.
MINI PLENARY - NATIONAL ASSEMBLY (VIRTUAL) FRIDAY, 12 MARCH 2021
PROCEEDINGS OF THE MINI-PLENARY SESSION - NATIONAL ASSEMBLY
The House met at 12:00.
The House Chairperson (Ms M G Boroto) took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G BOROTO): Hon members, before we proceed I just want to remind all of us that the virtual mini- plenary is deemed to be in the precinct of Parliament and constitutes a meeting of the NA for debating processes only.
In addition to the rules of the virtual sitting, the Rules of the NA including the rules of debate do apply.
Members enjoy the same powers and privileges that apply in the sitting of the NA. Members should equally make note that anything said in the virtual platform is deemed to have been said to the House and may be ruled upon. All members who have
logged in shall be considered to be present and are requested to mute their microphones. I see hon Terblanche’s microphone is still on. And only unmute when recognised to speak. This is because these mics are very sensitive and we’ll pick up noise which might disturb the attention other members when recognised to speak. Unmute microphone and connect your video. In connection of the video ... [Interjections.] ... Hey, hon De Freitas! Hon De Freitas, we can’t even hear the language you’re speaking, please switch off your mic.
Members may make use of the icons on the bar at the bottom of their screens, which has an option that allows a member to put his/her hand to raise points of order. The secretariat will assist in alerting the Chairperson to members requesting to speak. When using the virtual system members are urged to refrain or desist from unnecessary points of order and interjections.
ADDRESSING THE CONSTRAINTS THAT IMPACT THE ROAD TRANSPORT SECTOR IN DEALING WITH CONFLICT IN THE TRUCKING INDUSTRY AND HAVE A NEGATIVE IMPACT ON THE ECONOMY
(Subject for discussion)
Mr L E MCDONALD: Hon house Chairperson, hon Minister of Transport, Deputy Minister of Transport, hon Members of Parliament, members of the Portfolio Committee on Transport, fellow South Africans and hon members.
The debate today focuses primarily on the devastating loss of lives and livelihoods of ordinary workers and citizens of South Africa and the senseless destruction of vehicles and goods; a common occurrence of late.
But to understand the problem, we need to go back to look at the root causes of this behaviour. The split of freight movement from the road and rail network in South Africa has moved strongly towards roads after the deregulation of freight movement. This has led to an excess of 500 000 heavy vehicles on our roads. Trucking and trade go together, like love and marriage; as the old song goes. On the back of this marriage, truck sales have grown steadily over the years and even during the economic downturn it is expected to increase by around 3% year on year. Around 90%of the freight transported in this country is by road.
However, as in love and in marriage, it’s not always plain
sailing. Movement of freight using roads is a cut-throat
business; many operators are being squeezed out of business, owing to competition, price sensitivity and the plain lack of business.
Rail, too, is making something of a come back and this combined with steps to reduce wear and tear on our roads, will place further pressure on the industry. This is where the problem starts, the love of money, or commonly called profiteering, aka capitalism.
In the interest to make the most money foreign nationals are hired, documented and undocumented, because they don’t belong to organized labour and are willing to work longer hours for less. Against this backdrop, it is easy to see how owners can find themselves taking shortcuts by employing cheaper, less qualified drivers, requiring drivers to work longer hours and even skimping on servicing and maintenance. Such an approach, however, is extremely dangerous and is likely to increase the pressure that is holding the industry back. Some are paid for only for every load they complete, making them a danger on the roads because they don’t rest.
What adds to the fire is the ease at which foreign nationals can obtain public drivers permit, PDP, permits. South African
citizens have to do a criminal record clearance, but foreign nationals are exempted; they only need a letter from their country that can’t even be verified. How can that be fair? Our own citizens that are desperate for work have difficulty to obtain PDPs but it’s as easy as 1-2-3 for foreigners.
Chairperson, as you can see, this is what makes this a ticking bomb and understandably, this causes conflict between the have and have nots.
But that said the ANC lead South African government should take urgent measures to protect foreign national truck drivers from violence, intimidation, harassment but also urgently address the inefficiencies of the PDP licensing and the protection of South African jobs that foreigners so easily can occupy.
As the ANC we strongly condemn the senseless loss of lives and plead with the masses, don’t take matters in your own hands.
Give the law enforcement agencies and the Home Affairs Department, in particular, space to deal with these illegal and undocumented drivers and the monopoly capital that employ these foreign drivers.
One of the first starting points to permanently address this issue is the Portfolio Committee on Transport to meet with the Portfolio Committee on Police and state-owned enterprises, SOEs, to map out a holistic approach to bring a lasting solution to a very complex issue. This is also a need for serious consultations with the freight trucking industry; this will shape the future with less carnage and destruction.
The ANC has long resolved that in the interest of South Africa we need to move freight from road to rail; this is heavily reinforced in policy documents of the last few years.
Transport infrastructure is a critical ingredient in economic development of South Africa at all levels of income. It supports personal well-being and economic growth. Transport infrastructure plays a role as a capital input into production and wealth generation.
During the covid period the truck freight industry kept the economy ticking; for that we are truly thankful. But this also brought its own problem, with closed weight bridges the truck owners quickly started to cash in on the opportunity with massive overloading happening on all our nation and provincial roads.
Economic growth demands an adequate transport infrastructure. Overloading vehicles, especially freight vehicles, are destroying our roads, impacting negatively on economic growth; the damage caused grows exponentially as the load increases.
Damages to the roads as a result of overloading leads to higher maintenance and repair costs and shortens the life of a road which in turn places an additional burden on the state as well as law-abiding road users who ultimately carry the costs of careless and inconsiderate overloading.
If the problem of overloading is not controlled, this cost has to be carried by the road user, which will require significant increases in road user charges such as the fuel levy, vehicles license fees and overloading fees, to mention just a few.
Overloading is a safety hazard that leads to unnecessary loss of life, and also the rapid deterioration of our roads, resulting in increased maintenance and transportation costs.
As the freight trucking industry grows it exposes a fundamental problem in South Africa, the trucks are destroying road infrastructure faster than government, national and provincial, can maintain them.
The question here is, is the freight trucking industry contributing enough to the fiscus to sustain the costs to the roads?
One of the ways to balance the industry would be to reintroduce legislation to regulate the trucking industry with road use levies to mitigate the cost to our roads. But the best option is to get the freight back onto our rail networks.
But how do we do this when freight rail is slow, inefficient and expensive, and doing this without loss of jobs in the freight trucking industry?
Meanwhile the existing rail network can be considered to be hugely underutilized because the service provided by Transnet is not complying to the needs of the economy. Huge underinvestment in rail infrastructure and rolling stock contributing to the situation.
Transnet rail has priced itself completely out of the market. This state-owned enterprise needs to get back to its basic business model of moving freight by rail fast and efficiently.
In our President Ramaphosa’s recent state of the nation address he reiterated the Infrastructure Investment Plan that would see huge investment and modernization of the rail infrastructure network and maintenance of the key road corridors.
The idea of shifting freight from road to rail has existed as an environmental aspiration for three decades, but calculating the potential benefits has often been difficult. We should aspire to a multimodal freight and logistics centre which enables the transfer of freight between road and rail has produced statistics showing it could remove 103 million kilometres of truck journeys from our roads in the next year alone. This figure is almost three times more than previously thought.
The ability of rail freight to reduce congestion and pollution on roads is far greater than previously thought. Strategic rail freight interchanges should be developed with the help of the private sector to support rail freight. We now need the government to support rail by upgrading the existing network and setting affordable charges to enable rail to remove even more freight trucks from our congested roads.
The Portfolio Committee on Transport is in the process of finalising the Economic Transport Regulator; this would greatly assist the country in reducing costs to haul freight. This Bill, championed by the ANC, will be a game changer in all aspects of economic regulation in the transport industry.
The trucks need to be reduced; how this needs to be done should be fast tracked. I thank you.
Mr C H H HUNSINGER: Thank you Chairperson. Before I start, allow me on behalf of the DA to offer our condolences and sympathy upon the sad news of the passing of king Goodwill Zwelithini.
The negative impact on our economy and related constraints that impact on road transportation is a consequence of bluff management, fix nothing decisions and razzmatazz insight by government.
Truck driving is by definition a hazardous job, with the constant threat of crashes, crime, looting, poor roads and bad weather. And then, just to increase the risk, as a truck driver in South Africa, you get no protection nor attention despite several high-risk zones that are well known. Even
worse, not a single response followed after numerous attempts by stakeholders and specialists who offered help with monitoring, tracking and surveillance solutions ranging from potholes to attacks.
Realising what it must feel like to be engulfed by flames in a confined driver’s cab when petrol bombs and rocks fly through your windscreen, it can be no understatement to say that truckers are going through hell in an effort to earn a living.
Mindful of what transpired during lockdown stages 4 and 5, the huge contribution by our truckers to the economy ought to have been recognised but instead they were ignored and snubbed. Our persistent calls on behalf of truckers for a daily hot meal, facilities to refresh and safe places to rest were equally and outrightly rejected. Fleet owners and supporting stakeholders added hugely in keeping our country and economy afloat.
Without them our shelves would’ve been void and shops empty.
Shamefully, despite all efforts by the DA, no response followed on calls asking for validity extension on vehicle licences, let alone waiving it in appreciation for their work when all else was standing still.
Based on the Ctrack, Freight Track and Transport Index, we are 5,6% low ... the 2019 levels and 7% below the all-time high achievements of 2018. This shows that before the first COVID-
19 lockdown, our transport economy already backslid. All road to rail efforts thus far have failed and if any meaningful progress is to be achieved with the constant increase in road haulage volumes, a serious assessment of all our freight and cargo terminals would need to be undertaken as a matter of urgency.
Without exception, all our bulk facilities, import and export, container clearance and holding yards are in the wrong places and not linked to any rail distribution network or effectively positioned next to any of our road corridors.
For many years, air freight has been one of the fastest growing freight transport sectors. However, since the tourism industry remains under immense pressure, this has changed significantly as traditional passenger aircraft now carry more cargo than actual freight aircraft. Yet, not a single rail terminal is anywhere near any of our airports. Airfreight covers only 2% of the freight that crosses our borders by weight, compared to 60% of sea freight. However, airfreight
makes up 30% of the value cross-border trade. A noteworthy game changer which only the trucking sector has responded to.
Often referred to as the arteries of South Africa’s economy, the general condition of our road surfaces is bad. The huge road maintenance backlog contributes negatively to economic growth and not just for trucks. This due to vehicle damage and freight losses ever increasing, minus values and charges to the base cost of transportation. Roads don’t get fixed because
nationally the SA National Roads Agency SOC Limited, Sanral, is the preferred beneficiary in budget allocations over provinces and over municipalities.
A very basic five-year budget comparison between provinces and Sanral shows the following. Mindful that our nine provinces look after 273 000km of road and Sanral looks over a mere
21 000km, the nine provinces received a R4,1 billion increase compared to Sanral’s R11,4 billion more over the last five years.
Given this antifunding approach by the ANC, naturally bad road conditions everywhere else are navigating vehicles to the Sanral road franchise with ever-increasing e-tolls and toll fees. A recent study indicating the impact of the Gauteng
Freeway Improvement Project, GFIP, e-toll charges on the mining industry of Mpumalanga concluded a 17% increase to the base cost to the province, which shows that the GFIP e-toll’s economic impact is far wider negative in consequence yet this is still not realised and hardly considered whenever mentioned. Equal in truth of saying that you find a good road or good roads not because of a great economy, instead that you build a great economy after establishing a reliable road network, the fact is that our economy will fail if our roads fail.
Roads and transport infrastructure should be at the heart of the economic recovery of South Africa; something the DA thoroughly understands and will manage a lot better. I thank you.
Ms N J NOLUTSHUNGU: Thank you Chairperson. Allow me to take this opportunity to pass on my condolences to the family of king Goodwill Zwelithini and the family of Mthokozisi Ntumba.
Yanga imiphefumlo yabo ingalala ngoxolo. UThixo abakhanyisele ngokhanyiso olungacimiyo.
The problems of road transportation and in particular road freight challenges must be properly diagnosed if we are not to paper over the cracks.
The most debilitating of these challenges has been and continues to be the government’s inability to revolutionise our road network so as to cater for modern societal and economic needs. We might be fooled by the continuous claims that we have the most complex and extensive road network in the ... [Inaudible.] ... but this is absolutely meaningless if this network is not aligned with population growth and with nodes of industrial development.
As we have in actual fact deindustrialised as a country, we have not developed our road network to the level we should have developed it. What we have is still an apartheid road system aimed at transporting raw materials to the ocean where it would be exported. It is this extremely limited view of the developmental possibilities that our roads and road freight in particular can catalyse, that leads to these continuous conflicts in this road freight industry.
The second reason is that exactly because of constraints ... perceptions of the developmental potential of road freight, we have simply left the trucking industry untransformed. It is very much dominated by white people who have a very disdainful perception of African people. They treat their workers like dirt, force them to work under extremely difficult conditions and pay them slave wages. The most vulnerable of African workers to this sort of treatment are our siblings from other African countries. They get paid peanuts and are afforded no basic labour rights that South Africans rightfully demand.
The main enemy therefore is the white owners of the trucking industry who are obsessed with exploiting the cheap and easily dispensable black labour from our African siblings. This is aided and abetted by the ruling party. It is the reluctance of the ruling party to transform this industry that lets whites think they can do as they wish to black workers. It is the refusal of the ruling party to industrialise our economy that has led to a very constrained road freight industry.
We argue that the government does not have any political will to resolve this trucking crisis. Taking into account that the trucking industry has been under siege for more than three years now, there are still no legislative measures in place to
address the issue. To date, the white monopoly capital trucking business refuses to open markets for black players and banks still make it difficult for aspirant new black owners to access finance.
While rail transport is the backbone of many economies as it transports large volumes of people and goods, the inaccessibility of rail in the country has put a lot of strain on road freight. The Passenger Rail Agency of SA, Prasa, has been facing financial problems for a while now and Transnet has been transporting less than 30% of road freight tons in South Africa.
It has also been reported that since 2013, Metrorail has been losing passenger volumes from 50 million passenger journeys to as low as seven million passenger journeys in December 2019.
We therefore recommend that, in order to ensure stability within the trucking industry, the government needs to act urgently in resolving the financial woes at Prasa, including replacing aging infrastructure, so that both passenger and freight transport operate interchangeably.
As it stands, the trucking industry seems to be the only viable mode of transport, which is a threat to our ailing economy, as it remains engulfed by uncertainty, turbulence and shenanigans. And, we all have the ANC to thank for this mess.
Ms F E KHUMALO: Thank you ...
... Sihlalo ohloniphekile, oNgqongqoshe, noSekela Ngqongqoshe, amalungu ahloniphekile, Sihlalo ngivumele ngizithobe ngikhalele iNdlu KaZulu, neNdlukunlu yonke ngokwehlele isizwe saKwaZulu ukuba kulale kuphumule ISilo samaZulu
House Chairperson, over the past year, there has been much reported on conflict in the trucking industry. This conflict occurred at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and served to disrupt the trucking industry, which is involved in road freight. Much of the issues raised in the media about the conflict is espoused by the demands of the Alternative Trucking Drivers Federation were reflected as xenophobic.
The South African truck drivers who are in conflict with foreign nationals as employed by the local trucking industry
and as being favoured. The underlying essence of the problem is economic and related to legislations and regulations which govern the trucking industry.
The conflict also resulted in violence, destruction of trucks, goods and damaged roads infrastructure. Major roads were blocked by truck drivers utilising trucks, which negatively affected the delivery freight under the disaster management regulations. The violent protest was geared towards the destruction of economic activity which is dependent on the logistics and freight transport through trucking. The conflict in the trucking industry had a negative impact on the economy. It is therefore, important that underlying causes and issues which are identified are given appropriate attention by government.
The Road Freight Association and Truck Drivers Association have publicly accepted that 80% of truck drivers in South Africa are South Africans. The Road Freight Association and Truck Drivers Association appealed to government to take action about the violent nature of the protest and the destruction of properties. This destruction of property is objected as it reduces the asset base of the country and comes at an economic cost to the country. It also negatively impacts
on the fiscus as the loss of these properties mean they must be replacement occurs through legally payment less tax.
The Minister of Transport in conjunction with other Minsters from Home Affairs and the security cluster intervened and developed a programme for dealing with this type of economically disruptive protest.
What makes this matter more serious is that besides the minority of drivers in the country being foreign nationals is that trucking industry in South Africa is also complemented by trucking from neighbouring countries. South Africa is seen as the entry point for the delivery of goods of Southern African countries which borders our country.
Therefore, this type of conflict has serious implications to negatively affect our relationship with neighbouring African countries and this should not be allowed to happen.
Whilst the violence and destruction of property must be condemned as there is no justification for that in this country, as the ANC-led government is a caring government, and its doors are open to listen to problems and areas of concerns in order to find workable solutions. However, some of the
underlying causes of the trucking conflict need to be raised and attended too to prevent such an occurrence in the future.
With regard to regulations governing professional driving permit, the condition for South Africans and foreign nationals to obtain it is different. The South African drivers are required to get legal clearance prior to obtaining a professional driving permit, PDP, in comparison to foreign nationals as foreign nationals are not subjected to legal clearance. This means that foreign nationals are obtaining the PDP quicker than South Africans. Many foreign nationals apply for PDP with driver’s licences obtained in other countries in Southern Africa and there is no local verification of the driver’s licences obtained in the neighbouring countries.
The conditions of employment for South African drivers and foreign nationals are not the same as drivers who are foreign nationals gets paid per trip. This means that they optimise income through doing many trips which is a problem from a road safety point of view given the number of hours they spend on the road. The employers of truck drivers have utilised this as a means to reduce domestic labour costs in the trucking industry.
It is therefore important that conditions of employment between drivers must be within the law. The same equality should occur with regard to acquiring ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon Khumalo, just for a second.
Mr X NQOLA: On a point of order. I just wanted to say the hon member must choose whether she wants to show us her face or King Shaka because she keeps on ...
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): No, I am aware of what has been happening. Remember, let’s not talk about that. Just put ... yes, you are fine now. You can proceed. I think your camera was slanting. I didn’t want to disturb you and worry about the background. Thank you. Continue.
Ms F E KHUMALO: Thank you, Chair, am I audible?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Yes, you are.
Ms F E KHUMALO: ... acquiring PDPs as foreign nationals should also be required legal clearance to qualify for PDPs in South Africa.
The conflict in the trucking industry has implications for southern African trade as South African registered trucks to deliver goods in neighbouring countries and trucks from neighbouring countries deliver goods to South Africa and to pick up freight to deliver in neighbouring countries.
South Africa is the point of entry and export for goods for southern African countries. It is important that the African Continent Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA, is not disrupted through such which assumes xenophobic form. Therefore, it is important that the Department of Transport and the single transport regulatory, which is being envisaged through new legislation in conjunction with ... [Inaudible.] ... and labour is able to deal with ... [Time expired.]
Mr K P SITHOLE: Hon Chairperson, ...
Ngivumele ngingobise ikhanda ngikhalele uMntwana wakwaPhindangene, uNdunankulu waKwaZulu, ngikhalele isizwe samaZulu ngokukhothama kweNgonyama. Ngithi isihlahla esikhulu siwile Bayede!
The trucking industry is one of the cornerstones of the road transport sector in South Africa. This industry transports food, textiles, building material, coal, and more recently, the precious covid-19 vaccines.
The trucking industry directly impacts the life of each and every South Africa by transporting goods essentially for daily life. With this in mind, it is therefore apparent that any conflict in the trucking industry will also have a knock-on effect on the economy. This means that a strike action, which is often accompanied by destruction of property and various other acts has a much greater impact than any face value.
Truck owners incur additional costs by paying for the security escort conveyors and other efforts, and they are forced to replace the vehicles. This costs are paid by the men and women on the street, who end up paying more for basic necessities - a cost increase that is motivated by increase in transporting costs.
Then there are the human costs when drivers suffer various injuries and even loss of life. In July 2019, the SA Road Freight Association estimated that over 200 lives had been
lost and that over 1 000 vehicles and car goers had been destroyed since the war on trucks begun.
The SA Road Freight Association further estimated that the costs to the economy was over R1 billion. That was almost two years ago, before the impact of covid-19 further battered our already fragile economy.
Drivers and truck companies are at an impasse with no solution in sight. In November 2020, the President established an
Inter-Ministerial committee that comprise Ministers and senior managers of the Department of Employment and Labour, Home Affairs, Police, Transport and State Security together with the Premier of KwaZulu-Natal following the violent strike actions. In particular, the issue of foreign national drivers has been suggested to be the root of much of the violence.
When launched, the committee announced the intention to review policy, legislation and regulations in matters of migrations and employment and that the President would make a pronouncement as soon as Cabinet had been briefed on the progress to date. It has now been almost three months and no pronouncement, feedback or solution-oriented response had been forthcoming.
We cannot wait any longer. Lives are being lost, property is being damaged or completely destroyed and the ability of the trucking industry to make a possible contribution towards our GDP and the economy as a whole, is being undermined.
Sihambe nje emigwaqeni egcwele imigodi uma uya ko-Free State, Mpumalanga. Sihlalo, ngaleyo ndlela iNkatha Freedom Party icela ukuthi iziphakamiso sikaMongameli ziqaliswe. Ngiyabonga kakhulu.
Thank you very much.
Mr H G APRIL: Hon Chair, hon April is here if Mey is not here.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Okay, unless you have
... You have not reported to the Chief Whip that you are now in the FF Plus ... [Interjections.]
Mr H G APRIL: It was a joke.
Mr S N SWART: House Chair, the ACDP joins other speakers in expressing our deepest condolences on the passing of His
Majesty, King Goodwill Zwelithini. Our thoughts and prayers are with the royal family and the Zulu nation at this sad time. May His Majesty, the King, rest in peace.
The ACDP shares the deep concerns about the increasing number of criminal attacks on the trucking industry, where foreign drivers are sadly the frequent victims. In many cases, these are not isolated incidents, but well planned and co-ordinated attacks. For example, during one night in November alone, 20 trucks were petrol bombed on four main freeways around the Heidelberg area.
These attacks all start the on time. Drivers were attacked, their cargos looted and trucks burned. Stewart O’Leary of Fleet Watch said that this can no longer be regarded as protest action. No matter what the cause of the protest, these attacks are a declaration of war against truckers and the economy which has been well planned over multiple levels.
President Ramaphosa rightfully condemn these attacks, emphasising the negative effects the attacks will have on the economy. It is however up to government and SAPS to deal decisively with these criminal acts. Yet, sadly SAPS and Criminal Intelligence are embroiled in internal conflicts.
The ACDP believes that these attacks are amount to economic sabotage. As a result of poor rail infrastructure, more than 70% of freight is transported by road. It is the trucking industry that not only keeps the wheels of the economy moving but transported food and other necessities during the covid-19 hard lockdown period.
The freight industry needs protection from government. Their cries for help must be heard. Just think, if they decided to go on strike in protest against the lack of protection. Should all trucks stop operating as a form of protest, not only will the economy be devastated, but there will be widespread shortages of food, fuel and other supplies.
Some of the concerns expressed by local truck drivers maybe genuine. Certain companies are not without blame, hiring foreign nationals without proper papers. Their workers are not unionised and are also easy to exploit and are unlikely to demand higher wages, but this does not justify criminality.
It is not only about truck drivers but also about maintaining the rule of law and restoring the economy. The ACDP, in conclusion, calls on the police to crack down and restore law and order on our roads. I thank you.
Mr B S YABO: House Chair, I would like to extend the sincerest of condolences to the nation of the Zulu people for the passing of their king today.
Conflict in the trucking industry has its roots in the form of the conflict which appears as xenophobia but within the economics of the trucking industry. It is also rooted within the legislative and regulatory framework. The focus of this input is on the economics of trucking versus rail, and the rationale for moving freight and goods from road to rail.
The road trucking industry plays a crucial part in the movement of goods and is a leading mode of transport in the freight industry in South Africa and in the southern region. The country also has a very developed rail infrastructure. The cost of freight transport through trucking and high rail tariffs adds to structural inflation in the country and negatively impact on the cost of doing business in the country. This in turn negatively impacts on the development of the economy.
Rail as a mode of transport is far more efficient than trucking and the government wants to move goods from road to rail. This does not necessarily mean that trucking will be
completely diminished and neither does it mean that it will have to result in job losses. Rail is a more efficient mode of transport in comparison to trucking as it can carry a greater volume of goods and hence provides economies of scale.
The rail network is a single nationally integrated network and cannot be split between passengers and cargo transport. One rail entity with cargo and passengers is more economically viable than a split business. In small markets economies of scale are required.
Over the last few years in many parts of the country the rail network has witnessed destructions through vandalism and this negatively affects the efficiency of Transnet fright rail.
This network requires fixing and further development as well as adequate security from any further destruction. This is to ensure the movement of goods from road to rail. This must occur to ensure that there is a reduction in the movement of goods through trucking on the roads in favour of rail which can be more efficient with greater economies of scale.
House Chair, the reduction of trucking for freight of goods will ensure that national and provincial roads will require less maintenance. The limited budget allocation to roads can
then be utilised less for maintenance and more for road development, especially in the rural areas.
Trucking of different types of goods is a highly profitable business in South Africa for two reasons: Firstly, the efficiency of rail and regulated margins which ensures that road transport is more profitable for business rather than rail. Secondly, the weight of the trucks and the number of trucks on national and provincial roads is responsible for damage of the road surfaces. This means the resurfacing and maintenance must occur at greater cost more frequently than should be the case. The case of the N3 from Durban into the inland market is instructive as the road was planned on the basis of resurfacing every seven years, but due to the high usage of this road by trucks it has to be resurfaced every three years.
The issue of weighbridges not being functional in many areas ensures that trucks carry more cargo than is allowed, thereby negatively impacting on the road network and increasing maintenance cost as this is funded by the fiscus. This in turn results in more expensive toll roads that have to be developed by South African National Roads Agency, SANRAL, which leads to increased freight and transport costs.
In the petroleum sector, a large volume of petrol and diesel is transported by trucks on the N3 as the regulatory framework has made this a profitable activity in comparison to pipeline and rail transport. This is a hazardous product and is more safely transported by rail and pipeline. This pattern repeats itself in the mining industry where ore is transported by road instead of rail from the Northern Cape to Richards Bay as the mining companies make a transport margin through trucking. The Transnet pipeline tariff is overpriced as it is benchmarked against road freight and not a singular pipeline or rail.
Transnet rail has priced itself outside of the market as it depends on regulatory margins rather than on the volume of cargo. It can move for its income.
Therefore, trucking is the choice for business to move freight as it allows for transport profitability as trucking of goods is no longer a cost centre by the profit centre. This occurs at the expense of road safety through transport of hazardous products and drivers spending longer hours on the road. There is a need for government to review the Transnet rail business model and regulated margins structure as such a business should not rely on regulatory margins but on the volume of freight delivered. The same review should apply to petroleum
pipelines ad these tariffs are benchmarked against road transport which is the most inefficient for long hall freight.
Chairperson, in the past, regulated tariffs for road transport were based on the return on assets model and was treated as a cost centre and therefore based on cost recovery. However, the capital asset pricing model of National Energy Regulator of South Africa, NERSA, and the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy converted cost centres to profit centres, which made road transport of fuel a very profitable business at the expense of rail and pipeline.
The development of the single transport regulator must ensure efficient price and regulatory margins across all forms of transport, enforcement of regulation and legislation required should be to ensure economic efficiency and road safety for trucks as much as cars, busses or taxis. The opposition, DA, plan for rail is confused and confusing bordering on schizophrenia on the one hand as it suggests that the Western Cape province takeover the Metrorail whereas it does not have the budget for its improvement or function. On the other hand, it suggests in Parliament that Transnet freight rail should be integrated with Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, PRASA, as this will provide integration and economies of scale.
The rail network is a national integrated network with services of both the movement of goods and people. Therefore, it cannot be cut into small provincial pieces and still retain economies of scale. A national integrated plan under a single transport regulator is required to solve this problem, and that is a coherent solution. I thank you.
Mr C H M SIBISI: Hon House Chair ...,
... name angithathe leli thuba egameni likaMhlonisahwa wethu uMongameli ukukhala nesizwe, neNdlunkulu, nabantwana baKwaZulu ngokukhothama koNgangezwe lakhe. Sithi uNgangezwe lakhe akaphumule kahle. Abantwana neNdlunkulu baqine.
House Chair, it is vitally important that we tighten up measures to address the constraints that impact road transportation. I could not agree more with this because transportation plays a very key role in the economic growth and development of this country. The more these constraints prevail and remain unaddressed it affects the cost of transportation which in turn affects consumption prices and that is felt directly by the South African citizens.
Towards the end of last year, we saw reports about 84 trucks that were burned in protest by local truck drivers who are complaining of being marginalised in favour of foreign nationals. That protest claimed the life of one driver. It is becoming a norm in South Africa for a life to be lost during strikes and this must be condemned. There were also reports that most truck companies were getting more security which would lead to [Inaudible.] increase and possibly a job [Inaudible.].
The trucking industry creates a lot of jobs in the country. If these matters are left unaddressed it is a direct attack to the economy. The Bargaining Council claim that according to its statistics the industry employed 44 021 local truck drivers and 6 756 foreigners. According to Stellenbosch University and the World Bank, the cost of South African logistics is estimated to be 11,8% of gross domestic product. Total turnover for the logistics industry for enterprises only involved in mining, retail and manufacturing was estimated to be R274 billion in 2018.
The transportation industry costs the centre of the economy. We as the NFP would like to concede with the notion that
suggest that constraints in this sector must be addressed in a prioritised fashion. Thank you, House Chair.
Mr M G E HENDRICKS: Thank you very much, hon House Chair. Hon House Chair, it is said that a person travelling is a guest and must be given all the comforts as he walks along the road. This sector is affected by cross-border truck congestions, increasing cargo hijacks, riots and protests. The ... [Inaudible.] ... of 30 kilometres longer at the Mozambique border what close to 400 trucks and we can only reduce a backlog in increments of 4 kilometres a day. Our road network is vital to prosperous South Africa. We have a champion in a Minister of Transport and we must wait for his continuous leadership to resolve all these problems.
The Minister must encourage drones to replace some of our trucks, and these drones will then fly above our roads. I just wonder if the Minister is up to this, to meet the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the new abnormal and the internet-of-things. Thank you very much, hon House Chair.
Mr W W WESSELS: Sorry, House Chairperson, there is a technical problem and hon Mey is not able to connect and we are going to
... [Inaudible.] ... on the platform. Therefore, we apologise for that.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Okay, so there won’t be anybody taking the slot there. You won’t be speaking on behalf of him. Thank you.
Mr P MEY: Sorry, I’m available.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): You are there, hon Mey. Thank you very much. Sorry for the network problems, you may proceed.
Mnr P MEY: Om ’n land ekonomies te laat groei moet dit oor ’n goeie vervoerstelsel beskik. Padvervoer het die afgelope 10 jaar geweldig toegeneem. Die grootste rede is die verval van die treinstelsel.
Padvervoer het groot uitdagings om te oorkom. Een van die grootstes is die toename in misdaad. Eienaars doen alles in hul vermoë om werkers en die vrag te beskerm. ’n Voertuig wat uitgebrand word, neem maande om te vervang, as gevolg van die versekeringseise wat aankoop vertraag.
Ons sien ook dat daar gereeld stakings is deur werkers, as gevolg van hoë lone en werksomstandighede. Die afgelope tyd het ons gesien dat werkers vir weke staak, omdat swak bestuurders uit Afrika in diens geneem is. Die maatskappy het dit egter ontken.
Daar is groot tekort aan goed opgeleide en betroubare bestuurders wat die vrag op tyd kan aflewer. Ons het ook baie meer opleiding nodig. Baie bestuurders doen ook nie aansoek nie, omdat hulle vrees vir hul lewens.
Swak paaie het ook ’n baie negatiewe effek op padvervoer en baie geld word bestee aan die herstel van vragmotors en die bande moet ook gereeld ten duurste vervang word.
Die brandstofprys wat gedurig styg, raak nie net die eienaars nie, maar ook die mense op grondvlak, want pryse styg. Swak infrastruktuur is ’n groot oorsaak van ongelukke en baie mense sterf.
Swak paaie word deur misdadigers uitgebuit en hulle gebruik stilstaande voertuie om te hijack [kaap] en bestuurders aan te hou.
Duur versekeringspremies word betaal om die vrag en werkers te beskerm. Die regering sal baie geld moet bestee om die vloei van voertuie by grensposte te verbeter. ’n Voertuig wat staan, kos die eienaar geld.
Padvervoer het die belangrikste in Suid-Afrika geword. Dit word deur die meeste mense gebruik en verkies, omdat aflewering vining is. Alle klein dorpies kan vinnig bereik word en deur-tot-deur aglewering neem toe, as gevolg van aanlynverkope.
Ons mag nie net op padvervoer steun nie. Ons moet minder voertuie op ons paaie kry, en die enigste oplossing is dat spoorvervoer dringend verbeter moet word.
Mr T B MABENA: Sihlalo, angithome ngokudlulisa amezwi wokutjhiriya esitjhabeni sakwaZulu ngokucima kwelanga kwengwenyama yesitjhaba samaZulu, iSilo Samabandla woke ingwenyama uGoodwill Zwelithini. Sithi ummoya wengwenyama
ulale ngokuthula. UZumi athobe iinhliziyo ezibuhlungu kilabo abalimeleko.
Ngilotjhisa soke isitjhaba.
Hon House Chairperson, while trucks were being torched lives lost, livelihoods affected and the economy tanking as far back as 2018. ANC Ministers were busy carrying bags of money worth millions of rand out of the State Security Agency headquarters in Pretoria. Among other things to influence judges, students’ movements election in the Western Cape and other devious and moral bankrupt ANC sponsored crisis across the country. Hon House Chairperson, the road freight industry contributes about R121 billion to the economy and with an estimated cost due to the violence against the economy between R1,5 billion and
The alleged reason for the attacks on trucks is that local drivers object to the employment of foreign drivers. Although not only foreign trucks have been attacked, their drivers are assaulted and many losing their lives in the process. South African citizens have also been affected which then confirms that the lazy dismissal of this issue as a spate of xenophobic
attack as offered by hon Macdonald is inconclusive and insufficient. Hon House Chairperson, throughout all of this chaos the ANC government and police response have been pathetic to say the least. There is a saying that people get a government that they vote for and not a government they wish for.
This ANC government has failed and continues to fail. As far back as May 2018, 35 trucks were looted and torched on the entry resulting in the closure of the entry for 48 hours. The mantra and rhetoric from this ANC government was to shout from the highest peaks of mountains that this was economic sabotage. One would think that having made this undertaking, the department and the relevant state agencies would have crafted a plan and by now to ... [Inaudible.] ... the issue in the ... [Inaudible.] ... However, the reality is that the State Security Agency’s capacity and operations are compromised and that leaves our country vulnerable.
Hon House Chairperson, at the peak of this issue on average 30 to 40 cases truck attacks a month were reported. In 2019, an estimated of 1 300 trucks were attacked, damaged and destroyed with the highest concentration being on 2 June 2019, where 17 truck trailer racks were torched on the N3 in KwaZulu-Natal.
This highway linking Gauteng to Durban, Africa’s business port was closed for hours on that chaotic day. At least 60 trucks have been torched nationwide today during the highest peak month being in May 2019.
Hon House Chairperson, I asked the question in the portfolio committee to the director-general, DG, of transport on the collaboration between intelligence, defence and the police on the progress of any interventions through the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure and we never received any satisfactory reply which confirms that we are in deep trouble.
Hon House Chairperson, the Department of Transport is a Ministry that has no direction, inspires no leadership and a department that has a very troubling and hostile relationship with the truth. This motion as important as it is, is just proof enough that at the core of the issue is not individuals, but the crux of the issue is the friction and confusion between the ANC caucus in the committee and the Department of Transport.
Hon House Chairperson, the ANC speakers are asking questions in this debate and offer no solutions. The DA will offer the
below solutions on their behalf. Number one, initiate and co- ordinate an ad hoc subcommittee within the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure and locate the response within the Presidency with weekly tracking and monitoring and reporting. Secondly, immediately implement the recommendations of the High Level Review Panel on the State Security Agency by Dr Sydney Mufamadi’s report and restore confidence in the intelligence sector. Thirdly, co-ordinate and devolve the rapid response through provincial governments and roping the Metro Police Departments of eThekwini, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni. Fourthly, create a route freight directorate within the Department of Transport to co-ordinate an offer ongoing support which includes but not limited to daily hot meals facilities to refresh and safe resting places to our route freight sector. Lastly, fire the Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula, fire the Minister of Police, Mr Bheki Cele, and the National Police Commissioner, General Khehla Sitole, and restore confidence in our law enforcement agencies. I thank you.
The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT: House Chairperson, allow me to join the hon members in conveying condolences to the Zulu nation and the entire family ...
... ngokulahlekelwa yiSilo. Sithi nxesi akwehlanga lungehlanga. Umuthi omkhulu uwile.
Indeed, the big tree of the baobab has fallen.
We also convey our condolences to the family of our brother in Gauteng yesterday, Mr Mthokozisi Ntumba.
The act that happened on his passing away ... we join the President of the Republic in condemning that act by the SA Police Service, taking away the life of Mthokozisi.
The road freight sector is the dominant means of land freight transport in South Africa. As a consequence, there are a number of highly effective road freight operations that are managed to world-class standards. This is the lifeblood of the national freight logistics system, moving more than 80% of all industrial cargo.
However, there is a growing number of substandard operations which are generally under-capitalised, lack managerial and technical skills, use poorly maintained vehicles and depend on low levels of enforcement to survive.
In South Africa, there is an annual total land freight volume of approximately 1,67 billion tons, with road freight transporting 1,5 billion tons, and rail approximately
220 million tons annually.
In the evaluation of modal potential and the scope for competition between modes, the major determinants of modal choice are the freight characteristics of the commodities as well as the service demands of the industries which form the market for transport services for specific commodities.
Critical challenges facing the road freight logistics sector include barriers to entry for first-time trucking companies. This creates an unfair advantage for established firms and continues to hinder first-time entries into the business. Such barriers include operational experience in logistics, access to capital, vehicle finance, pre-tender requirements by the industry such as strict quality management systems and road transport management systems.
There is an undeniable need for human resource capitalisation in the sector. This is demonstrated by the increasing employment of foreign nationals in contravention of labour laws which provides that priority be given to South Africans unless there is a scarce skill or skills shortage which ought to be dealt with thoroughly, reskilling where necessary.
President Ramaphosa has mandated an interministerial committee led by the Minister of Labour and Employment to address the matters relating to the attacks on trucks driven by foreign nationals. The interministerial committee is composed of the Ministers of Labour, Transport, Home Affairs, Police, Trade, Industry and Competition, State Security, Small Business, Tourism, International Relations as well as ... [Inaudible.]
... and Constitutional Development.
In tackling these challenges, we must appreciate that we are facing a major challenge to supply chains and freight logistics across the SADC region, which may also contribute to elevated security threats. The lawlessness that has characterised the conduct of these aggrieved who elect to take the law into their own hands is something we must all condemn in the strongest possible terms. That condemnation is something I have not heard in the Chamber today. Not only is
this conduct unacceptable, it should also be nipped in the bud. As a consequence of this conduct, we have seen our neighbours in the region putting up legal barriers against South African drivers entering their national territories.
Between 2018 and 2021, 175 trucks have been torched, 104 damaged and eight hijacked. We must firm up our own policies because driving is not a skill we don’t have. We have it galore. We don’t have to import that skill from anywhere else. We must deal with the challenges and firm up our own policies and implement them thoroughly.
While six drivers were killed and 17 injured, our law enforcement authorities are investigating 257 cases related to these incidents. The destruction of trucking property leads to disruptions in economic activity.
South Africa has longstanding agreements in respect of labour migration of foreign nationals to work in various sectors, particularly the mining sector. In recent years we have seen rampant disregard by freight logistics companies of labour and immigration laws which regulate the employment of foreign nationals across various sectors. We have agreed that there is an urgent need to convene a meeting of SADC Ministers of
economic and security clusters together with the Department of International Relations and Co-operation to address these matters decisively. This meeting must, among other things, make a firm commitment to co-ordinate labour migration policies and promote free movement of goods.
The rule of law and the centrality of law enforcement remain cornerstones of our constitutional democracy. Our law enforcement agencies have been hard at work on this matter. We have no doubt that the success in arresting these criminals — who, under the guise of legitimate protests embark on violent conflict and torching of trucks — lie in the ability of our law enforcement authorities to speedily conclude investigations, and apprehend and prosecute those found guilty of these crimes.
While long-term interventions are being put in place, we are committed to the following actions to arrest the illegal conduct. Hon Mabena, now listen carefully.
Enhance existing joint enforcement operations between the SAPS, the Department of Labour, the Department of Home Affairs, and the Road Traffic Management Corporation. Such law enforcement operations will include unannounced inspections at
the premises of noncompliant operators and logistics companies.
Strengthen the process of validation and verification of immigration documents, work permits and foreign driver’s licenses. In the case of driver’s licences, a synchronised process between countries is proposed. This will ensure that operators are accorded the same treatment in the despatching and receiving of countries.
The National Roads Traffic Act requires foreign operators to make use of an operator card. The rationale for such a provision is to enable government to manage situations in which an operator does not follow the relevant laws in South Africa. This card will have a finite validity period and noncompliance with the relevant laws will result in the deregistration of the operator in question. The review will also include determining a validity period for professional driving permits for foreign drivers. It is our expectation that these rules will be applied uniformly in all member countries of SADC.
The criminality that has characterised the road freight industry must never sully the timeless bonds forged in the
trenches between our people in the region. It is for that very reason that we are committed to redoubling our efforts to deal this criminal conduct a debilitating blow, and to throw the book at those who undermine the rule of law.
The challenges that confront us in the trucking industry have emphasised the urgency of putting in place an effective economic regulation regime for the transport sector. Effective government oversight and economic regulation is needed to ensure technical, operational and pricing efficiency across the transport sector.
Linked to this is addressing the challenges brought about by the fact that more than 80% of all industrial cargo is transported by road. The benefit of the restructuring of our rail policy framework will be to increase the efficiency of rail logistics, lower freight rates, and create more reliable and a wider selection of rail services. Removal of monopolies for rail services will promote private sector investment and involvement in rail industries which will then allow integration and ensure that existing and future rolling stock is better utilised.
More volume on rail will result in the reduction of haulage. Ensuring that more tonnage is moved on rail will yield revenues, improve rail services to provide competitive ... [Inaudible.] ... for the environment. Expansion of the rail industry and integration into an overall logistics framework will reduce the need for government capital expenditure and, through the modernisation of the rail services, create opportunities for investment by private sector operators.
Revitalisation and expansion of the railway industry and the provision of opportunities for investment and involvement by the private sector will permit further BBBEE company creation and investment. Thank you.
Mr L E MACDONALD: House Chairperson, this debate is very important and was long overdue.
The consensus across all parties here was that we need to immediately move freight from road to rail. But, in the process of doing this, we need to encourage the trucking industry to start complying with the rules and laws of this country and make sure that they do not employ undocumented, unlicensed drivers. At the same time, we must ask the people of South Africa not to take the law into their own hands. It
is illegal to take the law into your own hands. We can’t have some citizens destroying others’ livelihoods and their lives.
I would like to add that this was such an important debate, but it always has to be marred by somebody. Hon Mabena could not sit down for one minute and listen to the speech that I presented. I did give solutions. He made it into a political speech. It was not a political speech. It was about the people of South Africa who are dying on the roads every day.
Freight must get off the roads. There is no two ways about that. The ANC-led government is more than capable of producing a product that will not cause job losses in the trucking industry, but which will enhance the trucking industry and, at the same time, bring about public-private participation in the rail industry and create an enormous number of jobs in that industry when we combine Transnet and Prasa back to their original super rail structure and start moving goods from road to rail. Thank you.
The mini-plenary session rose at 13:18.
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