ATCC220630: Report of the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings on the Executive Undertakings made by the Minister of Transport during the House Sitting of 27 October 2020, As Adopted on 24 June 2022
REPORT OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE ON PETITIONS AND EXECUTIVE UNDERTAKINGS ON THE EXECUTIVE UNDERTAKINGS MADE BY THE MINISTER OF TRANSPORT DURING THE HOUSE SITTING OF 27 OCTOBER 2020, AS ADOPTED ON 24 JUNE 2022
On 27 October 2020, the President made the following executive undertakings during the question and answer session in the National Council of Provinces (House):
- Executive Undertaking 1: “The National Treasury has granted approval of R900 million for the implementation of the Passenger Rail Agency of SA, Prasa, Security Plan to combat the theft and vandalism of rail infrastructure. Part of the plan is to immediately appoint security personnel and to deploy remotely piloted aircraft systems to conduct virtual patrols of high-risk infrastructure.”
- Executive Undertaking 2: “The plan will also involve the creation of an internal security capability for armed response, control room operations as well as increasing the number of physical security officials on the ground. I must say that this has already commenced.”
- Executive Undertaking 3: “An e-guarding solution will be introduced for the protection of mission critical assets such as substations for electricity, relay rooms and communication sites, with early warning security technology and defence security systems.”
- Executive Undertakings 4: “We are also embarking on ensuring that we very, very thoroughly identify those who have been involved in vandalising, destroying and stealing infrastructure that is meant to support the livelihoods of our people.”
- Executive Undertakings 5: “We are going to ensure that we beef up security at key rail installations and we will make sure that, using technology, we are then able to identify those who get involved in criminality. We will be using drones to oversee rail lines.”
- REFERRAL PROCEDURE TO THE COMMITTEE
The concerned executive undertakings were referred to the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings (Committee) by the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), for it to scrutinise and subsequently report to the House on their implementation.
After their referral the Committee proceeded to extend an invitation to the Minister to appear before it and report on the progress made by the Department of Transport (Department) in implementing the concerned executive undertakings.
- COMMITTEE MEETING PROCEDURES
On 19 May 2022, the Minister and relevant officials of the Department appeared before the Committee to report on the progress made in implementing the executive undertakings under consideration.
The following Committee Members were present at the meeting:
3.1 Hon Z Mkiva, ANC, Eastern Cape (Chairperson);
3.2 Hon S Shaikh, ANC, Limpopo;
3.3 Hon T S C Dodovu, ANC, North-West;
3.4 Hon E M Mthethwa, ANC, KwaZulu-Natal;
3.5 Hon B M Bartlett, ANC, Northern Cape;
3.6 Hon N E Nkosi, ANC, Mpumalanga;
3.7 Hon C Visser, DA, North West,
3.8 Hon I M Sileku, DA, Western Cape;
3.9 Hon K Motsamai, EFF, Gauteng;
3.10 Hon Zandamela, EFF; Mpumalanga; and
The following Committee officials were in attendance:
3.11 Mr N Mkhize, Committee Secretary;
3.12 Mr X Simelane; Committee Researcher/Acting Content Advisor;
3.13 Mrs N Fakier; Executive Secretary; and
3.14 Mr M Erasmus, Committee Assistant
The following representatives of the Department of Transport appeared before the Committee during the meeting:
3.15 Hon FA Mbalula – Minister;
3.16 Mr. L Ramtlakane-Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) Board Chairperson;
3.17 Mr. Z Matthews-Chief Executive Officer of PRASA;
3.18 Ms JL Fosu-Chief Financial Officer of PRASA; and
3.19 Ms T Mpondo -Parliamentary Liaison Officer
- PROGRESS REPORT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
The Department reported as follows:
- Executive Undertaking 1:
PRASA reported that it has appointed 3100 internal security officers in various positions from Protection officers to control room operators. They also indicated that remote piloted systems or drones are currently deployed by external security companies and an example can be seen on the Mabopane to Pretoria corridor. And internal capacity for drone operators is currently being specified for the 2022/2023 phase of PRASA security plan.
4.2 Executive Undertaking 2:
PRASA reported that it has created internal armed response units nationally. Part of the 3100 internally employed security personnel are dedicated to armed response units. PRASA further reported that physical security has been deployed in various positions including control room operators, as well as bolstering the hybrid model of internal security and external security service providers.
- Executive Undertaking 3:
It was reported that PRASA security embarked on a country-wide risk assessment that took all assets into consideration. A team of specialists travelled across the PRASA infrastructure and developed specifications for security technologies and E-Guarding systems. The Committee was made aware that security technologies which will be going out on tender have been developed into eight service packages covering from CCTV to early warning detection systems.
- Executive Undertaking 4:
PRASA reported that it has re-ignited the joint operations with law enforcement agencies. Operations include the involvement of South African Police Services (SAPS), State Security Agency (SSA) and Crime Intelligence. PRASA has brought in security specialists that are deeply entrenched in intelligence driven operations and gathering. Further indicating that multiple successful operations are starting to bear fruit.
- Executive Undertaking 5:
In conclusion, PRASA reported that it will be intensifying its security from the 1st June 2022 with additional security service providers being deployed into 16 Corridors. An additional 1500 armed and unarmed security personnel will be deployed to bolster efforts to the current work being done to reinstate PRASA corridors.
Lastly, it reported that drone operations are currently being driven together with the external security deployments; however internal capacity will be built in 2022/2023 accordingly.
5. OBSERVATIONS AND KEY FINDINGS
In noting the progress report given by the Department of Transport in relation to the implementation of the executive undertakings under review, the Committee made the following observations and key findings:
5.1 The Committee noted that Prasa was in the rebuilding process and security plans had already been implemented.
5.2 The Committee noted that the Minister admitted he was not happy with the performance of Prasa. And further admitted there were delays on some plans because of changes to personnel and depletion of capacity.
5.4 Lastly, the Committee noted the submission by the Prasa Acting Group CEO, that an attack on Transnet was affecting their services and required collaboration in an integrated approach between Eskom, Prasa and Transnet.
6.1 The Department to expedite the process of attending to the following projects:
- to increase the security capability;
- a faster recovery in rebuilding the stations and corridors;
- Problem of ghost payments be finalised; and
- The Department to ensure there is greater transparency and communication around the procurement processes.
6.2 The Committee concluded that a time frame of three months must be set for the Department to report back to the NCOP on the implementation of the above recommendations by providing the NCOP with a progress report in this regard.
Report to be considered.