Media statement by Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele at the post-Transport Budget Vote media briefing
3 Jul 2009
President Jacob Zuma told the taxi industry in April to defer negotiations on the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system until after the elections. During the State of the Nation Address President Zuma said the Minister of Transport would resume discussions with the industry by 11 June 2009.
Indeed on 11 June 2009 we met over 2000 representatives of the industry made up of taxi associations and their organized structures nationally. Prior to that, we held fruitful discussions with leaders of the South African National Taxi Council.
On 26 June 2009 we met the leadership of the National Taxi Alliance (NTA) and held similar consultations with provincial departments and affected municipalities. We are now all ready to start a “CODESA” of the taxi industry.
We will encourage the industry to participate in the entire transport value chain. This includes buses, freight, rail, transport finance and fuel to mention a few. For a start our structured engagement focuses on five strategic areas:
1. Implementing the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and other Integrated Public Transport Network (IPTN) Projects;
2. Taxi Subsidization and the Taxi Recapitalization Programme;
3. legislation, licensing and regulatory issues;
4. enterprise development; and
5. communication and stakeholder engagement.
In August the Working Group will submit an interim report and implementation will start by October 2009. We can say we have now entered a phase that is not going to be characterised by conflict. If 2009 is a turning point let it not be said that the taxi industry did not turn.
We must acknowledge that the bus sector is experiencing problems and requires urgent intervention. Durban Transport, one of our subsidized bus services is beset with problems. The present operator opted to discontinue services within eThekwini as from 1 July 2009. The operator cited inadequate subsidies and escalating fuel costs as key to their difficulties. Together with the eThekwini Metro and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport we will find alternative operators as a matter of urgency. We will appoint new operators who will start on 1 August 2009 for a period of 12 months. The city is finalizing discussions with taxi and other bus services to provide additional trips during July to maintain ongoing services. The new operators will only provide management services and drivers since the fleet and depot facilities are owned by the municipality. We will soon release a plan to grow the bus sector as part of local integrated networks and city-to-city services. The Bus Rapid Transit system and the subsidy system are part of this initiative.
Government is investing R25 billion over the MTEF period to stabilize and upgrade rail passenger transport services in our country. Of these, R14 billion is being spent to upgrade rail passenger infrastructure and rolling stock whilst the balance will be funding for rail operations.
Correcting the legacy of apartheid in rural South Africa calls for the creation of an equitable road network. No school, no hospital, no clinic or public facility should be unreachable just because there is no road. To begin with, all public facilities in all communities should be reachable by car. We will build pedestrian bridges where necessary to ensure life continues regardless of whether it has rained or not. To fund this, the budget of the Rural Transport Development Programme (RTDP) needs to increase.
We will pay particular attention to combating fraud and corruption in procurement and tender processes, the Road Accident Fund and drivers’ licences. The contract of the current service provider for the drivers’ smart cards expired on 30 April 2009. It was extended to 31 December 2009 to allow for a proper tender process. We will appoint a new service provider by the end of the year. A new computerised examination system for learner licences will root out fraud and corruption. Plans to computerise all learner licence centres will start immediately. For rural communities new Mobile licence testing centres will bring access closer to all.
Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP) jobs
The EPWP infrastructure sector aims to create 2,374,000 work opportunities using labour-intensive methods over five years. There are very good examples of labour-intensive programmes in many of our provinces which we intend to roll out nationally. We will systematize this approach as we build bridges, roads and other infrastructure throughout the country and in the process create sustainable jobs.
The Rural Road Maintenance programme in KwaZulu-Natal has to date created 42 000 sustainable jobs. These women maintain 21 000 km of road. We will identify 100 000km of road to maintain nationally, which will create 200 000 sustainable jobs. This is part of our contribution to the 500 000 jobs that the President mentioned in the State of the Nation Address.
The emerging contractor programme in road construction creates thousands of job opportunities and promotes Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment. These programmes will be funded from the rural roads component of the Infrastructure Grant of R5 billion.
The complete road safety strategy will be released soon.
Having completed the pilot Road Traffic Infringement Agency in Tshwane and Johannesburg the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) is now ready for implementation. This will include the demerit system which is like acquiring yellow cards until a red card becomes inevitable. The same is now going to apply to your driver’s licence. This is what the demerit means.
You retain or lose your driver’s licence according to your conduct on our shared space, the public roads. This is what the demerit system is all about. It is now going to be part of our lives on South Africa roads. Road safety is no longer going to be left to individual conscience.
We will also bolster traffic law enforcement and education. A total of 145 patrol cars, 20 roadblock trailers and other law enforcement equipment will assist the Special Operations Unit (SOUs) at high accident frequency locations.
We will ensure that the Road Accident Fund creates an equitable, affordable and sustainable funding system for South Africa. The system must eliminate wastages and protect victims and families.
The road infrastructure strategic framework and its action plan will help us assess, prioritise and reclassify the road network. In addition we have developed the South African National Road Agency Limited (Sanral) Strategic Road Network and infrastructure investment plans.
On the issue of the N2 Wild Coast the Minister of Intergovernmental Cooperation and I, will together with the stakeholders ensure that all issues are addressed.
Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has embarked on R20 bn infrastructure development in anticipation of the increase in the number of passengers travelling to South Africa by year 2010. At present ACSA handles more than 32 million passengers annually. The number will be 43million in year 2010 and will continue to grow.
We hope to have finalized the formal naming of the new airport at La Mercy in accordance with national legislation and the regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). This process is under way. This has become urgent taking into account the rules of ICAO which say that a name must be formally filed by the country for it to be registered as an official name. The coming FIFA WORLD CUP calls on us to speed up this process so it can be ready for use.
2010 FIFA World Cup
The Confederations Cup has underlined that the 2010 World Cup is not just about sport, but it is also about transport. A coordinating structure of transport has been established to look at all matters around transport and report to the relevant structures dealing with 2010. It is inclusive of all hosting cities.
Soon, I will personally visit the host cities to assess transport plans for 2010. We will also hold a Transport Lekgotla at the end of August to ensure that our planning is coordinated and synchronized accordingly.
Transport remains critical for a successful 2010 FIFA World Cup because every fan and official at the stadium will use our transport system during the tournament. Through our planned public transport infrastructure of R19.6bn we will ensure the tournament leaves a rich legacy for our country and continent.
In conclusion, efficient, affordable and modern transport systems can redefine Africa as a developed world. It is not the wealth of a country that builds roads; it is roads that build the wealth of a country.
Cell: 083 6444 050
Issued by: Ministry of Transport
3 July 2009
Issued by: Department of Transport
3 Jul 2009
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