Vote 12: Budget Speech for 2011/12 Financial Year presented to the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature delivered by Mr TW Mchunu honourable MEC for Transport, Community Safety and Liaison
29 Mar 2011
The Premier of KwaZulu-Natal
Honourable Dr Zweli Mkhize
Members of the Provincial Executive Council
Honourable members of the Provincial Legislature
Amakhosi ase Ndlunkulu present
Mayors and Councillors of Municipalities
Director-General and Heads of the various departments
Excellencies, members of the diplomatic corps
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen
Senior officials of government departments
The leadership of the Public Transport Industry
Members of the media
Citizens of KwaZulu-Natal
Chairperson, we have dubbed the financial year 2011/12 as the year of Activism Against Road Carnages and Transgressions. Today, I therefore have the honour to present Budget Vote 12, Department of Transport under the theme Activism Against Road Carnages and Transgressions. Co-incidentally, this is the decade of the United Nation’s commitment to Safety on our Roads. The whole world is united behind endeavours to curb road deaths drastically between 2011 and 2020. As this department, we want to galvanise individuals and the society at large to play a role in curbing carnages and transgressions on our roads, thus making them safe for all road users.
His Excellency the President of the Republic of South Africa Mr Jacob Zuma, in his State of the Nation Address said and I quote, ‘But we are forging ahead, determined to achieve our mission of building a better life for all. And we are doing so with the help of our people.’ We heed your call Mr President, we commit to play our part in achieving this end starting with safety on our roads and extending to our other core mandates of road infrastructure development and public transport matters.
To that end, on 25 and 26 March 2011, we hosted a summit on Road Safety under the said theme. The summit provided us an opportunity to hear first hand from the people of KwaZulu-Natal as to what else can be done to fight this scourge, who exactly the culprits are, how we deal with these culprits as well as whose responsibility it is to deal with the culprits.
Honourable members, allow me to take this opportunity to thank all those who participated in the summit. We are convinced that community participation in finding solutions to road safety challenges will go a long way in ensuring that individuals, social formations at all levels, the wider society own the fight against road carnages and transgressions because the responsibility for safety rests with each and every one of us. We are optimistic of the positive spinoffs emanating from the summit.
In order to move forward progressively, it is important that we look back at the achievements made in the past financial year. In 2010, we dedicated our budget speech to the stability in the taxi industry. We committed ourselves in this department to work tirelessly in achieving this end. Although the taxi industry has in the past been a volatile area, I am proud to say that we are making good progress in resolving conflicts amongst the warring associations.
We committed ourselves to play our part in hosting a successful 2010 FIFA World Cup Tournament in the 2010 Budget Speech presented to this House. Indeed the taxi industry lived up to its commitment of providing a safe, reliable, efficient and affordable public transport during the tournament. The road infrastructure development leading to the King Shaka International Airport was completed in time for the tournament.
With regards to the human resources aspect of our work, let me thank the entire family in the Department of Transport that has respected our investigation process. There were no labour unrest levelled against departmental officials during the said period. With the finalisation of the investigation report, we will align our organogram as required and agreed upon so as to fill in all vacant posts. We will adhere to the principles of the Employment Equity Act as we embark on this exercise. We look forward to implementing the recommendations of the investigation in the interest of efficiencies in the department, as well as the provision of optimal service to the people of KwaZulu-Natal.
Moving forward in 2011, we commit ourselves to President Zuma’s call of ensuring that 2011 becomes a year of job-creation through meaningful economic transformation and inclusive growth. In his State of the Nation address, His Excellency President Zuma said: ‘All government departments will align their programmes with the job creation imperative. The provincial and local government spheres have also been requested to do the same.’ As this department, we heed your call Mr President. Our Annual Performance Plan is in line with this mandate.
Honourable Members, the department continues to provide the Adult Education and Training Programme (AET) to the illiterate and semiliterate employees of the department. There has been considerable progress since the inception of the Programme in 2004. In 2010, 22 AET learners successfully completed the Programme and achieved the General Education and Training Certificate/ NQF Level 1 qualification and it is anticipated that there will be more learners completing in 2011.
Due to cost-cutting measures in the province, the department has not taken any new bursary students (internal or external), however there are still a large number of bursary holders being funded in this scheme who were already in the system. The department has spent R1, 967, 500 million on the bursary programme to date and it is anticipated that this figure will go up during the 2011/12 financial year due to an increase in tuition fees, accommodation and meals cost, amongst others.
Madam Speaker, it is a well-known fact that a major chunk of the department’s budget goes toward road infrastructure development and maintenance. The total allocation for the 2011/12 financial year for road infrastructure development is R4.7 billion. R1.98 billion is allocated to construction projects and R2.5 billion to maintenance. The split in the allocation is aimed at continuously striking a balance in the construction of new roads and the maintenance of existing roads.
The department has made significant strides with regards to road infrastructure development in the rural areas of KwaZulu-Natal. Over 500 kilometres of major high quality roads were constructed to link the rural towns such as Nongoma, Hlabisa, Osizweni and other areas. We are prioritising access to public facilities such as schools, clinics and other social amenities through Operation KuShunquthuli, Roads for Rural Development and Pedestrian Bridges programmes. Whilst the department has built 6000 kilometres of rural access roads, it still has a backlog of approximately 11 800 kilometres to achieve its minimum equity. To date, 42 out of a prioritised backlog of 474 pedestrian bridges have been constructed. As much as possible, we are aware of the need to engage in ongoing collaborative efforts with local and district municipalities in addressing this challenge.
Just as a point of reference, the construction of D1273 eMsinga KwaMabaso is currently underway. This road links communities of KwaNocomboshe, eHholwane, eNqwabeni who currently have to walk long distances to access services. On completion of this road, learners, teachers, health care workers and the community at large will benefit, as this road provides access to the multipurpose centre, Nocomboshe high school, Nzonyane primary, Nocomboshe and Colesi clinics. A number of such projects are currently underway throughout the province.
With regards to the maintenance of our road infrastructure, the department will deal with the vexing subject of pot holes. This is a rather daunting task owing to the repetitive storms that continue to seriously damage and destroy the road infrastructure, including bridges and causeways for which huge resources have already been invested. As the Provincial Government, we look forward to the National Treasury to bail us out in this regard in the interest of the safety of the people of KwaZulu-Natal.
Honourable Members, the department will continue with its corridor projects such as the African Renaissance Road Upgrading Programme (ARRUP) which seeks to improve access to rural areas and support tourism while creating jobs and decent work opportunities through the utilisation of Vukuzakhe contractors and the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), which includes the exemplary Zibambele road maintenance poverty alleviation programme.
Challenges in construction
The supply of Bitumen which is used to make tarred roads has faced significant strain since 2010 as local oil refineries failed to produce the volumes necessary for the upgrade and maintenance of our national and provincial roads. This can be counted amongst the department’s biggest challenges. Bitumen is a crude oil derivative that is used for road surfacing, and is produced by local oil refineries. There is insufficient capacity at refineries to satisfy the country’s bitumen requirements.
It is recommended that government intervene to ensure better coordination by the refineries since there seems to be no end to the continuous interruptions in the supply of bitumen. A possible solution to the supply problem could be to declare bitumen as a national strategic mineral resource. In this way, bitumen would be treated as fuel and oil refineries would be obliged to keep minimum strategic reserves, even if it means importing the product, where the price would also then be regulated by government.
The heavy rains and floods experienced in KZN over the past couple of years remain a serious challenge faced by the department. These natural phenomena can never be anticipated. Although the department received an allocation totalling R214 million towards the repairs to roads damaged by the November 2009 and January 2010 floods, a further R311.45 million is required to repair damages to roads caused by the January 2011 floods.
Gravel shortage is another problematic area. A lack of gravel results in increased haulage or long distances travelled between construction sites and the quarry which in turn results in increased costs of either construction or re-gravelling of the roads. The department is also relying on the Amakhosi in the Ingonyama Trust to assist in providing access to the identified quarries as mining rights and the costs associated with them are frequently an issue.
Despite these constraints, the department commits itself to meeting the targets set in our operational plan with regards to construction and maintenance outputs in the 2011/12 financial year:
Honourable Members, in line with the government’s focus on integrated transport planning, the department will bring on board municipalities in its land use and integrated plans. This will ensure synergy in our planning whilst also avoiding potential conflict prevalent particularly in the public transport sector. Milestones in this regard include the ULundi Integrated Intermodal Public Transport facility which will be completed in April this year as well as the Estcourt Integrated Public Transport Facility designs which are now complete. The department will at the start of this financial year begin similar designs for eMondlo and uMzimkhulu. We are furthermore making progress with regards to the Transformation of Subsidised Public Transport Contracts, with the KwaZulu-Natal Government having approved a policy position that will address the imbalances of the past. We look forward to the successful implementation of the strategy such that it benefits a number of people. Briefly, the strategy advocates a 70:30 split allocated respectively to empowerment groups (Africans, women, the youth, the disabled, the taxi industry, small bus operators including emerging businesses entrants) as well as the main bus operators.
We are pleased to report that in the 2010/11 financial year, the department was able to restore subsidised public transport services in Eshowe and Clermont. In that process we were able to introduce participation of the taxi industry and small bus operators in the awarding of public transport service contracts. Plans are underway to restore subsidised services in Port Shepstone. Government remains committed in constructively engaging and supporting the KwaZulu-Natal Taxi Council (KWANATACO), KwaZulu- Natal Bus Council (KWANABUCO) and the Public Transport Passenger Associations, to ensure that quality public transport services are provided to citizens of the province.
Government efforts in supporting the taxi industry and small bus operators have began to bear positive results. On 2 November 2010, the taxi industry launched its TR32020 vision which focused on redefining, restructuring and repositioning the industry so that it can meaningfully participate in opportunities which stem from the broader transformation agenda in public transport which will see taxi owners being able to invest in other transport modes. In January 2011, the KwaZulu-Natal Bus Council held an elective conference where new leadership was democratically elected. We are confident of the positive spin-offs in these initiatives.
The enactment of the National Land Transport Act of 2009 has brought about institutional reform in regulation that has led to the creation of Provincial Regulatory Entity (PRE) by the Member of the Executive Council for Transport Community Safety and Liaison. Currently there is a KwaZulu-Natal Public Transport Act Repeal Bill before this Legislature which is intended to disestablish the institution that was created through the Provincial Act that is now contrary to the National Act. We are pleased to say that the existence of the PRE is beginning to bear positive results since we are witnessing the reduction of public transport instability in the province coupled with a consolidated and improved operating licenses management and administration.
At this stage Honourable Members, I wish to thank the South African Police Services for partnering with us in bringing stability in the taxi industry. In the past, it was difficult to deal with taxi violence. The joint collaboration of the Department of Transport and the South African Police Services working under the auspices of the Justice Crime Prevention and Security Cluster task team, called the Taxi Violence Task Team, has contributed positively to the stability in the taxi industry. Our strategy of pursuing co-operation and peaceful engagement has resulted in the normalisation of taxi operations in a number of warring association members.
There have also been a number of successful arrests. We still face problems of successful convictions after these arrests. This can be attributed to people being intimidated against being witnesses as well as other witnesses being killed. We will continue to innovatively seek ways and means to sustain peace in the taxi industry.
I would be failing in my duty Honourable Members if I do not acknowledge the role thatSouth African National Taxi Council(SANTACO) has played in attaining peace and stability within the taxi industry in this Province. Without this active role by SANTACO, this exercise would have been difficult. For the benefit of this House, the department has a close working relationship with the taxi industry. We also have a Memorandum of Agreement in place between ourselves and the industry, wherein we commit ourselves to dialogue in conflict resolution amongst other things. We commend the industry for honouring this agreement.
I wish to state to this House that our Memorandum of Understanding with the taxi industry is alive and practical. In most government community outreach programmes, we utilise the taxi industry as a preferred mode of transport to commute passengers to and from events. We commend the efficiency with which they execute this task.
The department continues to support Non-Motorised Transport to ensure that the challenges of reaching out to school children that walk long distances resulting in poor performance at school are taken care of. To that end, 2 050 bicycles are being distributed to deserving rural schools following a launch held at eNdaka in November 2010 and which is being rolled out to other districts.
Road Traffic management
Honourable Members, over and above road safety education, law enforcement is a critical tool for enforcing safety on our roads. To that end, we will intensify an integrated approach to law enforcement during and beyond the next financial year. Our mission is to ensure the safety of all road users through law enforcement and traffic control in a coordinated manner with all role players, namely the Road Traffic Inspectorate (RTI), Municipal Police, the South African Police Force, Customs and Excise, the South African Revenue Services. We are certain to catch all forms of crime on the highway with this integrated and coordinated approach.
As safety on our roads remains a sore point for the department, we are pulling all resources to fight this scourge. We are encouraged by the public/private partnerships that have yielded positive spinoffs. The partnership with the South African Breweries has seen the department opening three Alcohol Evidence Centres at Braid Street RTI in Pietermaritzburg, Umdloti RTI and Port Shepstone RTI. Over the next financial year a further 2 centres will be commissioned - one within the Durban Metro at Pinetown and the other Empangeni. To date, 3 330 motorists have been arrested for drinking and driving through this development.
We have also forged a new partnership with a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) known as South Africans against Drunk Drivers (SADD) as well as the Independent Newspapers. Together we launched the ‘Name and Shame’ campaign which saw Isolezwe and The Daily News publishing the names of offenders. This partnership is to encourage public participation in the fight against drinking and driving as well as to expose and humiliate offenders to the wider society. Here we are hoping to decrease the unacceptably high number of deaths and injuries caused by drivers who drink and drive.
Through these partnerships, we have also seen stakeholders in the taxi industry, bus industry, freight industry, driving schools, tavern owners, the private sector, educational institutions, religious institutions, local governments, the media and a range of organisations coming out in support and rallying behind our road safety initiatives.
Honourable members, we have rolled out the Average-Speed-Over- Distance camera monitoring devices on the N3 between Ashburton and Camperdown. Over the past financial year we have seen the effects of this project in the reduction of speed and accidents. We have been monitoring the performance on the Average-Speed-Over-Distance initiative and have determined through bench mark monitoring sites that we have achieved over 60% reduction in prosecutable speeds through the sites. Specific focus has been on public transport and heavy motor vehicles. The projects are considered a major success and should be regarded as the way forward for speed limit enforcement.
National government is advocating for the presence of traffic officers on the road on a twenty four hours and seven (24/7 shift system) days per week. The need for this change is driven by the number of fatalities on our roads which require a twenty four hours presence of law enforcement officers. In light of these mooted developments, it still remains important that each and everyone of us actively play a part in reducing road carnages and transgressions on our roads as road safety is a shared responsibility.
The Motor Transport Services Directorate (MTSD) continues to be one of the highest revenue collection components in the province as it rakes in more than R1 billion in licence fees per annum from the more than 1,4 million vehicle owners through its Registering Authority outlets which are successfully decentralised in the province. In line with the government’s mandate of taking government to the people, the department’s MTSD is taking its services closer to the people who otherwise would have had to travel long distances in order to access services for registration and licensing. Over the past few years, community-based licensing and vehicle registration outlets have grown from 34 Registering Authorities to 81 Registering Authorities, with the opening of the Post Office Registering Authority outlets, in previously disadvantaged areas, such as Hluhluwe, Megacity and Pinetown.
In the interest of safety and revenue collection, the MTSD will continue to maximise revenue collection through ongoing debtor control and the linking of debt on eNaTIS. Similarly, the eNaTIS system records are also ‘cleaned up’ where vehicle owners are deceased or failed to notify the department of the sale of vehicles.
The Provincial Vehicle Inspectorate of the Motor Transport Services, in striving to combat fraud and corruption, will during 2011/12, conduct routine and dedicated physical technical inspections in terms of the roadworthiness of buses, dump trucks belonging to Transnet / Portnet as well as mining companies, to verify compliance with the provisions of special classification of vehicles and physical verification of the official vehicle fleet for the KZN province.
The courts and road safety
The department has welcomed the support from some of the courts within the Justice Department in imposing huge fines against traffic offenders, coupled with the suspension or cancellation of driving licences. We appeal to the Department of Justice to encourage this type of sentencing in court rooms within the province. In the last financial year alone, the department has administratively suspended 116 and cancelled some driving licences after receiving recommendations from the courts upon conviction.
Contractor development programmes
Honourable Members, the role of the department in terms of capacitating Small Medium Micro Enterprises cannot be over-emphasised. The department committed itself in the previous financial year, to ensure that our Vukuzakhe Emerging contractors are well versed with issues of the Broad-Base Black Economic Empowerment (B-BBEE), as it will influence their business activities and the growth path for their businesses amongst other things. We have provided awareness-training workshops to the whole of KwaZulu-Natal, where we engage our contractors in the issues of B-BBEE as well as ensuring that their business entities are commencing with the processes of verifications.
The process of aligning the Vukuzakhe Programme with all relevant legislative prescripts especially the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act (PPPFA) has been one of the exercises that the department is trying on an ongoing basis to engage various stakeholders on.
These are namely, the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), the National Treasury as well as the Provincial Treasury. The intention is to find a way forward in advancing this programme without diverting much from the objectives of the Vukuzakhe Programme. To date we have 4 389 Vukuzakhe contractors registered on the CIDB equating to 54% of contractors within KwaZulu-Natal.
Honourable Members, our intention as a department on the Vukuzakhe Programme in the forthcoming financial year is to continue to review our emerging contractor programme by investigating ways on how the youth of our province who is interested in the business of road infrastructure development can be assisted and enhanced through this programme. This exercise will include women, as well as the people living with disabilities. As a department, it is our considered view that this is a necessary exercise that would be of benefit to this province and the country as a whole.
Youth development through learnerships
In line with the government’s priority to step up skills development, from the 2008/09 financial year, the department has a programme of learner ships. The learner ships started off with a total of 197 learners who were spread out in various activities. To date, two learner ship programmes are still active and will be completed at the end of the current financial year, and they are made up of 24 learners. These are spread among three projects i.e P700 and P230/240 in the province. In the financial year 2010/11 the rest of the learners graduated.
Through the learner ship programme, the learners acquired training and qualifications in the supervision of Construction Processes at NQF Level 4 and construction contracting at NQF level 4, among others.
Among those who graduated in the current financial year some are pursuing further studies in the field of engineering and received credits through their participation and experience in the learnership programme. Many of them have also been absorbed by major construction firms such as Group Five, Steffanuti and Stock on a contract basis as construction labourers using the experience obtained from the learnership.
Honourable members, we are pursuing partnerships with institutions of higher learning, particularly Further Education and Training Colleges and Universities of Technology with regards to scarce skills development as we embark on our mandate of road infrastructure development. We are currently partnering with institutions such as the Mangosuthu University of Technology to explore youth development programmes through learner ships and exchange programmes. We look forward to the positive spinoffs of this partnership in advancing youth development in the interest of this province and our country as a whole.
Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP)
The KZN province is the pillar of the EPWP in the country, however, there are still challenges that are province-specific and department-specific and these still need to be sorted out. These problems have a bearing on our capacity to draw down the incentive allocations, they relate to a lack of reporting among various departments in the province across all sectors. This presents a dual picture of the EPWP in KZN where we meet national targets but quarterly reports in the province suggest that we are under achieving.
The EPWP will continue to play a role in the contribution to the New Economic Growth Path and creation of employment. As an example in the new financial year, R1.1 million is set aside to engage some of the learners from the learner ships who might not have had opportunities of further advancement, to assist the department with the supervision of the Zibambele Programme. These learners will be receiving a stipend to be financed through the EPWP Incentive Grant as they will form part of the EPWP reporting.
Honourable members, the struggle to build a better KwaZulu-Natal continues. Let me thank the contribution of the department under the stewardship of Mr Chris Hlabisa and all our stakeholders in building a better KwaZulu-Natal. The success of a holistic approach to service delivery is dependent on the creation of successful partnerships with other departments, the municipalities, the private sector and most importantly the communities themselves. The department, through its consultative process of engagement with the communities, namely, the Rural Road Transport Fora, the Public Transport Passenger Fora, the Community Road Safety Councils, ensures that there is adequate and broad-representative consultation in the planning and prioritisation of projects and programmes such that they respond to the needs of the communities. This is a decade for Road Safety, this is the year of People’s Actions Against Road Carnages and Transgressions. Let us all play our part in making this department and this government better in the interest of the people of KwaZulu-Natal.
Finally, Madame Speaker, it is my privilege to table budget Vote 12 for the department of Transport for the 2011/12 financial year amounting to R6,573,729 billion for approval to be appropriated as follows:
Administration - R249 070 million
Transport Infrastructure - R4 746 431 billion
Transport Operations - R 878,888 million
Transport Regulation - R 619 209 million
Community Based Programme - R 80,131 million
I thank you!!!
Source: KwaZulu-Natal Transport
Issued by: KwaZulu-Natal Transport
29 Mar 2011
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