MEC Vadi on Premier's State of the Province Address (SOPA)
29 Feb 2012
I welcome the Premier’s State of the Province Address as it has an expansive set of remarks and pointers on roads, freight and public transport. A common thread running through the entire speech is the emphasis placed on good governance; proper planning for major infrastructure projects; the effective marshalling of the human resources within the public service; and prudent financial management.
Planning and budgeted programmes are the two key elements underpinning the President’s State of the Nation Address, the State of the Province Address (SOPA) and the Budget Speech of the Minister of Finance.
The Premier highlighted the following programmes that would underpin the work of the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport.
Road construction and maintenance
In the year ahead, the provincial government will focus on the construction and maintenance of roads in the province. The N14, M1 and R25 will undergo major rehabilitation. The R82 (the old Vereeniging road) linking Johannesburg and Sedibeng, as well as William Nicol Drive, will be upgraded. The construction of the K154 will be undertaken, stimulating development in the rural parts of Sedibeng.
As part of rural development, the department will start the planning phase for the following rural development nodes, namely, Magaliesburg, Hammanskraal, Rust de Winter and Bantu Bonke. Access to rural roads is critical for movement of both goods and people, thus ensuring viable and sustainable rural communities.
Through the S’hamba Sonke road maintenance project, the department will capacitate 100 new contractors and create 6 500 jobs, benefiting co-operatives and companies owned by women, youth and people with disabilities.
Driver Learner Testing Centres
To improve capacity for the testing and issuing of drivers licences, the department will upgrade Driver Learning Testing Centres (DLTCs) in Mabopane, Themba and Xavier. A new Centre in Kliptown will be opened this year. This will ensure that we increase access. A concerted campaign has already been launched to root out corruption at DLTCs and incidents of corruption can be reported on the following numbers: 0800 701 701 and SMS 32026. New Service Level Agreements will be signed between the department and various municipalities that operate DLTCs on behalf the provincial government.
Unannounced inspections of DLTCs by officials of the departments of Roads and Transport and Community Safety, Members of the Portfolio Committees in the Gauteng Legislature and MECs/MMCs for Transport and Public Safety will continue throughout the year.
Freight and logistics hubs
Freight and logistics hubs are to be established in the following areas: Tambo Springs; West Rand and Rosslyn. It is widely accepted that 34% of our country’s gross value-add is concentrated in Gauteng, far from the ports and end markets. A significant proportion of gross value-add is also concentrated in mineral deposits in the interior of the country and at the end of long corridors that lead to ports. This requires cost-effective, reliable and smooth-flowing transport corridors.
These proposed freight and logistics hubs will serve as the key planks towards the development of the eThekwini-Johannesburg freight corridor announced recently by the President in the State of the Nation Address.
The development of an Aerotropolis as a key component of the transport infrastructure network created around the Oliver Tambo International Airport through partnerships led by the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan and the Gauteng Provincial Government.
The Aerotropolis projects seek to grow the Gauteng economy by improving the business environment linked to airports in the province through efficient supply lines and integrated socio-economic developments along its supply chain. At the heart of the Aerotropolis is the role of transport nodes and modes to create economic linkages and stimulate economic growth.
As part of our commitment to improve and expanding our current public transport services, we are proud to announce that the Gautrain service between Tshwane and Johannesburg has significantly increased its ridership base. The number of users have increased to 30 000 per day. This has fulfilled the mandate to reduce the number of cars on the road and eased the congestion on the Ben Schoeman highway.
The extension of the full Gautrain service between Hatfield in Tshwane and Park Station in Johannesburg will be rolled out in a few weeks’ time. In addition, the department is working in close partnership with the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) and municipalities in developing intermodal public transport facilities railway stations in Vereeniging, Germiston and Krugersdorp. These initiatives will improve our public transport infrastructure and serve as a catalyst for the revitalisation of the Central Business Districts (CBDs) of these towns.
The three Metros are currently in a process of developing their Bus Rapid Transport systems. The City of Joburg is currently completing phase 1B and City of Tshwane and Ekurhuleni have identified BRT routes and planning is at an advanced stage. Construction of the Tswane BRT is scheduled to start in 2013. Together with progress made on the revitalisation of rail by PRASA, Gautrain and BRT represent additional offerings as part of an emerging intermodal, integrated public transport system in Gauteng.
The current bus subsidies to private operators do not lend itself to equity across the province. The department is currently finalising the integrated transport network designs and will together with National Department of Transport embark on a consultative process to re-determine routes and to review the subsidy formula.
The development of the long term transport plan, the Integrated Transport Master Plan (ITMP), should be seen against the backdrop of the 2030 National Plan and the Gauteng Vision 2055 with an emphasis that we should plan towards a better future which is evidenced based.
Improving capacity within the department
The Premier in her State of the Province address said that “the province will pay special attention to the development of the requisite technical capacity to deliver on infrastructure, particularly in critical areas such as roads and transport. This includes strengthening in-house capacity and increasing the recruitment of engineers, project managers and other technical experts.” A skills audit will commence in the department to assess competency of the current staff against the department’s needs.
The principal thrust of the department’s efforts is to move closer to the realisation of the vision outlined in South Africa’s 2030 National Plan, which aims improve access to economic opportunities, social spaces and services by bridging geographic distances affordably, reliably and safely.
For further information contact:
Cell: 082 316 8666
Issued by: Gauteng Roads and Transport
29 Feb 2012
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