Tabling of the Budget Vote for the Department of Police, Roads and Transport by the Hon. Butana Komphela Bethlehem
23 Mar 2012Honourable Speaker
Madame Deputy Speaker
Members of the Provincial Executive Council
Honourable Members of the Provincial Legislature
Members of the Ruling Party
Honourable Mayors and Councillors
Representatives from the House of Traditional Leaders
Provincial Police General
The General Commanding Officer of Tempe Military Base
Provincial Commissioner of the Correctional Service
Provincial Heads of Chapter 9 Institutions
Representatives of the Business Community Esteemed guests
Honourable Speaker, it is befitting and appropriate that I remind this house of our trajectory, the founding of our glorious movement in 1912, the adoption of the Freedom Charter, informing our resilience and commitment to fight for a just and all inclusive society free from race and discriminatory laws.
I wish to join hundreds of thousands of our people in congratulating our glorious movement for having celebrated 100 years of existence. What a celebration, it did not only remind us of the past but signified and demonstrated our commitment and resolve for democracy, most significantly the manner in which we attained our democracy.
Speaker, I wish to share with this house, the words that are still reverberating in our minds, when the son of the soil cut the lonely journey, on his way to the gallows. He said:
“Tell my people, I love them, and I will not see the freedom and they shall see the freedom and enjoy it.” Indeed the likes of Solomon Mahlangu and Chris Hani nurtured the tree of our freedom, and yet we were able to forgive, but never shall we forget our history.
Speaker, as this august house assembles here in Bethlehem, I am reminded of Sefako Makgato, the third President of our glorious movement the African National Congress, who from the beginning was opposed to the rape of Africa by the colonisers.
He understood the immediate threat that it constituted not only to the vast natural resources of Africa but also to the freedom, independence and self-determination of her peoples. This understanding led to the adoption of the political slogan not only applicable to South Africa but the continent of Africa “Mayibuye i Africa’.
Addressing here in Bethlehem, Makgato once asked:
“What is so difficult for us as Natives to understand is that a form of help should be forced upon us against our wish, that we should be fined, imprisoned and ridden to death by mounted policemen, with our women also under horses’ hoofs, shot at simply because we say we are not in need of the help that is offered?”
This is particularly important because next year we will mark 100 years since the inception of the diabolic Land Act that deprived the African children of their most valuable asset and right, thus consequently reduced them to strangers and beggars in their land of birth.As Sol Plaatjie, one of the renowned leaders of the African National Congress once remarked:
“Awakening on Friday morning, June 1913, the South African Nativefound himself, not actually a slave, but a pariah in the land of his birth.”
Speaker, sadly since then to date as pronounced by this gallant leader of our movement the issue of the dispossession of land remains an unfinished struggle.
It is therefore important in the year of the 100th anniversary of our movement that today’s Budget Vote Speech as the month of March is, be dedicated to President Sefako Makgato the gallant and humble hero of our struggle, who demonstrated his undying commitment, vision and selflessness for the advent of this non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa that we are all enjoying today.
Allow me Speaker to thank my predecessor, the honourable Executive Mayor of Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality, Mr. Thabo Manyoni, for laying the solid foundation on which I can confidently lay the building blocks. His contribution in steering the Department in the right direction cannot be overemphasised.
Community safety and crime preventionSpeaker, the Freedom Charter assures us of a safe and a secured environment; it is in that context that we pointed out in our last budget vote speech that the fight against crime and corruption remains one of the key non-negotiable strategic priorities of the Department of Police, Roads and Transport.
Provincial crime statistics bear testimony to the splendid work done by the Department, the South African Police Service (SAPS) and local communities in preventing and reducing crime and criminality in the province.
It was in this town, that we launched our National Rural Safety Strategy. Rural farming areas have registered significant interaction between the security services of Government and communities.
We must equally emphasise that our fight against cross-border criminality forms an integral part of the strategy of Government to promote and protect human life and property.
Ongoing working collaborative and partnerships are healthy and productive between and among the Department, Police Service, municipalities and communities along the Free State and Lesotho border line.
The stock-theft, human trafficking and cross-border taxi operation projects are constantly executed, chiefly for purposes of safety and economic sustainability between the Free State and the Mountain Kingdom of Lesotho.
We recently assessed the condition of the border fence, border roads, border ports of entry and deployment of resources on the border. Findings revealed the unsuitability of border roads for effective police patrolling and that the border fence is always vandalised, particularly close to the port of entry.
This situation finds expression from Zastron to Wepener and also between Ladybrand and Monontsha. Security and safety actions have already been identified to remedy the situation during the next financial year.
Speaker, may I pause to read one of the appreciating letters amongst many of them, from the Free State Agricultural Union that demonstrate the blossoming of the long lasting relationship and partnership, confirming that working together we can do more.
The security of Government properties and personnel is of cardinal importance. In an attempt to provide a safe and secure environment for health personnel and hospital property, the Department is training 1 000 security officers who will stand guard at Government buildings including hospitals.
The project was officially launched by the honourable Premier, Ace Magashule. This initiative also helps to replace the outsourcing of services which has proven to be excessively costly.
Honourable Speaker, the Provincial crime statistics indicate that there is a certain degree of intransigence on the part of criminals in the Free State that requires toughened stance on the part of a structured multi-party interaction during the next financial year; and not the Police Service alone. For example, violent serious crimes such as murder, rape and sexual offences continue to trouble local communities unabated.
It is common knowledge that young people remain the victims and perpetrators of crimes and victimisation in many parts of our province. As a means to re-channel their energy to positive thinking and behaviour, intense youth-focused and youth-driven projects will be developed in conjunction with municipalities, local communities, Community Police Forums, Police Services, the Department of Police, Roads, Transport and other sister departments such as Education and Social Development to save this jewel of our society.
The success of our crime prevention and community safety initiatives, including youth projects depends largely on the continued effective transformation of the SAPS and the democratic participation of communities in various local policing matters through Community Police Forums (CPFs).
Elections were recently held to renew the membership and mandate of all 109 CPF structures in the province. It is important Speaker, that CPFs should continuously renew their mandates as we cannot allow them to serve mocha ochele.Very important, it’s their understanding of their roles and responsibilities bestowed upon them.
All CPF executive members are currently being provided with accredited CPF training to the value of R1.3 million.This training will continue until the end of this month, we dare not fail to assess the impact and the value of this training.
The coordination and guidance of various CFP structures, particularly in terms of community mobilisation against crime, will be done by the new Provincial CPF Board which is expected to be elected by May 2012. We are prepared to resource our CPF’s and rid them of criminal elements that hide within these important structures.
Speaker, our national goal for a democratic and just South Africa has always been shaped around the liberation and respect for women and children.
We are particularly aware that violent crime against women and children creates a discriminatory barrier to their ability to enjoy basic human rights. We made a commitment to continue with the mobilisation of communities to eradicate traditions and attitudes that support the abuse of women and children.
To this end, 183 volunteers were employed under the Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP) to provide support to victims of domestic violence and related offences at our Victim Support Rooms that are located at various police stations in the province. This number is expected to increase by the 2014/15 Financial Year. The Victims Empowerment Programme will be relocated to Social Development, where it belongs.
High crime priority schools were identified and audits conducted by the Department in conjunction with the Department of Education. School Safety Programme was also implemented at a number of schools in the province.
In addition Speaker, during December 2011, a school for children with disabilities was supplied with R55 000 worth of appliances as a means to create a safe and secure environment.
Honourable speaker, the saying: ‘Knowledge is Power’ cannot be over-emphasised, particularly in the context of crime prevention and reduction. No-one can deny that crime fosters a sense of helplessness and exposure to the complexities of a justice system less understood by ordinary people. Furthermore, helplessness makes victims of crime and their families less confident, more vulnerable and unsafe.
By simply providing empowering information about, for instance, what to expect from the criminal justice system (e.g. how courts and police work), and where a victim of crime can get further supportive assistance, is tremendously useful.
Therefore, the Department prioritised its victim-centred approach and conducted about ten public educational and awareness programmes during the current financial year to help poor and ordinary people to feel in control of their own safety – something which crime and victimisation strips away.
Speaker, I need to mention that the National Indaba on the killing of police gave rise to the Provincial action on the killing of police. The work which is done by our law enforcement agencies is very dangerous and these officials are prepared to lay down their lives for the just cause.
I salute men and women in khaki and blue!
We are fortunate that we are not like other Provinces where the killing of the police is a norm. We must never go into that direction!
Speaker, at the height of critical divisions in the police that threatened state security, order and stability has been restored. Appointment of senior management including that of the Provincial Commissioner created certainty and stability. The appointment of General Sitole as a Provincial Commissioner was a unanimous and welcomed decision by EXCO. The Provincial Commissioner was to reconcile, unite and mobilise the forces to be combat ready and provide strategic leadership. I must admit, honourable Speaker that the Provincial Commissioner is carrying out this mandate exceptionally well.
There are efforts to enhance the human resource development in the police by providing bursaries and embarking on an informed transformation. I must mention Speaker that women are at the centre of the transformation agenda of the police.
Free State must be congratulated for taking the lead in empowering women in the police echelons.
We are hard at work in an effort to improve the image of the Police Service Centre’s in ensuring that “ matawa ha a iswe ho ya sebetsa ho di Police Service Centre’s hobane ke moo batho ba rona ba tlamehileng ho thuswa ka seriti”.
We have speaker, intensified our collaboration with the Gambling and Liquor Authority, Municipalities and SAPS in closing illegal shebeens next to schools and churches.In one incident where a shebeen is next to the church, a Priest was badly assaulted for requesting shebeen patrons to move their cars as he wanted to enter the church premises.
I will never in my life forget, Speaker, an incident where the patrons of one shebeen closed the national road and consequently a child who was involved in an accident died in the back seat of a car because the parents could not pass and get the child to the hospital “hobane matawa a kwetse tsela”.
We are a caring society; as such we are working together with the Department of Education in declaring war against drugs at schools.We are in the same breath going to intensify our fight against syndicates and drug traffickers.
Speaker, we are also working towards ensuring that the Precious Metal Bill is passed in order to ensure the curbing of copper theft.
Honourable Speaker, the reduction and eradication of corruption in our administrative system is equally important for sustainable community development and in improving public confidence in our criminal justice system.
President Cde. Rolihlahla Mandela saw this coming in his opening address to Parliament in 1999 when he said:
“Our hope for the future depends on our resolution as a nation in dealing with the scourge of corruption. Success will require an acceptance that, in many respects, we are a sick society. It is perfectly correct to assert that all this was spawned by apartheid. No amount of self-induced amnesia will change the reality of history. When employees of a government institution set up to help empower those who were excluded by apartheid defraud it for their own enrichment, and then we must admit that we are a sick society. This problem manifests itself in all areas of life”
It is precisely because of the threat, nature and extent of the manifestation of corruption that the Department contracted the services of a forensic investigation company to probe and generate a comprehensive report on fraud and corruption in the Operating Licensing Board (OLB).
So far, the investigation has revealed that the following clandestine acts of criminality involving some of the employees of the Department and operators took place:
We are in the process of appointing a new Operating Licensing Board to deal mercilessly with those involved and curb the repeat of such anti-people activities.
- Fraudulent issuing of permits / operating licenses,
- Irregular transfer of permits / operating licenses,
- Irregular registration of taxi associations and members; and
- Under-banking of public funds.
In the same breath, Speaker, we are ensuring that the widows in the taxi industry are not deprived of their operating licenses after the deaths of their husbands. We do have among us Me. Cecilia Mohlatsane from Lindley to whom we are in the process of returning her operating licenses.
In the new financial year we are going to decentralise and integrate the functions of the Operating Licensing Board, Ras and training to various districts to ensure that public transport operators do not travel long distances to access the services that are critical to their business.
Road safety and traffic policing
Honourable Speaker, during our last year’s budget vote speech, we pledged our commitment to the International Decade of Action on Road Safety aimed to reduce road accidents by 50%.
As a contribution to that international objective, the Department focused on the 5% reduction of road traffic accidents through a multitude of projects designed to reduce road fatalities.
Priority road fatality areas included speed management, vehicle weighing, road blocks and educational road safety programmes as well as awareness campaigns.
As Government we remain perturbed by an increase of fatalities on our public roads especially during Easter and Festive season.
We are going to intensify our efforts in turning the situation around. A multipronged strategy will be implemented and this will include among others, the conversion of the Traffic College in Thaba Nchu to a Centre of Excellence, the recruitment of qualified teachers to train our officers at the College, the multi-discipline traffic officers training to one year, ensuring that all officers are trained in what we call three in one, that is Examiner of vehicles, Examiner of Licenses and Law Enforcement.
We acknowledge Speaker that syndicates are sophisticated thus they need complex solutions.In order for us to win this battle, we need to also advise our courts-of-law to take traffic offences as serious as they should.
Speaker, we have succeeded in reducing the waiting period for the testing of learners and driving licenses. This is due to our resolve of ensuring that priority is given to the Free State residents when coming to the testing at our traffic stations and this has gone a long way in addressing the corruption perpetuated by the driving schools. In the same breath we are going to address the proliferation of private testing stations in the Province.
We need to enhance the resourcing of our traffic officers and make the profession attractive. It pains me Speaker to cite two cases of our most dedicated officers, namely Mr. January and Mr. Mocoaledi. Mr. January has diligently served this Department for forty years, but today his pension cannot afford his medical needs. Mr. Mocoaledi who on the 1st April 2012 will be forty five years in the service is likely to suffer the same fate when he goes on pension. It is because of these unfavourable conditions that people do not see traffic as a profession of choice.
Honourable Speaker as a Department we are contemplating curbing the movement of heavy trucks in the Province between 18h00 and 06h00. This will be properly researched and extensive consultation will be undertaken in an effort of making our roads safe. In any event this was once applicable in our country.
Speaker, we are going to reclaim our national space where Free State was known for winning awards on issues of road safety. We are going for zero tolerance on the traffic infringements. E reng ke le bolelle, AARTO etlo sebetsa in the Free State, ntho eo batho basa e tsebeng ke hore AARTO efa batho monyetla wa hore ba itukise pele e ka nka mehato. Hantlentle ke lesisitheho la hore batho ba fuwe monyetla wa ho itukisa, ke batla ho hle holle sephadi!!
We are as the Province going to reposition ourselves in the enhancement of our revenue collection, this will among others entail the establishment of the Tracing Unit to follow outstanding warrants of arrests, abuse of Government vehicles etc.
Speaker, it’s important to protect our roads, and towards that end we are going to ensure optimal utilisation of our weighbridges and the implementation of weighing in motion through moveable weighbridges.
Economic growth and development through transport services
Speaker, transport is indeed the heartbeat of our economy. Paramount to the economic transformation of the Free State is the participation of the historically marginalised communities and individuals.
We are humbled to report that the protracted transformation of the Maluti Bus Service which at one point the Honourable Mohai labeled as “an albatross on the Government’s neck” has finally been laid to rest. The new company with the majority share-holding by taxi operators and employees of Maluti was launched on the first of March 2012 and this is a first of its kind empowerment, onotekisi bazo xhamla ngempela.
The 30% share holding of Ripple effect will be diluted for the first six years of the contract period after which the total control will vest with the taxi industry and employees, who currently collectively control 70% of the new company.
The experience and the lessons learnt in the transformation of Maluti Bus have inspired and radiated our passion and interest to robustly and uncompromisingly confront the transformation of Itumele Bus Lines.This process should be completed not later than the end of the year. Speaker, never and never again, shall we delay the empowerment of our people, economic freedom in our life time.
Consistent with our partnership with the taxi industry and our commitment to support the national road safety awareness campaign by the taxi industry known as Hlokomela Campaign, the Department donated five vehicles to the Free State taxi industry.
The revitalisation of the Bloemfontein, Botshabelo and Thaba Nchu rail network project is well on course and the following milestones are worth mentioning:
Our determination and resolve to reclaim our economic space in the global economy saw the collaboration between our province, national departments and state owned enterprises strengthened. To this end, we successfully placed the Harrismith Logistic Hub at Centre of the national economic agenda.
- National Treasury registered the Project as a PPP, The PPP will be managed in conjunction with PRASA;
- The Project has been incorporated into the Presidential Handbook for infrastructure projects, and
- PRASA incorporated the Project into its project portfolio for international partnership,
Speaker, we have been inundated with calls and deputations from the local communities and the municipalities who feel threatened by the much mooted HarrismithBypass which is deemed to erode the economic base and wipe the Free State from the face of active economy. We are proud and take solace from the intervention by the national government. We are going to launch the Harrismith Logistical Hub in April 2012
The revitalisation of the rail infrastructure remains very central to the stimulation and promotion of our economy. To this end, the Kimberley- Maseru rail will feature very prominently in our programme this financial year. The work already done in the revitalisation of the Bloemfontein, Botshabelo, Thaba Nchu Maseru rail will be fast-tracked since all the impediments have been attended to.
It is unavoidable that we have to promote efficiency and responsible utilisation of our scarce resources and it remains our mutual interest to limit and eliminate the congestion in our roads infrastructure.
Economic growth and development through road infrastructure network
Honourable Speaker, quality road network infrastructure is undoubtedly one of the major drivers of national economy in general; and the Free State provincial economy in particular.
The state of our provincial roads has, over the past 25 years, been deteriorating. Recent observations revealed that there has been a major shift from the use of railway lines to road freight transportation. As a result, 70% of our provincial surfaced road infrastructure is in a poor condition and needs urgent attention.
Equally, rural gravel roads were severely damaged by the 2010/11 floods and affected the economic life of rural and farming communities, including regular commuting and schooling.
As part of our provincial economic transformation agenda, the Department contributed by building the capacity of 186 emerging contractors through the Contractor DevelopmentProgramme (CDP). The number will increase up to 528 by 2014/15 Financial Year. The creation of job opportunities remains central to Government’s national objective to alleviate and eradicate poverty.
To that extent, our focus on improving human livelihood involved the employment of young people in various infrastructure development projects such as road construction, public transport and road maintenance projects. An estimated number of 8924 people will be absorbed into our projects by 2014/15 Financial Year.
The next financial year will witness the implementation of the following road infrastructure and related projects:
Fezile Dabi District:
Heilbron – Petrus Steyn
Kroonstad – Vredefort
Parys Transport Centre
Frankfort – Villiers
Deneysville – Oranjeville
Oranjeville – Frankfort
Vredefort – Parys
Viljoensdrift – Deneysville
Access to Zamdela
Welkom Transport Centre
Bloemfontein – Bultfontein
Heavy Blading (Lejweleputswa)
Bultfontein – Wesselsbron
Bothaville – Leeudoringstad
Thaba Nchu Transport Route
8 Traffic Lights (in memory of Cde. Kaizer Sebothelo)
Overview Control Centre
Hobhouse – Ladybrand
Ladybrand – Clocolan
Mantsopa Transport Centre
Warden - Standerton
Qwaqwa (Route 4)
Monontsha Border Post Road
Setsoto Transport Centre
Bethlehem - Lindley
Lindley – Steynsrus
Harrismith Logistic Hub
Vrede – Memel
Lindley – Petrus Steyn
Harrismith – Olivierhoek
Memel - Bothaspas
Rouxville – Zastron
Zastron – Wepener
We came through a painful and gloomy history due to the 23 roads that painted a very negative picture about ourselves. We have turned the tide and put the gloomy past behind our backs.
Speaker, ours was not an easy road, it took resilience and honesty to overcome and move mountains as most people never thought that we will turn the corner. We extend our appreciation and gratitude to the Office of the Premier, Provincial Treasury, National Treasury, the National Department of Transport and all stake holders that made it possible that we should transcend this impasse. Well done once more, “lets soldier on, together we can do more”.
We are an agricultural province, as such; we need to create a conducive environment for the rural and farming communities by promoting mobility, access and movement. Informed by this stark reality we will continue to blade and re-gravel our rural roads, to improve the economic and social life in the province. Equally, the bad state of road infrastructure in Maokeng / Kroonstad will receive focused and dedicated attention in improving and revitalising the state of affairs.
Speaker, we will be repositioning the role of the Government Garage in our quest to assist and support the municipalities, in particular, and the provision of yellow and white fleet in sharing the limited resources at our disposal.
We will be looking at improved ways and means of making the government garage more efficient by assigning some revenue generation initiatives, intended to sustain the Department.
The ever ageing technical skills in our roads camps and maintenance team warrant some innovative ways. To this end, we will consider amongst others, aligning some of such services with the Government Garage to consolidate and complement our operations. The Government Garage has made us proud. We are inundated by deputations from other Provinces on regular basis approaching us for assistance, and have taken our model and are currently implementing this model.
The National Defence Force is currently observing our operations with the view of adopting the best practices in fleet management.We will not invent a model and abandon such to other Provinces, who claim success. This reminds me of the words of a revolutionary Amilcar Cabral “Tell no lies, and claim no easy victories”
Honourable Speaker, in conclusion, as I table the total budget of R1.755 billion which we are presenting today for the Department of Police, Roads and Transport, we excitedly accept the challenge to ceaselessly ensure safety at home and on our roads whilst contributing to economic sustainability and the creation of job opportunities in the province.
For all that to happen, collaborative partnership between and among diverse public and private institutions and bodies has to be developed and retained.
It is in that spirit that I give special thanks to the Premier of the Free State Provincial Government, my colleagues in Cabinet and the Portfolio Committee in particular the Chairperson.
Speaker, I sincerely thank staff in my office, the HoD and the management in the department for their sterling and unparalleled leadership.
Special thank to my beautiful wife, my son and my daughter for their unwavering, unequalled support and deep understanding for allowing me not to be home for weeks on end.
“We are not courageous, we serve the courageous God”
I thank you.
Issued by: Free State Police, Roads and Transport
23 Mar 2012
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