Policy and budget speech for the financial year 2009/10 of the Eastern Cape Department of Roads and Transpoprt, presented by MEC Ghishma Barry, Eastern Cape provincial legisleture, Bhisho
25 Jun 2009
Honourable speaker Honourable Premier Honourable members Government officials Distinguished guests Ladies and gentlemen
Twenty years ago on a message to the Soweto Rally to welcome released leaders, the then President of the African National Congress, Comrade Oliver Tambo had this to say: “We look forward to the day which is not far from now, when we shall rejoin you within the country as servants of the people to take further orders from these heroic masses as to what new task they give us to perform.”
Four years later, when addressing the International Solidarity Conference in Johannesburg on the theme: “From apartheid to peace, democracy and development,” Comrade Tambo said the following:
“As our task will not end with the election of a democratic government, so do we believe that your task will also not end at that point? We believe that we must stand together in creating the new South Africa.
'When our work is done, let all look at the new South Africa with hope and encouragement hope and encouragement because she will have demonstrated that it is possible for people of different colours and different races and nationalities to live together in peace and friendship, sharing a common sense of nationhood and humanity.”
Honourable speaker, two months ago our people renewed our mandate through an overwhelming majority, which means that as servants, we have further orders from the heroic masses of our people and a new task to perform.
We believe that working together with our people, we can create the new South Africa that OR Tambo referred to, which is non-racial, non-sexist, caring, democratic and prosperous.
Over the last 15 years of our freedom and liberation, we remained focused on building a South Africa that we can all look at with hope and encouragement. Through our Reconstruction and Development Programme and other pro-poor programmes initiated by the democratic state, we have been able to address the desperate needs and concerns of the poor and the oppressed.
Despite our decisive and visible advances to address the imbalances of the past, we still believe that we can do more to create work and fight poverty. We remain on course in our efforts to advance towards the realization of our Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Provincial Growth and Development Plan (PGDP) targets of halving unemployment and poverty by 2014.
Our response to this challenge is mainly to expand the frontiers of opportunity through directing resources to the poorest of the poor, while simultaneously accelerating growth and transformation of our economy.
We will do this through the creation of decent work based on labour intensive methods and progressive procurement policies, which are biased towards the previously marginalised groups in our society such as women, youth and the disabled.
1. Programme one: Administration
Honourable speaker, as we start the new term of office, we want to hit the ground running and ensure that this department does not become one of the best Departments, but “The Best” in the province.
There is potential to achieve that goal as this department scooped seven Premier’s Balasela Awards earlier this year, which clearly indicate the capability of the management and staff to deliver quality transportation service to the people of the Eastern Cape.
In the last financial year, we had clear and measurable targets that address the Provincial Growth and Development Plan (PGDP) requirements using available financial resources.
In line with government policy on vulnerable groups, we have continued to provide training on business skills, welding and leather work to ten taxi violence and public transport accidents victims in the Buffalo City area. This will be followed by a roll out of a sign language project and establishment of structures for empowerment of women, youth and people with disabilities in all other districts.
In an effort to improve our interaction with the members of the public, we have continued to improve the capacity of our Customer Care Centre in East London and this has resulted in 24,687 calls being received. This year, in line with our Service Delivery Improvement Plan, we will continue to upgrade the facility and its accessibility in order to enhance our capacity.
Honourable members, in line with the resolutions of this house, which encouraged the Department to improve the communication of its programmes to the public, we have developed a five year communication strategy, which is integrated into the Departmental Strategic Plan. To show our commitment to improve departmental communication, we have budgeted R10 million under the core functions.
We have further revamped our newsletter: The Transporter. Our website has been upgraded with added features like being able to view traffic fines online. This year, we will introduce Quarterly Exhibition and Outreach Programmes in order to improve our interaction with the masses on the ground.
Our first stop will be Ukhahlamba District on 30 June 2009. In the last financial year, we spent R2,8 billion. Similar to our track record of the previous years, we will maintain our strategy and ensure that our budget of R3 billion is spent with value and transparency.
The department collected R317 million in own revenue, which included R10 million as a once off sale of office furniture, equipment and machinery. We exceeded our target of R296 million by R19 million.
We will retain our consistence of collecting revenue against the given target. We are projecting to collect R315 million as revenue mainly from the motor vehicle license fees in the face of the economic downturn, which would have an impact on the number of vehicles in circulation.
We see a need to embark on capacity building to SMME’s to enable them to enter into the mainstream of the provincial economy. This would be supported by showcases of suppliers’ days in each district.
Honourable speaker, we will continue to nurture skills that are highly needed in order to transform our transport sector and the economy of the province, with a particular focus on youth. These include the fields such as civil, mechanical and transport engineering, rail, aviation and maritime.
The 2008/09 year saw 707 young people benefiting from awarded bursaries, learnership and internship programmes. A particular focus was placed on Administration, Roads Infrastructure, Public Transport and Traffic Management. September 2008 marked the commencement of employment of a group of 52 previously unemployed Eastern Cape graduates in the department.
They have been placed in the MEC’s Office, Human Resource Development, Supply Chain Management, Community-Based Transportation, Finance, Traffic Safety, Public Transport, Traffic Control, Information Technology Services and Human Resource Management.
The total number of interns appointed by the Department for 2008/09 is 187. Our Maths and Science Project continues to bring hope for a better transport sector, a better Eastern Cape and prosperous future.
The project has spread to more previously disadvantaged communities, including Cala / Elliot and Buffalo City The number of Maths and Science Project beneficiaries for 2008/09 is 600. In November 2008, this project expanded to Ikwezi Municipality (Klipplaat and Jansenville), thereby opening the doors of learning and culture to a wider audience.
Young, highly skilled engineers are being nurtured through our Construction Learnership Project. These projects are currently underway in the Klipplaat to Jansenville Road, Alicedale Road, Peddie and Ngangelizwe, further empowering communities and transfer ring much needed skills. Another group of young engineers is currently undergoing training at our Centres of Excellence in Graaff Reinet and Grahamstown.
2. Programme two: Roads infrastructure
Honourable speaker, as per the Premier’s announcement, the function of this programme will be handed over to MEC Majodina, the MEC for Roads and Public Works who will pronounce on the processes to be followed in transferring the function.
We have made an undertaking through our manifesto that we will pay a particular attention on rural development. Many rural communities, especially in this province, are not connected to the main road network and do not have reliable access to socio-economic development opportunities and government services.
In order for us to emerge victorious in our struggle against poverty and underdevelopment, it is essential for government to uplift the standard of living through the provision of basic services and infrastructure.
It is a universally renowned fact that roads infrastructure forms the foundation for sustainable development as well as providing mobility for our people. The current limited mobility and accessibility has entrenched the isolation and marginalisation of the majority of our people from the mainstream economy.
In order to further improve service delivery, the department established a project management office during October 2008. The objective of the project management office is to pro-actively monitor all departmental projects and improve the reporting process.
The department foresees an improvement of efficiencies within the programme as a direct result of this strategic initiative. This unit has been focused on the management of yellow fleet assets and departmental projects, including ensuring compliance with the relevant policies and procedures.
The rehabilitation of the road between East London Airport and Lillyvale has been completed and construction of the three bridges on the R72 near Kariega and Bushman’s River is progressing well, but motorists are experiencing delays as a result of the stop / go occurring through a single lane.
This will allow wider lanes over the bridges on the R72 in preparation for the widening of the Road pavement. The R72 Tolling strategy social impact study was completed in May 2009. During this year the Fonteinkloof to Nanaga section has commenced with construction and will be completed in 2011.
The basic study on the Wild Coast Meander has been completed. The study highlighted all the key environmental, social and economic issues along the area between the N2 and the coastline between Mooiplaas and Port St John’s.
The study was extended in June 2008 to not only deal with the meander, but all the collector roads leading towards the coast. As part of accelerating the implementation of the meander, the department has appointed a consultant to commence with the detailed designs of the section of the road from Coffee Bay to Zithulele.
We have further appointed a General Manager on Contract to manage the implementation of this project.
The bridge infrastructure will also receive attention during this financial year. The department has set aside R60 million for the rehabilitation and maintenance of bridges around the province. This is the biggest allocation ever in this province for maintenance of bridges to ensure proper management of crucial road infrastructure.
The construction of the road between Middledrift and Alice has been completed, which will result in the R63 between King Williams Town and Bedford being a class two road, except for the section between Alice and Fort Beaufort which is still a Class 3 road (narrow and without surfaced shoulders). The design phase of this section of the road has been completed.
During this year, we will concentrate on the R63, especially on the section between Bisho and Komga Junction to N2. This section will be designed and a contractor will commence with upgrades during 2010. This is an important link to the Provincial Head Offices from the former Transkei region.
The department is facing a challenge on the Maclear to Queenstown section of the R56, which has been under pressure from the PG Bison Factory trucks which are travelling to Johannesburg from the Ugie Plant. This problem is compounded by the fact that the exploration of the coal deposits on the Indwe Section of the R56 will commence during 2010.
The department has to ensure that proper plans are developed to assist with this challenge. The Rail Link between Maclear and Sterskstroom might be the only saviour to this problem and the study is being conducted to develop proper plans for this approach.
The R61 has been prone with accidents over the past few years especially the section between Magusheni to Mzamba. The department has appointed a service provider to complete the designs during this year. This will ensure that construction works commence in 2010. During the year, the department will reseal the section between Port St Johns and Ntafufu.
The Inaccessible and Impassable Roads Programme has been integrated into the Alternative Surfacing Technologies Programme. As the roads are made accessible, they will also be surfaced so that a more sustainable solution is attained to our vast gravel network.
Through the adjustment appropriation, R300 million was allocated to the project, of which 100% of the budgeted amount was used. The integration of the two programmes gives effect and content to the Department’s strategic objective of surfacing 80% of the gravel roads in terms of the 80/20 strategy. It marked a starting point of our 10 Year Provincial Roads Infrastructure Turn Around Plan, which is expected to cost approximately R3billion and create 1 000 jobs every year.
Training of both in-house staff and communities has commenced at the Centres of Excellence. Driver/operator training was conducted for staff at the Alfred Nzo and Port St John’s Municipality.
Routine Maintenance Training was provided to District Roads Engineers, Communities and Household Contractors. 16 interns are currently being trained to gain technical experience, with a view to register as professional technicians, technologists and engineers.
All the Outsourced Maintenance Contracts have protégés working with them as well, in order to build internal capacity. The new implementation model of the Department’s Routine Roads Maintenance Programme is yielding positive results and enjoys support of various stakeholders.
Since January 2009, the department introduced new elements to the former Area Wide Roads Maintenance model (introduced in 2003 but which expires during this financial year) to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the programme in an effort to improve the quality of work and to create space for SMMEs’ participation.
These include: minimisation of the role of consultants, wherein most of the work will be coordinated by the District Road Engineers (DREs) in partnership with the Project Steering Committees that comprise representatives from the municipalities and communities to identify and agree on priorities and keep the communities updated on progress.
Introduction of the route based method of road maintenance in order to create more opportunities for emerging contractors under the guidance of consultants and DREs.
2.1 Addition of capacity building element for emerging contractors
This intervention follows concerns raised by emerging contractors about the limited opportunities for their participation in the programme. A total of 32 municipalities are participating in the Routine Roads Maintenance programme at an annual cost of R220 million.
These include: Sundays River, Baviaans, Cacadu District, Koukamma, Kouga, Mbashe, Ngqushwa, Buffalo City, Great Kei, Sakhisizwe, Lukhanji, Tsolwana, Port St.Johns, Qaukeni, Nyandeni, Matatiele, Umzimvubu, Mnquma, Ngcobo, Makana, Ndlambe, Senqu, Amahlathi, Blue Crane, Intsika Yethu, Bizana, Mhlontlo, Camdeboo, Nkonkobe, Emalahleni, Elundini and Ntabankulu.
A total of eight major paved routes are to be included in the Route Maintenance Contracts at an annual cost of R60 million. These are R56, R58, R61, R62, R63, R67, R72, R75.
The Departmental Yellow Fleet assets have depreciated significantly over the years. Some of the fleet assets are over thirty years old and have therefore exceeded the period of their useful lives. Every year a substantial number of such obsolete fleet is disposed of through public auction. In the 2008/09 financial year, obsolete fleet and plant with a value of R4,3 million was disposed of.
The department has set a process in motion whereby each year, key construction, maintenance plant and machinery will be purchased. 12 graders have been purchased in the 2008/09 financial year and these were allocated according to the Inaccessible Roads and Alternative Surfacing Programmes. This programme will continue to be prioritised to ensure that the Department ultimately achieves its goals.
77 bakkies have been purchased to facilitate service delivery in the districts and the alternative surfacing programme.
The department will continue to procure machinery and envisages an increase in the allocation for plant recapitalisation over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) period.
This initiative will be maintained in a manner which facilitates substantial recapitalisation of the yellow fleet over the next ten years. The unit has increased its management of the outsourcing of maintenance through the Project Management Office.
This will ensure that a better service is provided and good turnaround times on all activities are achieved. An increase in utilisation of internal fleet to 70% is planned for the financial year 2009/10 through this approach.
In line with improving internal capacity, the department will also during that financial year upgrade various mechanical workshops. They will range from new upgrades to reconstruction of the structure.
Mthatha workshop is currently under design and will commence with construction during 2010/11F.Y. This workshop will play an integral part in the upgrade of the Wild Coast Meander and the establishment of a construction unit in the OR Tambo / Alfred Nzo areas.
The unit has increased its management of the outsourcing of maintenance through the Project Management Office. This will ensure that a better service is provided and good turnaround times on all activities are achieved. An increase in utilisation of internal fleet to 70% is planned for the financial year 2009/10 through this approach.
The department has embarked upon a programme to upgrade the camping facilities of workers. Funds have been made available to provide decent facilities to these individuals in the form of park homes. This program will ensure that these are upgraded to depots over the next three years. An amount of R23 million has been set aside for this project during this financial year.
3. Programme three: Public transport
Phase one of our award winning Bhisho Airport Upgrade has been completed. On that note, honourable speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Port Alfred based 43 Air School on its 20th Anniversary. Next month, as part of these celebrations, we will host the 1st Anniversary of the Bhisho Airport Campus.
The province wishes to avail this airport for the movement of people and cargo during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The Mthatha Airport will receive a complete facelift to ensure more accessibility to Mthatha and surrounding areas so as to support any future developments in the area. Consultants have been appointed and construction is scheduled to start in July 2009.
The last financial year saw the roll out of the Africa’s Best 350 (AB350) project with the delivery of 58 buses in the OR Tambo and Alfred Nzo Districts to service 55 routes and transported 2.151 million people with a subsidy amounting to R25, 692,040.30. The passenger numbers relate to an average of 84 passengers per trip per bus, which shows the dire need for public transport in the rural areas. Four depots for the use of AB350 have also been developed in Bizana, Matatiele, Mount Frere and Mthatha, where the AB350 head office is situated. A total of 198 direct jobs and 22 indirect jobs have been created.
Last month, phase two of this project commenced in the Chris Hani District with 18 buses to service 17 routes in Lady Frere, Cofimvaba, Indwe and Queenstown. A total of 48 people have already been appointed in Queenstown as drivers, cleaners, conductors and managers.
Another 25 additional buses will be distributed to the Amathole District later this year to service 24 routes in Butterworth, Centane, Dutywa and Ngqamakhwe.
An amount of R54,8 million has been provided for both phases.
The last financial year saw Mayibuye Transport Corporation transporting 2,1 million passengers.
The corporation continues with its normal operations, of which approximately 80% can be classified as rural in nature. An amount of R43 million has been made available for operational purposes.
We will continue with the recapitalisation of the corporation’s bus fleet and an amount of R8,5 million has been made available as capital grant in aid. However, further funding for recapitalisation is needed urgently to ensure that the bus fleet is upgraded more rapidly and also to upgrade the depots and maintenance facilities of the corporation.
The department continues to manage and administer an Interim Contract with Algoa Bus Company to which the national Department of Transport is a signatory. During 2008/09, Algoa Bus Company transported 20,160,190 million passengers.
In the past, the services rendered in terms of this contract were funded through transfer payments from the national Department of Transport. From 2009/10, this contract will be funded through a conditional grant in terms of the Division of Revenue Act (DORA).
The grant for 2009/10 amounts to R126,540,000. One of the requirements of DORA is that the contract with Algoa Bus Company must be converted from a ticket based to a kilometre based subsidy. The department is working very hard on this conversion in order to implement the converted contract by 1 July 2009.
Algoa Bus Company will continue to participate actively in the 2010 projects in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.
During 2008/09 financial year, the Department distributed 3,900 bicycles to mainly rural school children. The Department’s monitoring of the impact of the project showed that school attendance has improved significantly in those schools where bicycles have been distributed.
This project is therefore making a real difference on the ground in terms of service delivery and the department plans to procure a further 7,500 bicycles during the 2009/10 financial year.
A total of 6,000 of these bicycles will be for the next academic year that starts in January 2010. A further 12 containers will be procured for conversion into bicycle maintenance shops.
A total amount of R3 million has been made available for this purpose.
The department has made effective strides in supporting the Education Department with the provision of scholar transport within the province. Part of this initiative is ensuring that all the contracted service providers have roadworthy vehicles and proper operating licence permits.
Honourable speaker, we remain on course on our move “back to rail”. Our award winning Kei Rail Project is making great progress. A total of 12 556 people were transported through our weekend service between March 2008 and May 2009.The introduction of the daily service in March 2009 further increased the passenger figures.
This service has already had a socio-economic impact, particularly in job creation and poverty alleviation:
424 employment opportunities, especially for youth (258), women (99) and people with disabilities (4)
R43 million which was paid to contractors, of which R21,9 million was spent on 40 SMMEs.
Phelophepha train provided healthcare services on this line at affordable prices. As a result, 497 patients were treated, 223 602 students received various healthcare services including HIV and AIDS, dental care and workshops in 2008. So far this year, 2 474 patients and 318 students were assisted.
Honourable members, in response to the requests from commuters for us to improve accessibility to the Kei Rail Daily Service, this financial year we will open ten new stations at Ross, Stockton, Bleakmoor, Sihota, Emgcwe, Ntisana, Bashee, Ndyebo, Madontsi and Zimbane.
This clearly shows that government took a right decision by investing in this project, which now provides a safe, reliable, accessible and affordable public transport service. This plan will ensure better integration between the land we use and logistics.
The plan will also guide the department’s infrastructure especially roads by identifying various and ensure better use of all roads of transport for conveyance of goods. The rail and part of infrastructure is currently under utilised and creates more pressure for the road based infrastructure. The plan will guide the departmental infrastructure plans over the next 20 years.
The department has also commenced with its upgrade of weighbridge as part of Freight Management within the province. During this financial year Mthatha weighbridge will be upgraded and Queenstown will be constructed.
The Queenstown weighbridge designs will be completed by August2009.Currently the department is in a process of bid for the weighbridge through the Department of Public Works. The Weighbridges will be upgraded and prioritised in line with the Freight Logistics Plan.
The department has completed its extensive Ten Year Rail Plan, which seeks to ensure improved utilisation of the railway network within the province, and that new rail corridors are developed to support public and freight transportation. The Freight Logistics Plan will be completed by August 2009 and workshops will be conducted during this financial year to ensure better stakeholders engagement. The plan identifies corridors that the department needs to develop as freight corridors with the necessary and relevant freight facilities.
Maritime awareness campaigns were conducted during the period September to December 2008. The campaign primarily targeted community members and school pupils in grades 9 to 12.
The campaign included informing individuals of the potential maritime career opportunities, as well as extending the public’s maritime knowledge. The department has engaged the Port St Johns Municipality in ensuring maritime safety along the Port St John’s Area.
4. Programme four: Traffic management
Honourable speaker, while ensuring that our province has quality road infrastructure, we have another mammoth task of maintaining law and order on our roads.
Road signs are vital for warning and regulating traffic, but also for assisting motorists in navigating safely to their destinations. Three road signs upgrade contracts are underway on the R102, R63, R65, R67, R72 and R75. We have focused on these roads as part of our endeavour to have all the major provincial routes correctly signed in preparation for 2010 and beyond.
Last week, we unveiled FIFA compliant road signs that will be used to access the Public Viewing Areas in Grahamstown and Port St Johns during the Confederations Cup. Further road sign designs will be carried out on the R344, R392, R401, R726, R390, R391, R397, R401, R393, R394, and R396.
Speed limits will also be checked on these roads as the designs proceed. As intended a network of 22 permanent traffic counts were fully operational during 2008/09. Together with these, 376 short term counts were carried out as part of our programme to know the volumes of traffic using our roads. This will be extended by a further 200 counts in 2009/10.
We have made data counted to date, easily available for the use of the public by releasing it in Google Earth format and that information is available on our website: www.ectransport.gov.za.
As we prepare for the 2010 FIFA World Cup and beyond, the department aims to meet future demands by:
Increasing the number of traffic officers on our roads and as such, 160 trainee traffic officers are to be trained at the Nelson Mandela Traffic College and the first group is due for graduation on 24 June 2009. At the beginning of the month of July 2009 another group of 50 trainee officers will start their training.
Aservice provider has already been engaged to provide refresher courses for all our traffic officers in the province. The training will be in four phases and is earmarked to commence in July 2009. The idea is to ensure that our traffic officers are ready to face the challenges that might be there in 2010 and beyond.
An arrive alive task team is in place and doing a wonderful job specializing on alcohol abuse especially when driving and walking. In the last festive season, we saw a 30% decline in road accidents and I have instructed that this Task Team should continue with its work until 2010 in partnership with the SAPS and municipalities.
Ambark on social marketing strategy in preparation for 2010 to beef up the 100 Campaigns in Mass Communication and Arrive Alive that will be conducted.
Currently we are in the process of establishing satellite traffic offices on strategic routes that are critical in terms of road accidents. This process will include upgrading existing traffic stations for enhanced operations at these facilities. Minor repairs have been completed at Engcobo, Queenstown, East London, Alice and Butterworth Stations.
In an effort to support our traffic officers, the department has introduced a Support Services unit in June 2008 to provide relief to all employees within the department especially with regard to the following:
Debriefing of traffic officers who witness horrific accidents on our roads.
Offer counselling to those employees who need the service, regarding breaking marriages, and loss of a loved one.
Participate in mass funerals of the people who die on our roads.
Bury those traffic officers and other employees who die on duty, by giving them decent funerals.
Organise Traffic and Road Safety Day of Prayer, in preparation for the Arrive Alive Campaign.
Promotion of moral values and enhances the Batho Pele principles in the department.
Offer ongoing pastoral duties to all the employees of the department.
Madam speaker, this year will see improved service delivery through decentralisation of certain eNaTIS Helpdesk functions to districts by establishing satellite helpdesk (Government Registering Authorities) in districts. One of the satellites in Cacadu District is up and running.
The decentralised helpdesk function or transactions is management of personalised and specific number plates, duplicate documents such as duplicate registration certificates. The other five districts will be rolled out by the end of this month.
The roll out of the South African Post Office service has moved ahead and 40 additional offices were opened last year bringing the total number of outlets to 101 throughout the province. Plans are at an advanced stage to roll out a further 30 sites during this financial year in the midlands of our province.
Honourable speaker, a project to manage the unlicensed vehicle population on the system was launched in April 2008 with an unlicensed vehicle population of 34,650 by establishing a special debt collection or revenue inspectors unit in districts to manage it. By the end of March 2009, this number had dropped to 26,760.
Our traffic safety unit will maximise safety programmes to focus on youth in order to inculcate a traffic safety culture through benefits of knowledge, skills, changed behaviour, and attitude. Four projects have been identified, namely:
School debate, which won the Premier’s Balasela Award
Participatory educational techniques
Learner driver education.
We will continue imparting knowledge and skills to learners through curriculum integration by providing Traffic Safety learner and teacher support material and training.
The targets on scholar programmes and projects will be:
increased by 30% of Scholar projects and programmes to reach 1950 schools
618 trainings or workshops or road shows conducted.
Endeavours will be made for women and youth to participate in our Driver of the Year Competitions to be held later in the year.
In a quest to deal with the challenge of stray animals on our roads, a Stray Animal task team has been established to aggressively eradicate stray animal related accidents on our roads through community outreach programmes. Community structures are engaged through meetings and training workshops in order to ensure maximum participation in the programme.
5. Programme five: EPWP Sakha Isizwe Community Based Transportation
Honourable speaker and Honourable members, for the past two years the Department of Roads and Transport has been implementing the award winning EPWP/Community Based Transportation Programme.
The aim of the programme is to create economic empowerment in the transportation sector and alleviate poverty through the use of labour intensive interventions and community based approaches to foster an integrated transportation solution to the challenges that continue to confront our people in the Eastern Cape.
Through this programme, the department has made an immense contribution to job creation, skills development and poverty alleviation in our province in line with the Provincial Growth and Development Plan (PGDP), Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa (AsgiSA), Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA) and Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).
Last year, this department made the following commitments in respect of EPWP / Community Based Transportation programme interventions:
Household contractor programme.
Upscaling of EPWP job opportunities.
Emerging contractor development programme
Road ranger programme.
District EPWP projects.
Training and learnership programme.
Honourable speaker, allow me to share with you some of the highlights regarding the above-mentioned programmatic interventions.
5.1 Household Contractor Programme
The Household Contractor Programme is the department’s flagship for employment creation and poverty alleviation. This programme focuses on the poorest of the poor, targeting women headed households throughout the province. In the last financial year, we exceeded our target of employing 6 000 households by employing 6 239.
To date, the Household Contractor Programme has appointed 11,240 household contractors to do weekly roadside maintenance work such as bush clearing, roadside cleaning and grass cutting. These household contractors previously had no source of income and through this programme, their dignity has been restored.
A total of 1,033 household contractors have been trained in life and technical skills. In 2009/10, an additional 4000 household contractors will be trained in life and technical skills.
Honourable members, I am deeply honoured to announce in this house that this programme won a Gold Award in the Premier’s Balasela Awards last year for employing a large number of people more than any other programme in the province.
Household Contractor Programme Employment is as follows (Annual renewable contracts):
In this financial year, the Household Contractor Programme will employ an additional 7,000 people, with each District expected to contribute 1,167 work opportunities. This will amount to a cumulative 18,000 jobs to be created by this department by April 2010.
Honourable speaker, in line with the programme objective of developing and empowering communities, we will further facilitate the establishment of exit strategies for household contractors through sustainable economic and livelihood activities. These exit strategies will act as mechanisms for livelihood and investment opportunities for household contractors when their contracts have come to an end.
We are pleased to announce that these exit strategies will be piloted in Alfred Nzo, Amathole, Chris Hani and Ukhahlamba Districts during this financial year.
5.2 Road Ranger Programme
Honourable speaker, the high rate of road accidents caused by stray animals compelled the department in 2008/09 to implement the Road Ranger Programme as a means to decrease vulnerability to road accidents by monitoring stray animals through community involvement and creating awareness and ownership of road safety in communities, especially in rural areas.
In 2008/09, this programme employed a total of 106 road rangers.
Due to persistently high number of road accidents caused by stray animals, the Department has decided to expand the Road Ranger Programme in 2009/10. To this end, an additional 240 road rangers will be employed.
Planned road ranger employment for 2009/10 per district is as follows:
District: Alfred Nzo
Total number employed: 51 Youth: 15
Total number employed: 54 Youth: 16
Total number employed: 40 Youth: 12
District: Chris Hani
Total number employed: 94 Youth: 28
District: O R Tambo
Total number employed: 59 Youth: 18
Total number employed: 48 Youth: 14
Total number employed: 346
5.3 Short term district EPWP projects
Honourable members, in 2008/09, short term district EPWP projects were implemented with the aim of creating employment through the maintenance of the provinces roads. The department succeeded in creating the following employment opportunities:
Short-term employment created for 2008/09 financial year per district:
Honourable speaker, a notable development in this programme is a decision made by the department to assist municipalities in the maintenance of airstrips. Currently the province has about 110 airstrips, some of which are located in close proximity to hospitals, clinics and tourism destinations.
Airstrips also play an important safety and security role as they are at times used by the police and rescue services in times of emergency. However, a disconcerting fact is that most of these airstrips are in a state of disrepair.
In order to rehabilitate these assets, the Community Based Transportation Programme will work together with the Civil Aviation Directorate to roll out the maintenance of 12 airstrips mainly in the Eastern part of the Province. Through initiatives like these and other road related infrastructure projects in Districts, the Department will create 1 000 short term work opportunities.
5.4 Up-scaling of EPWP job opportunities
Honourable speaker, the purpose of EPWP up-scaling is to help accelerate the construction, maintenance, upgrading and rehabilitation of new and existing infrastructure in a manner that enhances the application of labour intensive methods for the maximisation of job creation and skills development as encapsulated in the EPWP guidelines. One of the flagship projects was Mthatha Quarry, which was completed last year, and we are now busy with three other projects and they are:
Honourable speaker and members, earlier this year, National Cabinet approved the roll-out of EPWP Phase 2 whose primary objective is to: “Create 4,5 million (short and on-going) work opportunities for poor and unemployed people in South Africa so as to contribute to halving unemployment by 2014, through the delivery public and community services. (This will scale up 500,000 per year in 2009/10 to 1,5 million work opportunities in 2013/14).”
The Department of Roads and Transport is poised to contribute to the massification of work opportunities during EPWP phase two.
In the 2009/10 financial year, the department has been allocated an amount of R282,816 million through the Infrastructure Grant to Provinces (IGP) and a projected 1,178 full time equivalent jobs will be created.
5.5 Emerging Contractor Development Programme
Honourable members, the upliftment of our people to take advantage of economic opportunities in our province is of paramount importance to the department. During the 2008/09 financial year, the department developed Emerging Contractor Development Programme Protocol and Guidelines.
These are intended to assist the Department to create an enabling environment for the development of emerging contractors in a coordinated and systematic manner. The implementation of the Protocol will assist with the development of an additional pool of new contractors particularly from black, women, youth and disabled sectors of the community.
The guidelines are intended to be consistent with industry’s best practice and standards, and would provide the basis for the creation of co-operation between the department and stakeholders in the transportation sector. In this financial year, the Programme will train 30 emerging contractors in the Construction Industry Development Board Grades one to four.
6. Transportation forums
Honourable members, during 2008/09, the department successfully established District and Local Transport Forums across the province. In pursuance of our vision of Quality Service Delivery through Transportation Excellence, the Community Based Transportation Programme has facilitated the functioning of transportation forums as vehicles for community / stakeholder empowerment and involvement.
In 2008/09, 42 District and Local Transport Forums were trained in order to enable them to effectively discharge their duties as critical stakeholders in the transportation sector. This year, the programme will concentrate on strengthening the functioning of Local Transport Forums in all six districts of the department.
7. Rural Bridge Strategy
Honourable members, three years ago, the executive council gave a go ahead to the department to pilot and roll out a Rural Bridge Strategy for the province. This was informed by the fact that the Eastern Cape is faced with a colossal problem of impassable rivers due to a lack bridges and other adequate means of crossing in most of our rural areas.
In the 2008/09 financial year, the Department undertook an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Geo-technical survey in Dwesa-Cwebe where the bridge structure is to be piloted during the 2009/10 Financial Year. We believe that this initiative will go a long way towards improving access to social services and economic opportunities for the rural population of our province.
Honourable members, we remain convinced that working together with our people we can realise these undertakings and contribute to the building of a new Eastern Cape and a South Africa that we can all look at with pride, hope and encouragement.
We dare not falter and victory is certain!
Honourable speaker, I table here today, the following documents:
My policy speech for 2009/10
The Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan for the department
Mayibuye Transport Corporation’s Strategic Plan and Annual Performance Plan