Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport 2019/20 budget vote speech: tabled by MEC Jacob Mamabolo at the Gauteng Legislature
Madame Speaker and Deputy Speaker
Honourable Premier and members of the Executive Council
Chief whip of the majority party
Honourable members of the Gauteng Legislature senior officials of the department led by Acting HoD Mampuru
Distinguished guests the people of Gauteng
Honourable Speaker, it is an honour for me to present the Budget of the Department of Roads and Transport, which is just over R7.7 billion for the 2019/20 financial year.
The budget increases to about R8 billion in the second period of the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and reduces to about R5 billion in the third year. This means that over the MTEF this budget will be about R20 billion.
We deliver this budget fully conscious of the critical role that transport plays in enabling economic activity. It is a well-established international trend that transport is by far the biggest employer in any economy.
We are quite conscious that in the current economic climate, we are charged with igniting the logistics sector and connect various economic activities from across all five corridors of development in Gauteng.
Our province remains a key pillar in the economies of the countries that constitute the Southern African Development Community and the continent of Africa.
Of the R7.7 billion rand allocated to the Department, R2.1 billion will be allocated to our infrastructure projects. Through the construction of new assets and the maintenance of existing ones, the Department is geared to achieving its vision of a modern integrated, efficient and sustainable transport network and systems in Gauteng.
Our goal of a strategic economic transport infrastructure that stimulates socio-economic growth contributes to the Provincial Government’s Transformation, Modernisation and Re-Industrialisation programme and also to the National Development Plan.
Our Department manages and maintains a provincial road network consisting of five thousand, six hundred and thirty-eight (5 638km) kilometers of roads, with an asset value of over R40 billion.
During the period under review, the Department has rehabilitated three hundred and eighty two thousand square meters (382, 997 m2) of the provincial surfaced roads, ensuring improved socio-economic accessibility, road quality and travel safety of road users traversing these roads.
Some of major route projects that we have scheduled for upgrades in the current financial year include the following:
- The upgrading of Tsamaya Road in Mamelodi, between the R21 and Bronkhorstspruit Road. This road will be an important new link between Mamelodi and the N4.
- The upgrading and doubling of Solomon Mahlangu Road from the N4 to Mamelodi and to the K54. The road connects the Pretoria CBD and other areas of economic activity in Pretoria East, notably Mamelodi. The project involves the doubling of nine 9 kms of an existing single carriageway to increase capacity, safety and accessibility for existing and future developments along the Solomon Mahlangu Road.
- The heavy Rehabilitation of the R511 from Diepsloot to Muldersdrift, which entails the upgrade of some 14,4 km of road between the two areas.
- The Phase 2 of the rehabilitations of Road P175/1 from Vanderbijlpark to Potchefstroom, which entails the rehabilitation of 11.8km of road between the two areas.
Honourable Speaker, while we have upgraded and built new economic linkages in our province, our Achilles’ heel, however, remains the worrying issue of project abandonment.
The resolution of this challenge, which often results in untold inconveniences to road users and long stoppages, will be prioritised in this financial year. This is to ensure that these projects are delivered without delay, at the right quality and within budget.
We believe that delays in the delivery of transport infrastructure have a huge bearing on the movement of goods and people across the province, the country and the region. This can no longer be allowed to continue.
Madame Speaker the Gautrain continues to demonstrate that it is not just a mode of transport, but a critical game-changer in many respects. As the recent study, conducted by consultancy firm Hatch, has revealed that the Gautrain continues to deliver jobs and investment, and has transformed commuting behaviour in our province.
Through the Gautrain’s seven years of operation and close to 97 million passenger trips, the Gauteng Government has demonstrated that the face of public transport can be radically changed.
It is for this reason that in this financial year we are committing R2.1 billion to the Gautrain so that it continues to manage, co-ordinate and oversee the operations and maintenance of its infrastructure.
Part of these funds should also go towards the planning for the extension of the system to accommodate future demand and new services as identified in the province’s 25-year Integrated Transport Master Plan (ITMP25).
In terms of oversight of the Concessionaire, the Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) has ensured high levels of operational efficiency, backed by good personnel and property safety as well as security within the system.
External factors such as strikes by bus drivers have, however, at times impacted negatively on the Gautrain in terms of passenger demand. In particular, lengthy strikes by bus drivers in May 2018, and operator staff in July and August 2018 meant that targets for bus and train passengers could not be met.
But overall, in the absence of disruptions, which are beyond the control of Gautrain’s management, the train is on time 98 percent of the time.
Using the Gautrain’s best practice, our department will finalise a partnership with PRASA in the current financial year.
This will offer opportunities to young people with vocational background or training to gain practical experience in their journey of becoming fully qualified artisans in areas of Installation, Repairs and Maintenance.
This is our department’s contribution towards the commitment made by the Premier in his first State of the Province Address of the 6th administration. We will also ensure that Gautrain’s doors are open for value chain participation, especially for previously disadvantaged group.
Honourable members our department has a high vacancy rate, especially in critical posts. This is why one of our biggest priorities in this financial year is to build the capacity of the state to deliver.
Work is already underway to reconfigure the structure of our department so that we attract the right skills that are fit for purpose to move us forward. Our administration has been allocated a budget amount of R370 million to partly to undertake this important task.
In the allocation, R2.4 billion of our budget will go towards bus subsidies, another area of grave concern for the Department. In their current form, all thirty (30) subsidised bus contracts are archaic and extremely outdated and do not provide a safe, reliable and accessible public transport service to our people.
Following a study conducted by the CSIR into the division of these outdated bus routes, we will be going to the market with the objective of enter into new, more user-friendly bus subsidy contracts. This should be beneficial both to the state, commuters and operators alike.
As one of the oldest transport modes in our province, the taxi industry remains on the periphery of economic activity and this has to be corrected.
We have taken heed of what Honourable Premier David Makhura said when addressing the recent Gauteng Provincial Taxi Summit held in Sedibeng. There he remarked: “I wish to re-iterate that we remain steely in our determination to ensure that the taxi industry thrives, creates jobs, offers sustainable entrepreneurial opportunities and plays a meaningful role in the growth and development of our economy.”
This is the approach we will be employing dealing the taxi industry moving forward.
Ladies and gentlemen, if we want to touch the daily lives of sixty-seven percent (67%) of the commuter community, we have no choice but to work with the sector in its effort to corporatize.
We agree that with the Honourable Premier that the main players in the industry should be taken back to school. Consequently, work is underway to establish the Gauteng Taxi Academy which is expected to be a game changer in the sector.
Working with universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training or TVET Colleges across the province, we will develop a curriculum that will help in training taxi owners and drivers in basic commercial, operational and management principles.
This will assist them to identify other available industries that they can take advantage of.
The reliance on the minibus taxi as a sole income generator is not sustainable. It is part of the problem as it also perpetuates the use of violence in the competition over limited and often over saturated taxi routes.
The province will prioritise economic nodes and hubs for the taxi industry.
In the current financial year, the Alexandra Automotive Hub will be operationalised and the department, working together with public and private stakeholders, will help in ensuring the sustainability of the project.
Public Transport Economic Hubs are aimed at supporting and unlocking the taxi industry economy. Vehicle Testing Stations (VTS) will also form part of the public transport economic hubs.
The programme will be expanded to other regions over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework period including Chamdor as implemented at Alex Auto Hub.
Our department is currently exploring the taxi Wi-Fi and digital voucher, with a pilot earmarked for West Rand region.
I am happy to announce that, in line with the Department’s 25-year Integrated Transport Master Plan, we are moving closer to the establishment of a fully-fledged transport authority for Gauteng.
The policy framework for a single transport authority and legislative frame work for the Gauteng Transport Authority was adopted during the fifth administration. What remains is for us to operationalise the institution and we are on it.
Once established the Gauteng Transport Authority will facilitate the integrated planning and co-ordination of public transport across all spheres of government in the province.
We have commenced with setting up the facility and its operations during the current financial year.
The Department continues to lead in the establishment of the Tambo Springs Freight and Logistic Hub, a National Development Plan (NDP) strategic infrastructure initiative, which has gained traction with the completion of the detailed designs for the K148/N3 interchange, an important road link to the Freight Hub.
The construction of the interchange will commence in the third quarter of the current financial, and on its completion, will relieve a lot of congestion on this major artery and therefore make the movement of people and goods much easier.
The Tambo Springs hub is part of a broader drive to move rail-friendly cargo from road to rail, which is one of the key pillars of the 25-Year Integrated Transport Master Plan.
We have allocated over R898 million towards g-Fleet, R350 million of which will go to fleet recapitalisation. This will ensure that our clients have access to a reliable fleet that is customer oriented, with an average age of less than four years.
To ensure that our fleet is well maintained and compliant with the Road Traffic Act and other relevant prescripts, our budget for fleet maintenance has been increased to R170 million. This will go a long way to keeping government’s service delivery on the move.
In conclusion Madam Speaker allow me to thank the staff of the Department of Roads and Transport under the leadership of Acting Head of Department, Mr Makhukhu Mampuru, CEO of g-Fleet Ms Noxolo Maninjwa and CEO of Gautrain, Mr Jack van der Merwe and all staff members for their hard work and dedication to the cause of our department.
I have been welcomed with warms in the department and look forward to working with this team to help the public transport and roads
infrastructure milieu of the Gauteng into one that all citizens will be proud of.
I wish also to thank Dr Ismail Vadi my predecessor in title, who has steered the ship for nine solid years. Through the department and its entities has done some sterling work most of which has gone largely understated.
Thank you to the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Honourable Dumisani Dakile, and members of the Portfolio Committee for their support and oversight.
Allow me to also thank all transport stakeholders for their support and commitment to growing the economy of the Gauteng through a modern and integrated transport system.
I thank you