Minister Joe Maswanganyi: Transport Dept Budget Vote NCOP 2017/18

20 Jun 2017

National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Budget Vote Speech By Minister of Transport, Mr Joe Maswanganyi, MP, NCOP Chambers, Cape Town

Honourable Chairperson,
Honourable Members of the National Council of Provinces, Ministers, Deputy Ministers and MECs,
Representatives of South African Local Government Association (SALGA),
Acting Director-General Mr Mathabatha Mokonyama, management and staff of the Department,
The leadership and representatives of Transport Entities,
All members of the Transport Fraternity,
Members of the media,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen

South Africa is a unitary and sovereign state based on democracy, the rule of law, pursuit of equal human rights, non-racialism, nonsexism and the equality of all persons.

Addressing the Conference of Heads of State of Non-Aligned Countries in Delhi in March 1983, President Oliver Tambo, said the apartheid system was a socio-economic and political anachronism which has been very aptly identified as a crime against humanity and that to catalogue the manifestations of that crime is itself a harrowing exercise and evokes a deep sense of revulsion.

In the past twenty three (23) years of freedom and democracy, the ANC government has been working tirelessly to improve the overall condition of life of the majority of South Africans.

Service delivery has improved dramatically underlining the fact that government ensured that it meets its commitment to advance progressively towards the achievement of the goal of a better life for all.

The fight against poverty has been a central tenant to the work of the democratic government and drives the government`s Programme of Action.

Honourable Chairperson, we remain resolute in the implementation of the National Infrastructure Plan which aims to transform our economic landscape while simultaneously creating significant numbers of new jobs, and strengthen the delivery of basic services,

We will transform the structure of the economy by creating black industrialists with the biggest chunk of our investment in infrastructure continue to be directed towards broad-based black economic empowerment, benefiting women, youth and people living with disabilities.

In order to continuously broaden wide participation of all South Africans in the transport value chain, the Transport Sector B-BBEE Charter Council undertook nine provincial road shows with the intention to engage all sub- sectors of transport to redress the apartheid legacy of economic exclusion.

Using the Single Transport Economic Regulator Bill, we intend to deal decisively with regulatory shortcomings across the transport sector, which will lead to transparency in pricing and levelling the playing field within the transport industry.

We also conducted the National Transport Master Plan (NATMAP) 2050 Road Shows in provinces. The NATMAP 2050, aims to achieve an integrated, smart and efficient transport system supporting a thriving economy that promotes sustainable economic growth, supports a healthier life style, provides safe and accessible mobility options, socially includes all communities and preserves the environment.

We have successfully gazetted the draft National Land Transport Strategic Framework (NLTSF) which represents an overarching, national five-year Transport Strategy that provides guidance on transport planning and land transport delivery by National Government to all Provinces and Municipalities.

Honourable Chairperson, The attitudes and  irresponsible  choices  of our road users continue unabated to cause loss of lives on our roads. This is so because human factor remains a causal factor for most of the crashes and injuries we continue to experience on our roads. We all know that this can be avoidable if we all prioritise road safety and use our roads responsibly.

Our statistics indicates that people who died on the roads are passengers followed by pedestrians, drivers and cyclists.

Most fatal crashes happened in the after-hours of the day, especially from 18:00 to 22:00 to the early hours. The intensified collaboration and engagement between the Department of Public Service Administration, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), provincial governments and labour formations will pave the way for the introduction of a 24/7 work shift within the traffic law enforcement fraternity ensuring the availability of officers on the road at all material times.

Cabinet approved the new Road Safety Strategy. There are plans are now in place to conduct road shows with provinces, municipalities and private sector to deal with the scourge of road fatalities and injuries.

It is therefore critical for appropriate cooperative and inter-governmental agreements, formal partnerships and oversight structures to be established. This is done to ensure road safety is dealt with in a cohesive, transversal and integrated manner.

Equally important, we have started a Parliamentary process led by the Portfolio Committee on Transport (PCoT) to extensively consult on the AARTO Amendment Bill which will introduce a demerit system intended to improve the conduct and behaviour of drivers on the roads.

Honourable Chairperson, the Department of Transport endeavours to enhance travel experience by improving and maintaining the national road network for the social development and economic growth of South Africa.

At 750 000 kilometres, the South African Road network is the tenth longest in the world. Of this, the national road network serves as the arteries for balanced economic growth across our country.

This represents approximately 3% of the total road network but it carries more than a third of all daily traffic and 70% of road freight movement in South Africa.

The 2.948 km Toll network represents 13% of SANRAL network with the 19.238 Non-Toll network receive government grant.

It must be noted that the current funding model of our roads does not provide for cross subsidization which therefore makes it important for SANRAL to finalise the New Tolling Policy as well as finding other mechanisms to fund our road infrastructure.

Honourable Chairperson, Heavy-duty trucks are causing many of the road safety and infrastructure problems we continue to experience in our provinces. We have reviewed the National Freight Logistics Strategy, 2005 underpinned by the “Back to Rail” strategic intervention.

The upgrading and expansion of the capacity of the R573, known as Moloto road, straddling the provinces of Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Gauteng has commenced. This 139km stretch of road on average is used by approximately 50 000 commuters daily; including buses, taxis and heavy trucks.

The Moloto Corridor, as a Strategic Integrated Project (SIP), plays a significant role as a logistics spine to transport people, minerals and agricultural produce into regional markets and to our export harbours. Apart from boosting the Waterberg mineral belt, the Moloto corridor will also boost local economies along the Moloto Road - notably the Sekhukhune District in Limpopo and Dr J S Moroka and Thembisile Hani Municipalities in the Nkangala District Municipality in Mpumalanga.

Vhanu vha le Dlawolale, esiKhukhune, na vha le Kwagga Fonteing, na nwina vha le Moteti na Marble Hall, xitimela Xi le ndleleni.

We have appointed contractors to commence with the Moloto Development Corridor by expanding the current road, making it more user friendly. At the end of the project, we will create 12 500 jobs.

We are also going to unbundle the bus contract in this corridor to widen participation by small, localised and designated groups.

In terms of the Moloto Rail initiative, the Department concluded a feasibility study that confirmed rapid rail as the preferred long-term transport solution for the corridor.

The Moloto Rail Development Project was included in a list of projects submitted to the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) for funding. Through PRASA, we have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)  with the China  Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC) to specifically explore areas of possible cooperation on the planning and implementation of the Moloto Rail Corridor Initiative.

We have also developed the Draft Harrismith Hub Framework in consultation with the affected Stakeholders including the Free State provincial government.  The aim of this project is to strengthen the logistics and transport corridor between South Africa's main industrial hubs and to improve access to Durban's export and import facilities.At the provincial level, feasibility studies for the development of the Hub have been conducted and Options Analysis Interim Report has been produced.

Honourable Chairperson, the rehabilitation of 5 390 lane kilometres of provincially managed roads and the resealing of 11 976 lane kilometres are projected to cost R32.5 billion through the Provincial Roads Maintenance Grant (PRMG).

In the 2017/18 MTEF period, R10.75 billion is allocated for the Provincial Road Maintenance Grant, popularly known as S’hamba Sonke Programme. Through this programme, we continue to address the spatial inequalities, create job opportunities, improve rural transport and its infrastructure, and also open the rural economy to new investment and development while also providing the much needed maintenance to the road infrastructure.

With this programme, we have created 137 887 jobs, of which 28 933 are Youth, 54918 are women and 180 are people living with disabilities.

We will continue to increase the Provincial Roads Maintenance Grant (PRMG) over time in order to ensure preventative maintenance and reduction of the backlog to be achieved simultaneously.

For the 2017/18 financial year the allocations of the Provincial Roads Maintenance Grant (PRMG) to provinces is as follows:

We therefore have allocated the budget for this programme to provinces as follows:

Eastern Cape     R1.2 Billion
Free State           R1.3 Billion
Gauteng             R638 Million KwaZulu Natal    R1.7 Billion
KwaZulu Natal     R1.7 Billion
Limpopo             R959 Million
Mpumalanga       R887 Million
Northern Cape    R1 Billion
North West         R890 Million
Western Cape      R897 Million
Disaster relief component - R270 Million

Roads in support of electricity generation infrastructure component R852 Million.

To improve the efficiency of spending on road maintenance in provinces, the allocations in the provincial roads maintenance grant for the coal haulage network is reprioritised in 2017/18 to create a new performance component in the grant. This component is expected to be R1.9 billion over the MTEF period, and will include a new performance measure to ensure that investments are made in a manner that reduces the costs of transport in the economy.

Honourable Chairperson, our biggest railway deal in South Africa’s history is predicted to propel our economy to a new level of prosperity.

Our investment in rail transportation is the beginning of the rolling out of the Government’s Comprehensive Rail Programme over the next two decades. This positions our Rolling Stock Fleet Renewal Programme as the catalyst for the transformation of our Metrorail services in particular and public transport as a whole.

Our immediate and urgent task is to stabilize and provide a predictable Metrorail service within current capacity, measured by increased ridership, customer satisfaction and efficiency.

Critical as well is for us to ensure that we provide our demand driven services according to customer travel needs, and ensuring predictability and reliable information dissemination.

To this extend, we took delivery of 18 of the 20 new trains affectionately known as “The People’s Train” built in Brazil. The new trains are part of the first rollout of 600 train sets that will be implemented over the next 20 years. The remaining 580 trains will be built in South Africa at a local factory, located in Dunnottar Park, Ekurhuleni.

Attached to the local factory, government is facilitating the development of a supplier park that will support the manufacturing at the factory with local components. The move will help achieve localisation and transformation goals  including participation of  Black  Industrialists, SMMEs, Women, Youth and People living with disabilities.

The next deployment of the new trains in the 2018/19 financial year, will be at Saulsville, Mabopane, Naledi, Khayalitsha, Umlazi, and Kwa Mashu.

Honourable Chairperson, to ensure continuous improvement of our integrated urban space and public transport programme, we developing the Integrated Public Transport Turnaround Plan. The plan proposes short, medium and long-term intervention measures that will  help to enhance the prevailing public transport interventions.

Through the Public Transport Network Grant (PTNG), we continue to fund the infrastructure and operations of this integrated public transport networks in the thirteen (13) cities across South Africa.

To date we have developed the Integrated Public Transport Network Plans in Bojanala Platinum District Municipality and O R Tambo District Municipality and we have commenced with the process of developing the Plans in the John Taolo Gaetsewe and Thabo Mofutsanyane District Municipalities.

Honourable Chairperson, to address ongoing financial difficulties in the subsidised bus service, we agreed with provinces to increase the PTOG baseline to 9.33%. The contract rate escalation will be 7.82% while the remaining 1.51% will be spent on stabilisation including subsidisation of unsubsidised trips within contracts, addressing overloading and addressing inequalities by adjusting rates per kilometres for lowly paid operators.

The department has finalised the process of reviewing the impact and performance of the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme (TRP). Equally important, government is finalising the Public Transport Subsidy Policy, which will focus more on subsidising the user than the operators, irrespective of the mode of public transport they use.

It is totally unacceptable that other modes, particularly the taxis are not included in the current subsidy regime despite the 2013 National Household Travel Survey results which indicate that taxis are the most preferred public transport mode, accounting for over 68% of the daily commuting public.

Given this disparity in subsidies or lack of it, I will be meeting the taxi industry, the rail sector and the bus operators to discuss the public transport subsidy policy.

Honourable Chairperson, blockages that affect the overall accessibility to social services and mainstreaming of local economy are being systematically addressed through a set of programmes, including our implementation of the now approved Rural Transport Strategy as well as the Learner Transport Policy.

We continue to implement Shova Kalula bicycle project to promote and maximize the use of bicycle transport in rural, peri-urban and urban areas to enable communities to access social and economic opportunities at a lower cost. We will ensure the sustainability of the programme and increasing its reach to include other users including farm workers, community development as well as health workers.

We are working very close with provinces and municipalities to ensure that measures to streamline Non-Motorised Transport (NMT) plans to broaden the scope of Shova Kalula Bicycle programme forms part of the Integrated Municipal Development PLANS (IDP).

Honourable Chairperson, Aviation in South Africa has an extremely important role to play in achieving sustainable growth and development for the tourism industry and economy at large.

We have developed the National Aviation Development Plan, (NADP) to guide and support our overall airport network planning and the development of our regional as well as local airports.

As South Africa, we are therefore serious about airport route expansion and the increase in domestic connectivity. I am sure that we all can once again applaud the tremendous job well done by the low cost carriers in our country.

Honourable Chairperson, coupled with a depressed global maritime industry, implementation of various Operation Phakisa initiatives as well as outcomes of the broader Maritime Development Agenda continue to yield positive results, ranging from economic development, job creation, capacity development, and generally reclaiming South Africa’s status as a maritime nation.

We continue to seek collaboration with maritime stakeholders to create maritime value for our economy. Through these partnerships we have trained and employed Seafarers. We are targeting to recruit more seafarers from Gamalakhe in Ugu District (Port Shepstone). We are going to set up a training centre to produce and employ officers, ratings and hospitality (cruise liner) staff at Port Elizabeth.

Honourable Chairperson, our total budget for 2017/18 stands at R59 billion, which is a 6.8% increase from the 2016/17 budget.

Honourable Chairperson, when addressing the ninth extraordinary session of the Council of Ministers of the organisation of African Unity, held in Dar Es Salaam, in 1975, President Oliver Tambo said apartheid has often been equated with racialism and that we need to understand that racialism cannot be separated from the political oppression and economic exploitation of the black people.

President Tambo said apartheid served both and is in turn sustained by both. It is an integral part of a socio-economic system peculiar to South Africa, but one which has all except the geographic features of colonialism.

The difference between South Africa and other systems of colonialism is, therefore, that in South Africa, the coloniser and colonised live side by side within the same country. Colour and race are used as a dividing line between the resident white army of occupation and their subject population – the black people.

Having said that the task of undoing the damage of history in our country is an on-going task that requires intensified efforts and steely determination.

It is for this reason that as the ANC government, we remain committed to ensure that this budget is put to good use and will go a long way to improve the lives of our people, particularly the black majority. This budget will also contribute towards the dismantling of the apartheid manifestations and legacy.