Opening and Welcome Address by the Deputy Minister of Transport Ms Dikeledi Magadzi (MP) on Occasion of the Women in Transport “Empowerpreneurship” Summit held in Cape Town
We are almost about to celebrate the woman’s month in August. We are forced to remember that we are standing on the shoulders of giants who dared the apartheid regime.
These women of 1956 saw emancipation as a mechanical equality between men and women. Emancipation to them meant we should do the same tasks, receive the same salaries and deal with challenges to do with the denigration of women.
This Summit must therefore relive the ideals of those women of 1956. It is the same ideals enshrined in the AU Agenda 2063, the Sustainable Development Goals and pursued in the National Development Plan Vision 2030.
Programme Director, As government, we align ourselves fully with the goals of the African Union Agenda 2063 and its “aspirations” of a better Africa. The African Union makes very firm propositions about the Africa we want.
For instance Aspiration 6 of Agenda 2063 speaks of: An Africa, whose development is people-driven, relying on the potential of African people, especially its women and youth, and caring for children.
The Aspiration reads further that: Africa shall be an inclusive continent where no child, woman or man will be left behind or excluded, on the basis of gender, political affiliation, religion, ethnic affiliation, locality, age or other factors.
The preamble of the United Nations’ Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development adopted by 193 member states reads in part that: As we embark on this collective journey we pledge that no one shall be left behind.
And to that end Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 was conceived in which the world is implored to “achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls” to ensure no one is “left behind”.
Our very own National Development Plan Vision 2030 aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030. The Plan proposes that: “South Africa can realise these goals by drawing on the energies of its people, growing an inclusive economy, building capabilities…”
Amongst other outcomes this very Summit, by emphasising the need for gender equality, seeks to realise the economic inclusivity and the building of capabilities as pursued by the NDP.
Programme Director, Because of the slow pace in the implementation of the NDP, President Cyril Ramaphosa outlined 7 Apex Priorities for the 6th Administration to which the Department has aligned itself.
President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his delivery of the State of the Nation Address, the SONA, expressed the urgent need to reprioritise government work in order to address the backlog on transformation of both society and the economy and announced the following 7 Seven Apex Priorities for government during this 5year term and these are:
- Economic transformation and job creation;
- Education, skills and health;
- Consolidating the social wage through reliable and quality basic services;
- Spatial integration, human settlements and local government;
- Social cohesion and safe communities;
- A capable, ethical and developmental state and
- A better Africa and World.
These Apex priorities derive directly from the National Development Plan and are today accelerated through the governing party’s manifesto which is driven by a need for fast impacts.
The topics for discussion at this Summit, including those about transformation and procurement answer important questions regarding: the transport sector’s role in empowering women and providing access to opportunities.
It becomes our collective task as women in the transport sector to deliver skills, transform the economy, provide opportunities, create jobs and provide strategic direction for the develThe work by TETA has to do with the development of skills in the transport sector and thus fits within the skills development priority area pursued in the manifesto of the governing party.
This Summit however goes beyond just a discussion of skills and quite correctly relates to transport’s contribution to transformation, economic growth and social development.
The Position of Women in Society and Economy:
Statistics South Africa on 21 August 2017 reported that South Africa has made progress towards the realisation of a non-sexist society and we must agree that is true.
Research findings also by Stats SA however confirm that there has been stagnation in other areas regarding the empowerment of women. The report states that: “Women fill 44% of skilled posts, which includes managers, professionals and technicians. This figure hasn’t shifted much over the years; it was 44% in September 2002”, unquote.
On the other hand, we know that women’s representation in parliament in South Africa has gone up to 44% following the 2019 elections, which is an important improvement to the representation of women in parliament and government.
This responds specifically to the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill calling for 50% women representation in decision making positions, which is within reach today.
Need for Gender Equity: Programme Director, the 2016 - 2017 Commission for Employment Equity’s annual report shows that males continue to dominate every occupational level, as female
representation at Top Management level has remained largely unchanged, at just over 20% for the previous three years.
The South African Department of Labour’s Commission for Employment Equity report for 2017 to 2018 also indicates sluggish transformation and young women are the most affected.
We can thus agree that while we have had a very enabling environment in place we still find huge pockets of unrealised transformation in the economy.
Fellow South Africans, according to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey released by Statistics South Africa, the official unemployment rate has been relatively high since 2008.
The report states sadly that, in the last decade, the rate of unemployment has increased from 23,2% in the first quarter of 2008 to 27,2% in the second quarter of 2018.
Yet fellow South Africans we cannot forget the plight of young people, women and men who find themselves at the cold face of a slow economy.
We are informed by Stat SA that between the fourth quarter of 2018 and the first quarter of 2019, the percentage of young persons aged 15–24 years who were not in employment, education or training (NEET) increased by 2,1 percentage points to 33,2% (3,4 million).
100 Day Plan:
In responding to these challenges, the governing party’s manifesto and the Apex Priorities, the Minister has announced a 100 day plan which
will see to the accelerated roll out of shovel ready projects and or the completion of continuing projects.
This includes ongoing projects by SANRAL through its road infrastructure development projects and PRASA’s rail modernisation programme as mentioned earlier.
SANRAL is in the process of completing several mega projects amongst which are the following two mega projects:
- The upgrade of the entire Moloto Road (R573) network with an allocation of R5, 7 billion for the Mpumalanga and Limpopo Section of the Project in 2019/2020 and
- Constructing and upgrading the N2 Wild Coast, 112 km of which would be on a new “Greenfields”.
The road will include two (2) mega-bridge seven (7) major river bridges and five (5) interchanges. The two mega-bridges Msikaba and Mtentu will cost R1.2-billion and R1.3 billion respectively.
As regards mega projects by PRASA, we shall be accelerating the manufacture of trains in order to deal with the backlog in the supply of commuter trains.
PRASA’s localisation approach has a target of over 65 percent local content by the end of the ten-yeaaddition to meaningful black equity ownership at the contractor and sub-contractor level.
It is our belief that improving transport is an essential ingredient to improving the lives of our people. This forms part of the Department’s rail modernisation programme through which we shall ensure that rail becomes the backbone of both passenger and freight transportation in South Africa.
This is also important as we move faster towards removing rail friendly cargo from our road on to rail. We are driven here by two purposes, delivering safer roads and reducing transport derived carbon emissions which are a result of road transport mostly.
It must also be noted that the projects by SANRAL, PRASA and those in the expansion of our international airports will emphasise localisation and promote industrialisation which is where many of you must find opportunity.
The tasks of the present include the need to strengthen the capacity of the department and its entities, transform the sector, and continue to build an integrated transport system.
This includes the roll-out of the Integrated Public Transport Networks, as well as the improvement of the road infrastructure networks to unlock economic growth and job creation.
Within the 100 day period the Department will move with greater speed at concluding outstanding MOUs with tertiary education institutions, especially TVET colleges to find sources for relevant transport education and training.
In dealing with these institutions, our focus is on developing artisans, engineers and relevant professions within the transport industries
Fellow South Africans, we have recognised the extent to which doing business has been difficult in many industries and subsectors of the broader transport sector.
This pertains to:
- Congestion at our various sea ports and dry ports, weigh bridges, and borders
- Delays in the registration and issuing of operator licenses to tourism companies;
- Unreliability and scarcity of public transport which affect day to day commuting
- And to improve other areas where major inefficiencies exist to the detriment of many of our people.
To the extent that these need to be corrected the Minister has also announced a series of measures ranging from the lowering the costs of doing business in the freight transportation sector, to improvements in the supply of public transport.
Within the 100 Day programme the Minister will launch the revised taxi recapitalisation programme approved by Cabinet.
The programme is meant not only to give the taxi industry a major capital boost, but will also benefit our road safety strategy most importantly.
Programme Director, we have recently had to deal with great instability on our roads caused by labour disputes in the road freight industry resulting in several road blockages by aggrieved truck drivers.
We have listened to the grievances of the drivers and we are continuing with negotiations with different elements of the industry and will soon arrive at a collective solution with all parties.
I mentioned this, so that those among us who are truck operators can take a positive step and contribute to the resolution of this challenge.
We must continue to find solutions that will increase job opportunities as unemployment has become a national emergency whilst focusing on a skilling and re-skilling programme targeting millions of young South Africans.
Our aim is to embark on a massive job creation drive that will be premised on the back of the Industrial Strategy, Job Summit initiatives, Operation Phakisa, the Oceans Economy, the Private Public Growth Initiative and with greater urgency participate in the President’s Stimulus Package.
A new momentum will also be injected to ensure that Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy interventions yield tangible outcomes for our economy
To these programmes, we must add government’s Infrastructure Development Plan which emphasises the role of the youth, women and SMMEs.
Programme Director, in the port sector there is a progressive approach tolow which seeks to enable the ease of entry for new players in the sector.
At our recent budget debate we reported the following:
- A reduction of port tariffs by an average of 6.27 % for 2019/2020
- A Port Tariff Incentive Programme has been implemented supporting beneficiation, localisation, and industrialization.
- Lowered prices for highly beneficiated South African manufactured cargo in export containers as well as SA manufactured export vehicles.
- We are committed to a SA flagged vessel incentive to support government efforts to attract investment in SA maritime industry and support job creation and skills development.
- Ladies, for the first time, a comprehensive baseline report on port sector Equity of Access (B-BBEE participation in the Ports Sector) has been published.
We believe that, through such a tariff regime we shall be able to ensure access for all new entrants into the port and maritime transport sector.
DOT and Progress on the Improvement of BBBEE Sector Codes Ladies, let me take this opportunity to briefly report on progress realised so far with regard to BBBEE and the Sector Codes attached to it.
This is in line with our commitment to accelerate economic transformation. To be exact, it forms part of Apex Priority 1 named “Transforming the economy and creating jobs”
We will recall ladies, that since 2008 my Department has been implementing broad-based Black Economic Empowerment and transformation through the transport Sector B-BBEE Codes.
Sub-sectors with these charters and frameworks are Aviation, Forwarding and Clearing, Maritime, Rail, Road Freight and the Taxi industries.
This work was followed by the establishment of the Transport Sector B-BBEE Charter Council (“the Charter Council”) which is a vehicle used by the Department to ensure implementation, monitoring and evaluation of BEE and transformation.
The term of this Charter Council has since expired and the Department is working in earnest to reinstitute another Charter and one of its immediate tasks is to finalise the development of the new B-BBEE Codes for the transport sector.
On the other hand gentle-ladies we are in the process of rejuvenating our work in the South African Network for Women, SANWIT.
My Department fully supports the South African Network Women in Transport (SANWIT), which is an umbrella body for women in the transport sector.
As a department we shall work hard to produce a transformation policy that shall most adequately alleviate the challenges that stifle SANWIT as an umbrella body for women in transport.
SANWIT and efforts to re-focus Transport Sector BBBEE Codes will benefit immensely due to the prioritization of economic transformation as Apex
Priority 1. This will include better capacitation and resourcing of both these areas that remain our mandate.
I would like to encourage this Summit to discuss how we can best improve this Network and furthermore ensure that there is effective collaboration with this forum and/or events led and managed by TETA with respect to empowerment of women.
In conclusion, ladies I must implore each and every one of us to think about how much we have helped other women. I ask for us to think about the women we have mentored.
We all have a duty to ensure that we never remove the ladder once we have reached the top.
It is your voices that must send or us and I too say Thuma Mina and where any of you shall need a political hand to accompany you as you open doors for women, we are here as the strength you shall need.
Thank you and may the Lord God bless the Summit.