Minister Madikizela unpacks priorities, achievements and road safety plans
Statement by Minister Bonginkosi Madikizela, Minister of Transport and Public Works
Tomorrow is officially the first day of Transport month. The month of October is used by government to advance, among others, the country’s road safety initiatives and to create awareness about safe, affordable and reliable transport system for everyone.
Immediately after my appointment as Minister of Transport and Public Works in May, I spent some time orientating myself in relation to my new department and I committed to four strategic focus areas for prioritising and implementing during my term in office.
These priorities are:
- Working together with the City of Cape Town and other municipalities across the province to improve road safety and road infrastructure;
- Working together with other spheres of government to improve public transport including rail, minibus bus taxis, metered taxis and e-hailing;
- Working together with national government, municipalities and other stakeholders on spatial integration and
- Working with all relevant stakeholders to develop skills and empower entrepreneurs and emerging contractors.
Road Safety and Public Transport
I would like to thank Premier Alan Winde for a comprehensive Safety Plan that is aimed at reducing crime and improving safety for the residents of the Western Cape.
During the launch just over a week ago, Premier Winde announced that I will be focusing on road safety and reducing the high number of road deaths as well as the optimisation of the provincial Highway Patrol - all through data-driven, technology-enabled methods.
More than 1 300 people are killed on Western Cape roads every year and alcohol was involved in at least 60% of these deaths. Drinking and driving doesn’t just rob families of loved ones every day. It also has a negative impact on the economy, costing R29 million per day, contributing in entrapment of millions in poverty.
As the festive season is fast approaching, the Department of Transport and Public Works’ Random Breath Testing (RBT) teams will be working with our municipal traffic partners to target events and venues associated with alcohol consumption. Motorists planning on attending music and cultural festivals, trance parties, and sports events are advised to make alternate travel arrangements to avoid drinking and driving. The RBT units will operate anywhere, at any time, and if you drink and drive, you will be caught, then tested in a mobile Evidentiary Breath Alcohol Unit (EBAT). If you are over the limit you will be arrested, fined and have your licence suspended.
Just last week we recorded over 30 deaths on provincial and municipal roads across the province. Amongst the deceased are 10 construction workers who were killed in a horrific road crash on Ou Kaapse Weg in the early hours of Saturday. Investigation into the crash and circumstances leading to workers working until mid-night is ongoing. The law must be applied to those found guilty.
The past weekend, we recorded 18 road deaths. Bad behavior on our roads will not be tolerated.
Within my first 100 days in office, I have met with the leadership of the Minibus Taxi Industry (MBT), rail management, e-hailing and metered taxi groupings and the subsidised bus operator. These engagements gave me a good understanding of the state of the overall system and the challenges and opportunities facing public transport.
Rail safety remains a priority. A partnership between the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works, the Passenger Rail Service of South Africa (PRASA) and the City of Cape Town established the Rail Enforcement unit (REU) and has already made a significant contribution to improving safety and security on the commuter rail system.
This has come at a cost of R16 million a year to each of the three partners. The contract has been extended from 1 July 2019 for a further 12 months. In line with this government’s commitment to evidence -based policies, we will be assessing the impact of the work of the REU and adjusting its operations if and where necessary.
I chair the Rail Management Task Team from which this enhancing security provision is planned. We are working together to prioritise the safety of our commuters.
I am proud to announce today that the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works is implementing three flagship priority projects which are designed to respond to the on-going transport and traffic challenges in the province.
These projects will address key transport issues and will support a safer, more inclusive province with a thriving economy.
The three priority projects are:
- The Provincial Sustainable Transport Programme (PSTP)
- The Transport Hub
- Provincial Traffic Restructuring
These projects are fully aligned with and support the Western Cape Government priorities including fixing transport, and living free from fear.
These projects are also aligned with my vision of improving public transport including rail, bus and minibus taxis, road safety and security – and doing so in a way that involves engagement with key stakeholders and the use of technology.
To fix transport, the three priority projects must be closely linked, and together enable a number of initiatives.
The PSTP is aimed at developing an affordable, impactful approach to improved mobility in metros, cities and towns. Its core aim is to fix the basics of transport, with a focus on public transport including rail, bus and minibus taxis, whilst leveraging the impact of technology. This programme was presented to and supported by Cabinet in January 2019, and implementation of initiatives is ongoing.
The Transport Hub is an innovative, smart cities approach that leverages the potential of technology to improve transport in the Western Cape and to create safer communities.
It provides decision-makers with better data and integrated information, enables real-time monitoring of road traffic, public transport and crime and enables the immediate deployment of law enforcement to revolutionise crime fighting. The first stages of the Transport Hub have already been implemented.
Provincial Traffic Restructuring is an initiative aimed at adapting the Provincial Traffic Service to respond to the challenges of improving public transport, addressing increasing crime and improving road safety. The first key element is the use of technology to enhance operational effectiveness, improve road safety, and enable a proactive role in addressing crimes involving vehicles.
The second key element is to reinvent operations through establishing three components within Provincial Traffic Services includes:
- A specialised Interception Unit to respond to potentially high-risk events
- A Highway Patrol as an improved traffic service that is better able to proactively assist in addressing crime
- A Public Transport Inspectorate to focus on public transport enforcement.
This is leverage technology to detect and respond to crime incidents in real-time.
The joint operation also supports Minibus Taxis (MBT) and addresses issues of oversubscription, conflict, violence.
This approach aims to deal with the root-cause of issues, and to incentivise self-regulation. A pilot is being rolled out in the Overstrand Municipality, and constructive engagement with the industry has begun. Technology will play a key role in planning, monitoring and enforcement. This will be followed by province-wide rollout of the model and continued engagement with associations.
Land release for restitution
The Western Cape Government has an outstanding record of co-operating in the settlements of proven restitution claims.
To date, 7 land claims 16,79 ha have been finalised and the property involved transferred to the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform (RDLR).
A further 5 land claims are being finalized.
We have also received two requests for land outside the usual process – which are being considered.
I met with the Minister of Public Works and Infrastructure, Patricia De Lille at the beginning of this month to discuss long standing devolution of transfer of National Public Works properties to various municipalities and a possible partnership between all three spheres of government.
My Department disposed the former Woodstock Hospital to the City of Cape Town for the delivery of social housing opportunities.
The development of the former Conradie Hospital site in terms of the Better Living Model has been awarded to the successful bidder, Concor. Work is progressing by Concor to obtain the relevant site planning approvals from the City of Cape Town. It is estimated that the value of this development is in the region of R5.5bn.
Approval for the rezoning of the Somerset Hospital precinct has been granted and work is underway on preparing the development call for the Founder’s Garden/Artscape Precinct which includes a focus on inner city housing. About two weeks ago my Department issued a request for bids for the professional services providers to support the departmental team. The estimated value of that this development will bring is R2.5bn.
Local Spatial Development Framework for the Two Rivers precinct is being finalised and will be issued shortly for public comment. This process is being driven by the City of Cape Town in conjunction with my department. We have also had discussions with the First Nation. Currently, precinct plans are being drafted for the Oude Molen site, while planning is underway (driven by the Department of Economic Development and Tourism) for the Cape Health Technology Park as part of the TRUP area.
I can also announce that it is the intention of my Department to drive the decentralisation of office accommodation of key government departments in order to support spatial transformation and reduce travel distances for the citizens we serve, as well as the employees of the Western Cape Government. It is furthermore aimed at reducing the cost of the leasing in of accommodation, with a focus on owned facilities. The process will begin in this five-year term.
Additionally, several sites have been availed to the Department of Human Settlements for human settlement development. These sites are in well located areas in George and in Cape Town.
As an implementing agent for both Education and Health Infrastructure in the Western Cape, the Department is scheduled in the financial year under discussion to spend on behalf of these crucial delivery departments the following amounts:
- Education – R1.23 billion
- Health – R729 million
These amounts for the two departments include funds for capital works and scheduled maintenance. The strategic decisions about these education and health infrastructure projects remain with those departments.
Empowerment and skills development
My Department provides different interventions to empower emerging contractors. 40 Contractors from across the Province are currently undergoing a 10-week Structured training programme focusing on Construction Management. A 5-week Municipal based training programme has been rolled out in Hout Bay and Langa targeting 15 contractors per area.
Through our National Youth Programme which is part of the EPWP, the Department is offering training in bricklaying, electrical, carpentry and plumbing.
The Department is procurement and contract intensive. A total of R554.9 million of the R864 million worth of formal bids awarded until the end of July 2019 was awarded to BBBEE level 1 contributing companies.
The Department also has a footprint across the Western Cape and it is important that we understand and consider the geographic spread of our delivery.