National Department of Transport Budget Vote Speech | Western Cape Government

Speeches

National Department of Transport Budget Vote Speech

6 May 2015
  • Honourable House Chairperson
  • Honourable Members of Parliament
  • Cabinet Colleagues present
  • Deputy Minister of Transport, Honourable Sindisiwe Lydia Chikunga
  • Members of the Portfolio Committee on Transport, led by Honourable Chairperson, Ms. Dikeledi Magadzi
  • Director General of the Department, Mr. Pule Selepe
  • Officials of the Department of Transport
  • Chairpersons and CEOs of the Transport Entities
  • Invited guests
  • Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of the entire transport fraternity, we dedicate this budget vote speech of the 2015/16 financial year to the more than three thousand delegates who gathered at Kliptown - Soweto on 25 and 26 June 1955 to adopt the Freedom Charter.

The Congress of the People constituted the most representative gathering in the history of South Africa and it adopted the Freedom Charter, a vision for a united, non-racial and democratic South Africa.

Our freedom was achieved through blood, sweat, sacrifice and tears.  It is this sacrifice that the ANC-led government will always uphold, defend and guard jealously through its revolutionary and progressive policies to ensure a better life for all as enshrined in our Constitution.

In keeping the hopes and aspirations of our fore-bearers alive, the African National Congress declared the year 2015 as “the Year of the Freedom Charter and unity in action to advance economic freedom”. At the heart of the Freedom Charter is the economic freedom and emancipation of those who were previously dispossessed by the system of Apartheid.

Honourable Members

The effective operation of the transport system depends on the inter-relationship of a number of factors, which includes governance, service delivery, management, responsibility, and funding.

The commitment we make as a Department is to implement the National Development Plan’s key priorities on the maintenance of road infrastructure, upgrading rail infrastructure and services, as well as building and operating our public transportation.

The Department of Transport’s contribution to the NDP will be underpinned by the National Transport Master Plan (NATMAP) 2050 vision. The NATMAP is therefore aimed at delivering a dynamic, long term and sustainable transportation system framework which is demand responsive and that provides a coordinated transport agenda for the whole country.

Honourable Members

Our people have a reason to rejoice with the introduction of the RABS Bill, which provides for the establishment of a new administrator, the Road Accident Benefit Scheme Administrator (RABSA), to replace the current Road Accident Fund (RAF).

The Bill has been published for public comment, and consultations sessions were held throughout the country with various stakeholders. The Bill proposes a comprehensive social security safety net scheme that is not fault-based.

It will allow expanded access to much needed benefits to road users. These include the public and private transport passengers; widows, orphans and many other dependants, previously and currently excluded by virtue of fault.

As we enter the second phase of the democratic transition, our efforts are directed at the battle against the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality for Radical Economic Transformation of our society.

On this question, the ANC former President, OR Tambo, reminds us that, I quote: "The fight for freedom must go on until it is won; until our country is free and happy and peaceful, as part of the community of man, we cannot rest." Unquote

Honourable Members

The Road Accident Fund has been used as a cash-cow by unscrupulous stakeholders including lawyers and doctors just to mention a few. Our government, cannot allow the abuse and theft of funding from road users through the RAF fuel levy, meant to alleviate the financial burden that result from the carnage on our roads, to be siphoned off to benefit the middleman and a privileged few.

Our courts are clogged with RAF matters causing much consternation on our justice system. The unintended consequences of an unjust system, which for decades has seen many benefitting unfairly through abusing the system to receive millions of rands from the Fund whilst those deserving of compensation get limited compensation.

The Department of Transport and the RAF have fought many legal battles, some to the highest court of the land, to, amongst other things, provide an equitable and fair benefit whilst closing many loopholes. Some of our stakeholders are hell-bent to fight against the system till the end.

Through various engagements with communities and victims, it is disheartening to hear of stories where benefits don’t address the injury, loss of life or the suffering of victims or their dependants, because of the way RAF benefits are structured. With RABS, that will be a thing of the past, as it will introduce defined benefits, timely and appropriate care based on reasonable tariffs. RABS will alleviate the burden on our courts through the establishment of an internal appeal procedure.

RABS will provide pro-active assistance to crash victims and family members with emphasis on effective access to medical and vocational rehabilitation to improve victims’ chances of re-entering the employment sphere and mainstream economy.

In the Gallery today, we are joined by Mme Nobengazi Monica Gunuza who is accompanied by her Caregiver, Leonie Esterhuizen. Mme. Nobengazi Gunuza, who was involved in a motor vehicle accident in May 2011, is a beneficiary that made a direct claim to the Road Accident Fund. This was made possible by “RAF on the road”, an innovative award winning initiative, where RAF takes the office to the people.

Mme Gunuza sustained the following injuries:

  • compound fracture of the left tibia and fibula with extensive degloving involving the anterior aspect of the left leg and left ankle joint;
  • Posterior dislocation of the right knee joint;
  • Midshaft fracture of the left humerus; and
  • midshaft fracture of the left radius and ulna.

RAF finalized her Direct Claim in July 2012 and offered her Future Medical Treatment and a Caregiver. RAF continues to pay for the Caregiver and Specialist Services for Mme Gunuza, and these services to her are already aligned to the future RABS Bill.

May I ask Mme Nobengazi Monica Gunuza to wave where she is seated so this august house can recognize her.  Thank you Mme, and thank you Leonie Esterhuizen.

This is but one of the many cases in our country where the victims of road crashes received such outstanding comfort, care and their dignity restored. Indeed as the Department of Transport through our transport entities we do have a good story to tell.

In terms of RABS we will be able to offer this service to more clients – at an earlier stage of recovery, thus resulting in less trauma emanating from the accident. As in the case of Mme Nobengazi Gunuza – we would assist claimants to achieve their optimal level of recovery, offer the necessary support and assistance to lower the devastation stemming from the accident. We would also offer additional rehabilitation and intervene at an earlier stage – appointing a Case Manager to facilitate medical intervention and additional home/car adjustments as and when needed.

Honourable Members

PRASA owns 2 280 Kilometers of South Africa’s rail network and uses some of the 22 000 Kilometers of rail track under the control of Transnet. It has 585 train stations and a total fleet of 4 735 coaches, with an overall staff complement of 18 207.

Government is spending in the region of R51 billion on New Rail Rolling Stock and R4 billion on new Hybrid Locomotives in the next 5-year period. To date PRASA has taken delivery on thirteen (13) of the 70 new locomotives.

Honourable Chairperson

Honourable members of this house will be invited to the sod turning ceremony at the rail passenger factory site in Nigel – Ekurhuleni, where new jobs will be created and skills developed by manufacturing and assembling of locomotives and trains. This factory is anticipated to create over 65 000 direct jobs and indirect jobs with skills like engineers, technicians, artisans and train divers in the course of its contract. The target of not less than 65% local content has been set. The promise we make is the promise we keep, SIYAQHUBA, SIYASEBENZA.

In 2014/15, Government through PRASA transported 2 million passengers and covered fifty five million (55m) passenger trips. The entity refurbished 291 Metrorial and 298 Shosholoza Meyl coaches, and upgraded 27 stations nationally.

We can safely say that the PRASA and Transnet initiatives places South Africa as having the largest wholesale renewal and general overhaul rail programme in Africa. We are engaging in some of the most challenging rail engineering projects of its kind, which firmly positions South Africa as the manufacturing hub of rolling stock in the African Continent.

It is with great pleasure to announce that the Project Implementation and Management Office (PIMO) for the Moloto Rail Development Corridor  Project has been established under PRASA.

We are working closely with the National Treasury, and are currently finalising the applications for project preparation funding. The treasury approval 1 application was finalised and is currently with National Treasury for consideration.

Honourable Members

It is our resolve that sustained investment in technology and innovation can deliver a better public transport system. We want more people to choose public transport. But we are acutely aware that they will do so if public transport offers them the kind of service that fits in with their busy schedules, safety, real time travel and uses convenient ticketing system. It is through these improvements that the use of public transport will continue to grow in the long term.

The ANC Government increased transport funding to record levels – with  twenty five billion rands (25bn) rand over the last five years alone and five billion rand (R5bn) in the 2014/15 financial year. This is unprecedented, and  through these high levels of funding, we have amongst others achieved the following :

  • The launch of the test phase of the IPTN in Tshwane - Gauteng (A Re Yeng)  and George in the Western Cape.;
  • The commencement of the infrastructure construction in Polokwane, Ekurhuleni, Ethekwini, Mbombela, Msunduzi, George and Rustenburg;
  • The launch of the extension phase of MyCiti bus service to Mitchells Plain and Khayelitsha in Cape Town;
  • We spent four point eight billion rands (R4,8bn) on bus subsidy benefiting approximately three hundred and thirty million (330 million) passengers; and
  • We have also finalised our Draft Scholar Transport Policy, which has been gazetted for public comments and is on its way to Cabinet for approval as we speak.

By 2016, we expect Gautrain and the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) to commence with the roll-out of the card system in their operations. We expect at least 5 million cards to be in use in the next 5 years. The plan is that within 10 years, all subsidised modes including passenger rail and the bulk of the taxi industry will share an interoperable card.

Honourable Members

The Taxi industry remains the most important part of our Public transport system and according to the 2013 National Household Survey conducted by Statistics South Africa; taxis are the preferred type of road transport. Taxis move sixty eight percent (68%) of the five point four million passengers (5.4 million) on a daily basis and contribute immensely to our economy.

The taxi industry is a +forty billion rand (R40b) per annum industry, with about 200 000 taxis, that employs approximately 300 000 direct and indirect job opportunities, which includes drivers, taxi marshals and administrative support. This is a serious industry by anyone’s measure.

We commit more than ever before that we will work closely with the taxi industry to facilitate their regulation and participation in the total transport value chain, for example in the fuel retail value chain, spares, assembling and manufacturing of vehicles.

The Department will be reviewing the Taxi Recapitalisation model to improve its effectiveness and affordaility.  Exprenditure on the review is projected at R188.5 million over the medium term.

This investment in Public Transport is a delivery record we can build on.  For the first time in a generation we have a real opportunity to deal with the challenges in public transport - not simply fixing the failures of the past.

Honourable Members

Not only has our road infrastructure helped underpin the competitiveness of our economy, it has also given ordinary citizens job opportunities. This is despite the fact that road maintenance backlog  estimated at R197 billion and congestion are the most serious transport problems we face today. As we travel more, and as traffic grows, tackling these problems is increasingly demanding.

Our key priority is to improve the state of the road network, reduce congestion and improve reliability.  That is why the ANC Government has invested substantially on the road network. We have also doubled the capital funding available to Provincial governments and Local governments through the MIG so that they can tackle the maintenance backlog on provincial and local roads.

Some of our achievements in the past year include amongst others the following :

  • The reclassification of one thousand seven hundred kilometers (1700km) of Limpopo Provincial Road into SANRAL network.
  • The completion of the R37 Polokwane Smelter Interchange which is part of SIP 1 project
  • The rehabilitation of N11 from Ermelo to Hendrina which is also part of SIP 1 project.
  • The N2 Kwa-Mashu Interchange facility which is now operational.
  • We have also completed the rehabilitation of the N14 Delareyville to Sannieshof.
  • The N1 Ventersburg which was rehabilitated and two new bridges opened.

The Provincial Departments of Roads and Transport have made real improvements - delivering high quality projects, better designed and better maintained local roads. Through the S’hamba Sonke Programme we continue to advance our course to improve our Secondary Provincial Road Network.

Through this Programme,

  • one thousand one hundred lane-kilometers (1100km) of surfaced road were rehabilitated.
  • three thousand lane-kilometers (3000km) of surfaced roads sealed.
  • three thousand, nine hundred and twenty six kilometers (3926km) of roads gravelled.
  • We patched more than one point four million (1,4 million)  square metres of potholes.
  • one hundred and forty seven thousands kilometers (147 000 km) of roads bladed.
  • thirty billion rands (30bn) to create over twenty three thousand five hundred (23 500) fulltime equivalent jobs in the 2014/15 financial year spent.

Honourable Members

There are over 6 million more vehicles on our roads today than they were in 1994. The traffic looks set to continue growing - much of it on roads that are already operating at close to capacity during busy periods.

Many of our roads were built many years ago. Hardly any significant new highways have been built since 1986 except for those that were constructed as part of the toll projects.

We have an optimistic view that we need a more immediate and pragmatic focus. We will be targeting those parts of the network that are busiest, where even minor hold ups can turn into major delays, especially on urban roads and highways like the N3, which the busiest corridor in Africa.

The question is what are we doing about this in the next MTEF period? Today, we announce more funding to help SANRAL to work up their ideas to tackle these challenges. We do so mindful of the fact that the transport sector is facing significant funding needs that cannot be met from the fiscus alone. We need to develop a long term funding framework and strategy together with Private Sector Participation Framework for transport funding.

The highlights of our big road projects for 2015 include amongst others the N2, N7 and R71 improvements in Kwazulu Natal, Western Cape and Limpopo respectively.

Government is investing one point one billion rands (R1.1bn) in the upgrade of the R573 Moloto Road. The process of proclaiming this road as a national road is currently underway with the provincial governments of Limpopo and Mpumalanga having transferred the part of the road to national and discussions with the Gauteng government are at the advanced stages.

We have also set aside twelve point five billion rands (R12.5bn) for SANRAL’s non-toll roads, which constitutes 85% of the National road network of 21 403km across the Country.

Our overriding priority is to ensure that we should not only deliver greater road capacity – but also that we make the most of it to give greater choice and greater journey reliability for road users. We all know that there's no single answer to these challenges- no silver bullet that will solve all our problems - and we know that we must be prepared to change our travel habits to make the breakthrough that is needed. The answer is in our public transport system and the implementation of Travel Demand Management (TDM) measures  together with Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) for private vehicles.

Honourable Members

We also believe that the integrity of an efficient transport system relies on sufficient safety systems to protect our people and freight. Central to this is the enhanced role of the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), Our three hundred and sixty five (365) days road safety programme - which is our anchor project for the implementation of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety Campaign - has played its role to oversee Road Traffic Law Enforcement and improve road user behaviour. But more has to be done in this regard to change the behaviour of the road users.

Road crashes is a national concern, costing us in excess of R300b per annum in direct and indirect costs. South Africa has one of the worst safety records in the world, at about 26 fatalities/ 100 000 people as compared to other Developed Countries such as Sweden at 3,2 fatalities/ 100 000 people.

88% of crashes are caused by human factors, with an average of 40 people dying and 20 left permanently disabled on our roads everyday. We should all acknowledge that road safety is everyone’s responsibility. As a result, we have established the National Road Safety Advisory Council that is made-up of relevant stakeholders to assist us in coming up with appropriate solutions.

Honourable Members

The implementation of the AARTO system Country-wide is one of our short term targets. The piloting of the system has been very successful in Gauteng. Through Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA), we are now working extremely hard to realise the implementation of the system across the Country. In this regard, we are already testing the readiness of Provincial and Local authorities for the rollout of the system.

The Cross-Border Road Transport Agency (CBRTA) is doing its part to balance the supply and demand for cross border road passenger transport. We are currently rolling out a Market Access Regulatory tool to determine the number of permits per route and per mode in granting cross border permits. This tool will soon be tested in most of our corridors. We believe this system will bring better regulation, management and efficiency of our cross-border activities.

Honourable Members

The NDP enjoins us to take a long term view in our planning. The driving force is our ability to successfully integrate across modes, between service areas and with land planning.  Backed with very substantial increases in funding, it is a strategy that has paid off. Our Transport Plans have given us the confidence to plan, invest and deliver quality improvements.

We have established the National Transport Planning Forum last year – consisting of all spheres of government, agencies and our partners.  The forum will now lead the key strategic planning across the transport sector.

The Provincial and Local spheres of government as well as our stakeholders will continue to advice the National sphere on transport priorities. We will continue to foster strong transport planning to deliver the integrated transport strategies and to further develop our national policy framework.

We will soon publish the National Land Transport Strategic Framework which will inform our integrated transport and land use planning countrywide.

We are in the process of establishing the Single Transport Economic Regulator (STER) in order to address the regulatory shortcomings across the transport sector. This will lead to better pricing and more efficient transport infrastructure and services.

We are also reviewing the National Freight Logistics Strategy of 2005.  This strategy will continue to help us to map-out corridors, determine regional integration, freight traffic and congestion. It will also assist us in the development of freight scenarios into the future.

We all recognise that it is effective transport planning that is the cornerstone of our objectives and government’s wider agenda.   This will require a partnership between all spheres of government, NGOs, Faithbased Organisation, business and the general public.

Honourable Members

Today I want to make it clear that my personal priority will be to advance the debate about a national system of infrastructure funding and pricing policy for our transport infrastructure and services. These are the ideas I want to explore further with all stakeholders as we work towards improving our national framework, which will be part of our overall transport solution.

Chairperson

Through this budget that we are tabling today, we are investing fifty three point seven billion rands (R53.7bn) in the current year, which is a six percent (6%) increase in real terms compared to the 2014/15 financial year.  The ANC led government has made an unprecedented commitment to high levels of funding over the next MTEF period with the budget expected to increase to R59,3 billion or (11%) by 2017/18.

The programmes of the Department of transport are mainly implemented through the thirteen (13) Transport Public entities, Provinces and Municipalities, hence transfers and subsidies is the largest expenditure item in this budget. At R47,8 billion in 2014/15, transfers and subsidies constituted 96.7 per cent of the adjusted appropriation allocation. Therefore, the importance of the Department’s capacity to provide oversight over these entities cannot be over-emphasised.

The breakdown of the budget is as follows:

  • Road infrastructure at twenty two point seven billion rands (R22.7bn);
  • Rail at eighteen point three billion rands (R18.3bn);
  • Public Transport at eleven point five billion rands (R11.5bn);
  • Civil Aviation at one hundred and forty nine million rands (R149m) and;
  • Maritime at one hundred and eleven million rands (R111m).

Chairperson

In conclusion, over the past couple of weeks our nation has been engulfed in a shameful wave of attacks by some amongst us against our country`s immigrant population. I cannot stop pondering the sacrifices and contribution that were made by African country in our quest for liberation through the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU), currently the African Union. Resolutely as a nation we condemned in the strongest possible terms attacks on anyone on the basis of their geographic origins.

President Nelson Mandela emphasised African solidarity at the Organisation of African Unity Summit in Tunis on 13 June 1994, when he said:

“When the history of our struggle is written…. It will tell a moving story of the sacrifices that the people of our continent made, to ensure that intolerable insult to human dignity, the apartheid crime against humanity, became a thing of the past”.

Like the Men and Women of honour who pledged when adopting the Freedom Charter in 1955, let us all today pledge ourselves to strive together, sparing neither strength nor courage, until the democratic changes set out in the Freedom Charter have been won.

Let me take this opportunity to thank the honourable Deputy Minister and the honourable MECs for their support and hard work. The Chairpersons and CEOs of our Agencies and Companies. The brand new DG, all HODs, and the entire Team Transport for their commitment and keeping their eyes firmly focused on the long-term economic development of our people. I also want to thank the Almighty God and my family for being my pillar of strength.

The Portfolio committee of Transport led by Mme Dikeledi Magadzi has also played an important role in exercising their oversight functions in an energetic and focused manner. We thank you for your continued interest in the work of Team Transport.

And last but not least, I would like to thank The Ministry for serving side by side with me and for their continued support and hardwork in ensuring the Ministry remains functional.

Honourable members let us remember that the National Development Plan says to us

“We say to one another:

I cannot be without you,

without you this South African community is an incomplete community,

without one single person,

without one single group,

without the region or the continent,

we are not the best that we can be.”

I Thank You