National Department of Transport Budget Vote Speech 2014 | Western Cape Government

Speeches

National Department of Transport Budget Vote Speech 2014

15 July 2014

Honourable Chairperson;

Deputy Minister of Transport, Honourable Sindisiwe Chikunga;

Honourable Chairperson, Ms Dikeledi Magadzi and Honourable members of the Transport Portfolio Committee;

Honourable Members of Parliament present here

Distinguished Guests and Stakeholders;

Ladies and gentlemen;

It is an honour and privilege for me to stand before you to present the Department of Transport Budget for the 2014/15 financial year.

The budget policy statement is essentially both a blueprint and a commitment of what the ANC Government, through Department of Transport, seeks to achieve in its quest to deliver on the mandate of an efficient, safe, reliable and affordable transport for the people of South Africa.

The Deputy Minister and I have received a fresh mandate to lead the Department of Transport in the next five years, we are well aware of the expectations and aspirations of our people.

We affirm the President’s statement in his Inauguration Speech when he said:  and I quote,

“We accept the mandate bestowed on us by millions of our people to lead this great nation for the next 5 years,” unquote.

We both expect that the public servants employed at the Department of Transport, and its Entities, will deliver on Government commitments to the people of South Africa.

The 2014/2015 Budget Vote presentation takes place during a period in which we celebrate 20 Years of our democracy and the milestones reached thereof. It is also the first Parliamentary session since the dawn of democracy that takes place without the founding father of our freedom and stalwart, President Nelson Mandela

On the occasion of his inauguration as South Africa’s first democratic President, Madiba said, and I quote: “We are both humbled and elevated by the honour and privilege that you, the people of South Africa, have bestowed on us, as the first President of a united, democratic, non-racial and non-sexist South Africa, to lead the country out of the valley of darkness”, close quote.

We are therefore humbled to report that 20 years later, South Africa is indeed a different and better place to live in.

The lives of millions of our people have changed for the better. They now have access to better basic services than they did before 1994. We make these bold statements without any fear of contradiction because the progress made under the African National Congress Government is there for all to see.

Honourable Chairperson,

President Zuma is correct in his assertion that” SA is a much better place to live in than before 1994, due to the transformative policies of our democratic government.

Policies and legislations under this non-racial, non-sexist democratic government have resulted in the delivery of transport services to the people of South Africa. Among some of the achievements I count the following milestones:

  • Here  in the Western Cape, we have My CiTi Bus Rapid Transit in Cape Town, the revamped Cape Town train station, Nyanga Junction and upgraded Cape Town International Airport;
  • In Gauteng, we have introduced the Rea Vaya and the Areyeng Bus Rapid Transit systems in Johannesburg and Tshwane, respectively. We have radically transformed the old Jan Smuts Airport into a new OR Tambo International Airport. We have the rapid transport system covering the three metros. We have introduced the Gauteng Improvement Programme to improve the Freeway Network
  • In KwaZulu-Natal, we have built a brand new King Shaka International Airport and the Bridge City Multi-modal Public Transport facility to create a nucleus for multi sectoral approach. revamped the nine other airports like Manguang, Mthatha, Port Elizabeth and others.
  • The people of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan in the Eastern Cape are set to enjoy BRT services as we move towards finalising Ibhongo-Lethu.
  • Furthermore, BRT systems are coming to Ethekwini, Rustenburg, Polokwane, Nelspruit and George.
  • Introduction of the New Rolling Stock programme aimed at improving passenger rail transport.
  • Introduction of South Africa’s first training ship the SA Agulhas
  • Maintained  a good domestic and international Aviation safety record; and
  • In recognition of South Africa’s aviation infrastructure capacity, ACSA was appointed to do major upgrades of international airports in Sao Paulo and Mumbai

Honourable Chairperson,

The taxi industry continues to be a key pillar of support within the public transport sphere. The industry contributes R40bn to the national economy each year and accounts for 300 000 direct and indirect jobs.

While the above mentioned successes are noteworthy and should be celebrated by many, there are several people who remain in the margins of the impeccable delivery track record we have.

We know that our people still do not have access to transport infrastructure and services such as access roads and bridges; and safe and reliable public transport.

We know of educators and learners in northern KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and LImpopo who have to cross dangerous streams and rivers to make it to school.

There are communities in South African where learners are prevented from going to school due to lack of access to road infrastructure.

We are aware of women who have to give birth at home simply because they can’t access health facilities on time due to bad road conditions. 

We have heard of constant train delays and dysfunctional signaling systems mainly in some parts of the Western Cape and Gauteng resulting in commuters arriving late at their destinations.

We are aware of gross inefficiencies and acts of corruption in some of our vehicle and license testing stations.

To address these challenges, the Deputy Minister and I have thrown the gauntlet to the public servants employed at the Department of Transport and its Entities. We have requested them to put the interests and aspirations of their employers, the tax payers, ahead of their own. We continue to challenge them to make a commitment to do something that will improve a life each day they walk into their place of work.

Road Transport

Honourable Chairperson

South Africa has a total road network of at least 750 000 kilometres. While some of the roads, particularly those in urban areas are in a good condition and are maintained regularly, we cannot say the same of roads in other parts of our country, more so in the rural areas.   

We have looked at various means of achieving a sustainable programme that would see us paying regular attention to the state of our roads.  

I am pleased to announce that through the Provincial Roads Maintenance Grant, otherwise known as S’hamba Sonke, we will undertake road maintenance programmes where provinces will repair damaged roads periodically.

S’hamaba Sonke programme will seek to achieve the following:

  • 60% of employment and empowerment in road infrastructure and
  • 40 % to be allocated to Tselantle programme
  • 50% of the EPWP Infrastructure Job Creation Targets.

We are very much alive to the concerns raised by the Portfolio Committee regarding capacity in municipalities.

Through this programme, we currently have 120 civil engineering graduates being trained and will later be absorbed into municipalities.

Honourable Chairperson,

During the 2013/2014 financial year, SANRAL awarded 202 contracts for new works, rehabilitation and improvement, periodic and special maintenance, routine road maintenance, community development, supervision and other activities to the value of R11.6 billion with R9.5 billion being spent on non-toll roads.

SANRAL spent a total of R1.8 billion on contracts with SMMEs, of which more than R1.2 billion went to black-owned firms for both toll and non-toll roads. The budget allocation for SANRAL for 2014/15 is R3.454 billion for current operations and R7.043 billion for capital infrastructure.

This world class road agency continues to provide technical support to provinces with regard to the maintenance of roads. SANRAL has recently inherited several thousand kilometres of roads from provinces. Independent Research indicates that Sanral continues to build the best roads in the world.

It is  important to note that of the almost 19 700 kilometres of roads under SANRAL, only 3200 kilometres is tolled and 201 kilometers is part of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Plan.

We continue to conduct reviews of the progress being made and the challenges experienced since the introduction of GFIP and electronic tolling in Gauteng.

Through these regular reviews, we have been able to introduce certain relief measures to lessen the burden on users. These would include exemptions for public transport, medical services and people living with disabilities.

Sanral has been able to introduce a payment amnesty regime informed by the reviews in March this year.

Honourable Chairperson,

In response to the call by the President earlier this year to address electronic payment billing challenges in Gauteng and make it easier for people to comply, I wish to announce the following:

We have come to the following reprieve for affected motorists in the following categories:

  • The further extension of the payment period to avoid the VPC process that would negatively affect vehicle owners.
  • Users will have an extended payment period of 51 days from the day they pass through the gantry. They will also receive the time-of-day discount.
  • A non-registered user will receive a 60% off the alternative tariff if they pay within 51 days.

For registered users, we will introduce the following reprieves:

  • 48% e-tag holder discount
  • Time of day discounts
  • Frequent user discounts
  • And the R450 calendar month cap for class A2/light vehicles.

 We trust that these concessions will go some way towards lessening the financial burden on the part of users.

Honourable Chairperson,

 In 1995, the ANC government under President Mandela introduced the Masakhane Campaign to inculcate the principle of users taking responsibility for infrastructure development and payment of services as part of the implementation of the RDP.

President Mandela said: and I quote: “We all have the responsibility to pay for what we use or else the investment will dry up and the projects come to an end. We must ensure that we can, as a nation, provide for the millions still without the basic services,” close quote.

Today, we can proudly say that the National Development Plan has identified transport infrastructure as a key economic driver.

As outlined in the National Development Plan, the user pay principle remains the policy of this Government and no review of neither the policy nor the  legislation governing urban tolling or any other tolling have been undertaken by this government.

Our government continues to explore partnerships through which we can secure funding to reverse the current infrastructure backlog. Our partners, existing and potential, can only do business with us if we are certain about our policy objectives.

We urge the users of the tolled Gauteng road network to continue contributing towards the building of a better South Africa with the necessary world-class infrastructure required to move our country forward.

To them we say: we are grateful for your cooperation and we encourage those who are still not registered for electronic payment to do so.

Road Safety

Honourable Chairperson:

In our quest to ensure a sustained, coordinated approach to the battle against road carnage, the Department has embarked on a 365 day road safety programme.

We have in the past couple of months moved swiftly to stabilise the lead agency the Road Traffic Management Corporation by appointing a full time board and CEO following several months of instability at leadership level.

The RTMC along with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and Statistics South Africa are developing a road injury and fatalities data collection tool.

We are also in the process of establishing the National Road Safety Advisory Council that will advise the RTMC Shareholder Committee on this mammoth challenge of road safety.

This approach would ensure that we pull all available resources in all the sectors towards a comprehensive national social behavioural change campaign.

The RTMC will continue to implement the 365-day Road Safety Program aligned with the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety global campaign.

Honourable Chairperson,

We are currently working on the introduction of the Road Accident Benefit Scheme (RABS) Bill that would see the RAF moving away from how it currently handles and manages claims. The RABS bill seeks to do away with the fault based claim approach and introduce a no-fault based policy.

Through the current RAF-on-the-Road programme community outreach programme , Government continues to take services to the people,  we are pleased to report that this campaign has since inception reached over 23,000 claimants and paid out over R260 million in benefits.

We are of the view that road carnage is a societal pandemic akin to HIV/AIDS and we require a multi-disciplinary approach to stem the tide.

We applaud the role played by the Faith based structures in collaboration with our Roads Agencies to give a human face to the deaths on the roads.

Honourable Chairperson,

We will continue to support our country’s efforts in ensuring a seamless trading environment and regional integration with our neighbouring countries and Africa at large. Our agency, the Cross Border Road Transport Agency continues to play a key role in reducing cross border transport constraints that hinder the free flow of people and goods in our borders.

Affected parties are able to lodge claims and have them settled at their door-step.

We are pleased to report that this campaign has since inception reached over 23,000 claimants and paid out over R260 million in benefits.

Our expenditure over the medium term will be aimed at attaining an efficient, competitive and responsive infrastructure network which is part of Outcome 6 of the Medium Term Strategic Framework 2014 -2019.

Our approach is also to support the implementation of the National Development Plan’s priorities of maintaining road infrastructure, upgrading rail infrastructure and services, building and operating public transportation infrastructure for our people.

Honourable Members,

Our Budget allocation for the 2014/15 financial year is R48.7 billion, and this includes allocations to provinces, municipalities, state owned companies and agencies.

 Of the allocated amount, R46.29 billion goes to transfers

  • We transfer R20.1 billion to province and municipalities (41.3%)
  • We transfer R14.9 billion to Public Corporations and Private Enterprises (25.04%)
  • We transfer R12.2 billion to Agencies (30.6%)

The remainder being the Department Good and Services and Compensation to Employees (2,96 %)

Rail Transport

Honourable Chairperson,

The ANC Government inherited, ageing rolling stocks, out-dated signalling technology and dilapidated railway stations were the characteristics of an unreliable and unsafe commuter rail transport. Since 1994, we have made significant strides in modernizing the railway infrastructure and services. We have built, upgraded and/or refurbished more than 50 universally accessible stations as well as some 2600 modern coaches.  In the process, some 3000 direct and indirect jobs have been created.  Further investment is however required.

The Department of Transport together with PRASA and the National Treasury concluded the procurement process for the new rolling stock program of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa with Gibela Rail Transportation.  In August 2013 PRASA appointed the preferred broad based black economic empowerment (BBBEE) participants in the new rolling stock renewal programme. 17% of PRASA’s renewal project has been committed to the BBBEE participants.

Gibela consortium will supply 198 new vehicles over the next three years and 3600 new vehicles over the next 10 years. The first modern set of trains is expected to hit our tracks in 2015.  Further outcome to be derived from this programme, include:

  • A new coach building and locomotive assembly plant being established in the Gauteng province;
  • Through 65% Localisation we will realize the creation of 33000 direct and indirect jobs training of 19000 technicians, artisans, engineers and train drivers

Moloto Corridor

Honourable Chairperson

National government embarked on a feasibility study on the infamous R573 Moloto road and I am pleased to announce that an integrated rapid rail option solution will be implemented in this important corridor which carries over 35-000 commuters per day to Gauteng, particularly the City of Tshwane and back.

And I am pleased to announce that an integrated rapid rail option solution will be implemented in this important corridor which carries over 35-000 commuters per day to Gauteng, particularly the City of Tshwane and back.

Public Transport

In the current financial year, over R5.5 billion will be spent in 13 cities on planning, building and operating integrated public transport networks.

Scholar Transport

The conditions and ways in which our learners travel to school leave so much to be desired. DOT and DBE will soon finalise the policy and will table it to Cabinet.

To date 95 000 bicycles have been distributed by the Department. In the next three years 21 000 shall be bought and distributed to deserving users.

Honourable Chairperson,

Although the sector is crucial to reducing poverty, sharing prosperity and achieving development goals, transport is also at the heart of development challenges:

Rapid urbanisation and motorisation: cities are expected grow to 5.2 billion residents by 2050. Over the next 20 years, more cars may be built than in the auto industry’s 110 year history.

Accessibility and affordability: an estimated one billion people in low income countries lack access to an all weather road. In cities, time lost to congestion erodes prosperity. High mobility costs, cuts the disposable income of the poor in many cities that lack formal and affordable public transport.

 As the developing world rapidly urbanizes, there is an opportunity to build safer, cleaner and more affordable transport systems that reduces congestion, facilitate access to jobs lower transport energy consumption. In emerging cities, where most of the new urban dwellers live, city planners have an opportunity to design sustainable and inclusive transport system from the start, leapfrogging more polluting and costly modes. In older larger cities, technology and data management is helping better map travel patterns and needs, engage citizens and improve the quality and efficiency of transport solutions.     

South Africa has a coastline of over 3000 km, and is a strategic hub for international merchant ships, connecting the global East and West markets

Moving forward, we would implement the Maritime Transport policy to unlock South Africa’s maritime potential and support our country’s trade imperatives (DM will say more).

Honourable Chairperson,

The legislative programme for the remainder of this year will include the introduction of the following pieces of legislation:

•     Merchant Shipping Amendment Bill

•     Adjudication of the Road Traffic Offences Amendment Bill

•     National Land Transport Amendment Bill     

Honourable Chairperson, In Conclusion:

We have achieved a good financial status in the past financial year and we are working towards achieving a clean audit in the current financial year.

All that we have presented before you is team work of Team Transport.

I therefore wish to take the opportunity to thank the President and the Presidency for the honour, trust, support and guidance.

We want to thank the Cabinet colleagues for collaboration and support.

I would like to thank the Deputy Minister for cooperation, collaboration, support and team spirit.

Our sincere gratitude goes to the Chairperson and the Portfolio Committee on Transport for guidance and support.

We pledge to work together with the Portfolio Committee on Transport in moving South Africa forward.

We also wish to acknowledge the work done by the Department under the leadership of the Acting Director General and Team Transport.

Honourable Chairperson and Members, I present to this august House, the 2014/15 Budget for the Department of Transport and seek your support.

I thank you.