Second reading of the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement and Second Adjustments Estimates of Provincial Revenue and Expenditure
Speech by Bonginkosi Madikizela, Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works
Deputy Speaker, in his speech last week my Cabinet colleague, the Minister of Finance and Economic Opportunities, made it abundantly clear just how much trouble South Africa is in economically. The sub-headings used by Minister Maynier tell the broad-brush story of the national economy clearly – Debt Crisis, Bailouts, Budget Cuts and Wage War.
These are not headings which tell a positive story.
They are also not the headings which describe a situation which can be blamed to any significant extent on the pandemic only. Even the additional burden of the Covid-19 Virus real costs would have been more manageable without the rampant corruption, poor policy decisions and, at times, incoherent communication which have come to characterise the South African government.
However, Deputy Speaker, these headings do tell us that the ANC National Government cannot be trusted with running the economy of South Africa.
If ever a struggling, increasingly discredited government was presented through the outbreak of the pandemic with an opportunity to re-establish itself, it was the national government of South Africa. If ever a government used the opportunity to demonstrate just how fatally flawed and ill-equipped it is to govern a modern state, it is that ANC National Government.
Deputy Speaker, one of the more shambolic and economically damaging areas of South African national government activity is its ill-advised approach to the use and management of a wide range of state-owned entities and agencies of various kinds falling under the control of a number of different State Ministries. Although, as a result of disastrous governance issues and crippling financial challenges the most obvious examples of these are probably SA Airways, ESKOM and PRASA, there are many others. For example, the national Department of Transport is home to 12 such agencies. Some, such as the Civil Aviation Authority, are well known, others less so.
The Road Traffic Management Corporation is one of these 12 agencies. It was established in terms of the Road Traffic Management Corporation Act of 1999 and exists essentially to coordinate road traffic strategic planning, regulation and enforcement across all spheres of government.
As a result, the RTMC Act in its objectives specifically refers to the pooling of road traffic powers and resources of the different spheres of government and to strengthening national and provincial governments’ collective capacity through partnerships with local government bodies.
Despite its coordination role, it commits considerable resources to trying to steer road traffic issues into a unitary form even though provisions of the Constitution determine otherwise concerning Provincial competence in relation to critical aspects of traffic management and enforcement. In its recent Traffic Law Enforcement Review it is acknowledged that both the constitutionality and legality of its proposals will have to be interrogated.
Deputy Speaker, my department cannot support the significant negative implications of this RTMC approach for the integrity and constitutionally provided powers of the Western Cape Province. We have given notice of our apposition to what is being proposed and are currently preparing a brief for Senior Counsel’s opinion.
At the same time, Speaker, I must bring to this House my concern about financial decisions taken within the various structures of the RTMC, bearing in mind that at this stage its income is derived largely from a combination of grants from the national fiscus and the so-called transaction fee i.e. an amount drawn from each vehicle licence fee. Members will be interested to know that in the Financial Year ended 31 March 2020 the RTMC received an amount of R 945 million – just short of a billion Rand – from this transaction fee.
While the income of the RTMC is of interest in itself, Speaker, two items of expenditure need to be highlighted. These are:
There are many questions that have to be asked about value for money in the interests of the safety of our road users.
Deputy Speaker, in his special address to this House on 22 October, the Premier stated the intention that the Province will establish a single Transport Authority for the Greater Cape Town region. Let me explain briefly.
This will be a single provincial public transport operating entity to consolidate public transport operational functions and enable improved integration and management of public transport in the Western Cape across jurisdictions, modes, and functions.
The entity will be responsible for the performance of existing provincial public transport operational functions and the joint performance and exercise of municipal public transport operational functions in agreement with participating municipalities and as expressly provided for in the National Land Transport Act.
Functions will include the operational management of road-based public transport (bus, minibus taxi) and, if assignment proceeds, rail. The entity will also be responsible for public transport systems, including integrated monitoring, ticketing, and information systems.
Municipalities will retain their planning functions, and the entity will take direction from these plans. Planning integration needs to occur through the establishment of appropriate institutional structures across some of the key jurisdictional boundaries.
In addition, the entity will provide for the full participation of the City and local municipalities as substantial stakeholders and decision makers.
In line with the province’s mandate to coordinate between municipalities, the entity will work to improve public transport integration across the Province, through operational coordination with participating municipalities. This will necessarily require the establishment of new coordination structures to enable regular engagement and alignment on operational issues.
The WCG is not embarking on these actions concerning public transport lightly or without considerable analysis of the situation. I am sure that we will enjoy the support of all people and organisations with an interest in the legitimate needs of our commuting residents and visitors.
We are focussing on jobs, safety, and dignity and well-being, and we will continue to do everything we can, even in these tough times, to help deliver to our people.
I thank you.