Tabling of the Appropriation Adjustments Budget (COVID 19)
Speech by Bonginkosi Madikizela, Western Cape Minister of Tranport and Public Works
- Honourable Speaker/Deputy Speaker
- Honourable Premier and Cabinet Colleagues
- Honourable Leader of the Opposition
- Honourable Members of the WCPP
- Director-General and other officials of the WCG
Speaker, when I presented the usual adjustments budget for the Department of Transport and Public Works in December of last year and referred to the broad-ranging role which this department plays in the overall service delivery by the Western Cape Government to the residents of this province, I had no idea of the extent to which that role would be tested and expanded by the events of recent months.
As Government we have been called upon to undertake and perform functions which even six months ago would not have been included in any existing mandates.
And what is more, Speaker, these new functions have had to be performed within very limited timeframes and against a background of increasing infections, intensive care admissions and, sadly, deaths.
It is now a simple statement of fact that the virus has laid bare the many severe inequalities in our country, inequalities which will not disappear as and when the pandemic calms to a point where some of the more extreme measures which have had to be taken can be eased.
The economic damage has been huge and will be long-lasting, as will the impact of unemployment and job losses on families and communities.
More and more people are coming to understand that it is not simply a matter of waiting the storm out until things return to normal. The expression, new normal, has in a very short time become overused – but remains nevertheless true.
However, Speaker, the pandemic has also acted as a catalyst and forced us all to look at many things in new ways. It has encouraged structures into a situation in which cooperation is the only way in which they can move forward.
It has speeded up the development, implementation and use of technology – often providing new solutions to long-standing challenges.
Yesterday, in the second reading debate I highlighted the enhanced cooperative arrangements between the Department of Transport and Public Works (DTPW) and the minibus taxi industry to the advantage of both parties as well as to the benefit of so many of our frontline health workers.
Here too, technology has played a significant role in allowing electronic pre-booking of transport and the monitoring and reporting of hygiene standards.
Speaker, one of the major changes set out in this First Adjusted Estimates for Vote 10 is the amount of R365m for the hiring and fitout of venues and facilities and the purchasing of associated services for quarantine and isolation purposes as a key component of the Health strategy response to Covid-19.
What did this allocation as managed by mean in practical terms in the second half of June as the pandemic moved towards a peak?
- 4672 beds in 15 government and 29 private fully-functioning facilities within the Metro and across the province. These facilities were fully supported by all the necessary services.
- 9670 beds ready to be activated in 14 government and 168 private facilities within the Metro and across the province should the need arise.
The identifying, inspecting, evaluating and activating of these facilities across the province in line with the needs in different districts was a massive exercise carried out by dedicated staff members of DTPW.
The careful use of these facilities in conjunction with the Red Dot Taxi service made it possible to move people into facilities appropriate to the needs of their stage of treatment according to the relevant Department of Health protocol. It is important that we bear in mind what the figures which we are talking about mean in real terms.
Speaker, it is not my intention to deal with all the details of the First Adjustments Budget figures. These are available to the Members in the First Adjusted Estimates of Provincial Revenue and Expenditure for 2020 as tabled. I do, however, want to highlight a number of these as follows:
The Main Appropriation of Vote 10 increases by R126 472 000 and is made up of the following:
Unforeseen and unavoidable – R400 000 000 – an additional allocation to respond to the Covid pandemic consisting of:
- R356 000 000 for Q and I as described above
- R44 000 000 for the provision of the Red Dot service.
Other Adjustments – R273 528 000 – including a reduction of R161 654 000 in the national allocation of the Provincial Roads Maintenance Grant due to the reduced fiscal framework.
Realignment of Provincial Budget - R327 874 000 to respond to COVID-19 including the following:
- R74 641 000 budget reduction on compensation of employees and operational costs over all the programmes on the Vote.
- Programme 2: Public Works Infrastructure
- R16 672 000 budget reduction on maintenance of general infrastructure as part of the provincial response to COVID-19.
- Programme 3: Transport Infrastructure
- R87 687 000 budget reduction on road maintenance.
- R111 874 000 budget reduction on the Wingfield and Refinery interchange projects
Provincial Funding - R216 000 000 – including the following:
- Programme 1: Administration - R 72 000 000
- R71 000 000 to provide for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for departmental staff and for the integrated team at 24/7 roadblocks.
- R1 000 000 for operational cost such as computer equipment and lights for road blocks.
- Programme 2: Public Works Infrastructure - R10 000 000
- R10 000 000 for sanitisation and decontamination of office accommodation and fit-out of Western Cape Government accommodation in terms of COVID-19 requirements.
- Programme 3: Transport Infrastructure - R103 000 000
- R103 000 000 for the estimated impact on contractual liabilities due to COVID-19 and lockdown regulations on transport infrastructure.
- Programme 4: Transport Operations - R31 000 000
- R1 000 000 for increased operational costs and software development for the development of applications to communicate with the public and transport industry.
Speaker, in drawing to a close, I should like to focus briefly on the work of a group of dedicated Western Cape Government employees – in many ways, frontline workers in their own right.
I am talking about the officers in our Provincial Traffic Service who have continued to render excellent work throughout the pandemic, often on crowded main links and during congestion which had to be a risk.
During the period 1 April to 30 June 2020, coinciding with the first three months of the lockdown, a total of 2 386 integrated roadblocks, vehicle check point and speed operations were conducted across the Western Cape and 145 503 vehicles were stopped and checked. 1 213 speeding offences were recorded and 11 545 fines worth R16 189 600 were issued for various traffic violations ranging from driver to vehicle fitness. In the period, 11 vehicles were impounded and 125 vehicles were discontinued for being unroadworthy.
A total of 144 crashes and 163 road fatalities were recorded in the period: This represents an overall 59% reduction on these figures for the same period last year.
Our Traffic Officers will continue their planned 24/7 operations across the province to keep our road network safe, safeguard the lives of innocent road users, and stringently enforce the Disaster Management Act regulations.
It is not surprising that during this period some of our officers have fallen ill and have tested positive. We wish them all a speedy recovery and thank them for their dedicated and selfless service in the best interests of our road users.
Speaker, it would be remiss of me while dealing with the massive contribution made by our Traffic Service not to acknowledge the impending retirement tomorrow of Chief Kenny Africa after a long and distinguished career of 46 years in traffic management and enforcement.
In many ways Chief Africa is a legend highly regarded by many. We wish him everything of the best and record our thanks for a job well done in the service of others.
I thank you.