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Address at the National Assembly

INTRODUCTION

Honourable Speaker
Honourable Members
Ladies and Gentlemen

One of the foremost thinkers of our time, former President of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam is passionate about technology, children and development.

After a talk delivered by Dr Kalam, a ten-year old once came up to him for an autograph. "What is your ambition he asked her?" "I want to live in a developed India," she replied without hesitation.

The ambition of that ten-year old is shared by 48million people in this country and 800million on the continent. Like the rest of the world we want development. We have moved away from a state of underdevelopment which was induced by apartheid colonialism.

We now characterise ourselves, and are characterised by others, as a developing country. A country is developed when it has peace, democracy, water, energy, transport and communications.

In his book titled INDIA: A vision for the New Millennium, Kalam asks an important question about development. I quote:

"The next question which comes to mind is how can it be made possible? We have to build and strengthen our national infrastructure in a big way", end quote.

Later in this presentation we will turn our attention to infrastructure as a route to development.

President Jacob Zuma told the taxi industry in April to defer negotiations on the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system until after the elections. During the State of the Nation Address President Zuma said the Minister of Transport would resume discussions with the industry by 11 June 2009.

Indeed on 11 June 2009 we met over 2000 representatives of the industry made up of taxi associations and their organized structures nationally. Prior to that, we held fruitful discussions with leaders of the South African National Taxi Council.

On 26 June 2009 we met the leadership of the National Taxi Alliance (NTA) and held similar consultations with provincial departments and affected municipalities. We are now all ready to start a "CODESA" of the taxi industry.

We will encourage the industry to participate in the entire transport value chain. This includes buses, freight, rail, transport finance and fuel to mention a few. For a start our structured engagement focuses on five strategic areas:

  1. Implementing the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and other Integrated Public Transport Network (IPTN) Projects;
  2. Taxi Subsidization and the Taxi Recapitalization Programme;
  3. Legislation, Licensing and Regulatory Issues;
  4. Enterprise Development; and
  5. Communication and Stakeholder Engagement.

In August the Working Group will submit an interim report and implementation will start by October 2009.

In this vein we would like to acknowledge the presence of the taxi industry in the house today. Your presence indicates a new leaf in our relationship as partners and stakeholders in the transport sector. We can say we have now entered a phase that is not going to be characterised by conflict.

We take a leaf from the Book of Galatians 5 Verse 15 and I quote:

"Kepha uma nidlana, nilumana, qaphelani ukuba ningaqedani".

If 2009 is a turning point let it not be said that the taxi industry did not turn.

INTEGRATED PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Our experience teaches us that the mere building of road and parking facilities can neither be sufficient nor sustainable. The integration of taxis, buses and rail in all municipalities is therefore of paramount importance.

We will implement integrated ticketing to ensure seamless movement between the various transport modes. We are thus planning to implement the Integrated Rapid Public Transport Networks in eight major cities and identified rural networks.
These are Johannesburg, Tshwane, Cape Town, eThekwini, Polokwane, Nelson Mandela, Mbombela and Mangaung.

BUS SECTOR

We must acknowledge that the bus sector is experiencing problems and requires urgent intervention. Durban Transport, one of our subsidized bus services is beset with problems. The present operator opted to discontinue services within eThekwini as from 1 July 2009.

The operator cited inadequate subsidies and escalating fuel costs as key to their difficulties. Together with the eThekwini Metro and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Transport we will find alternative operators as a matter of urgency.

We will appoint new operators who will start on 1 August 2009 for a period of 12 months. The city is finalizing discussions with taxi and other bus services to provide additional trips during July to maintain ongoing services.

The new operators will only provide management services and drivers since the fleet and depot facilities are owned by the municipality. We will soon release a plan to grow the bus sector as part of local integrated networks and city-to-city services. The Bus Rapid Transit system and the subsidy system are part of this initiative.

RAIL

Government is investing R25 billion over the MTEF period to stabilize and upgrade rail passenger transport services in our country. Of these, R14 billion is being spent to upgrade rail passenger infrastructure and rolling stock whilst the balance will be funding for rail operations.

PRASA, formerly the South African Rail Commuter Corporation, has shown its capacity to absorb the huge capital allocations, and in some instances, has exceeded the capital funds allocated to it. Increased spending on rail infrastructure will be of vital importance in the current economic climate and in sustaining jobs.

South Africa has gone a long way in arresting the decline in commuter rail services over the past few years.

PRASA has since the 2006/07 financial Year accelerated the rolling stock investment programme. This has resulted in over 1 500 coaches being refurbished to the tune of R5bn. An additional 700 coaches will go through this programme this year at an estimated R2billion. PRASA in on course to eliminate the historical backlogs in the General Overhaul (GO) and Upgrades for Rolling stock.

Whilst the R25 billion allocated by Government remains vital to the upgrading of the current rail passenger transport, we need to recognize that this intervention will not resolve the key underlying challenges facing rail in the long-term. We should be forward-looking and start investing in a manner that will meet future transport requirements.

The future for inter-city travel, for example, will be in high-speed rail where the travel times for passengers will be significantly reduced. This will allow passengers and freight to move with speed, and that the competitiveness of rail will be enhanced.

A tender for the upgrade of the entire signalling system has already been issued. This will result in the introduction of a single, modern signalling platform that will enable our rail operators to increase frequencies, move trains with greater speed and ensure safety in rail operations.

GAUTRAIN

The GAUTRAIN is one of our key infrastructure projects to date. The GAUTRAIN Management Agency and the Bombela Consortium assure us that their recovery plan will ensure that Phase 1- between OR Tambo Airport and Sandton- is ready before the FIFA World Cup.

To date GAUTRAIN has sustained more than 12 600 local direct jobs and an estimated total of more than 68 000 direct, indirect jobs. It has also contributed to Black Economic Empowerment.

RURAL DEVELOPMENT

When we speak of poverty, we make a distinction between poor people as individuals and families, and poor communities. A community is poor if it does not have water, roads, electricity and communication.

Correcting the legacy of apartheid on rural South Africa calls for the creation of an equitable road network. No school, no hospital, no clinic or public facility should be unreachable just because there is no road. To begin with, all public facilities in all communities should be reachable by car.

We will build pedestrian bridges where necessary to ensure life continues regardless of whether it has rained or not. To fund this, the budget of the Rural Transport Development Programme (RTDP) needs to increase.

We are also looking at Non-Motorised Transport such as the Shova Kalula bicycle programme to enable communities less costly access to socio-economic opportunities. Shova Kalula is part of the War on Poverty Campaign. A total of 26 100 bicycles were distributed during 2008/09 and the Department intends distributing 15 000 by April 2010.

CORRUPTION

We will pay particular attention to combating fraud and corruption in procurement and tender processes, the Road Accident Fund and drivers’ licences.

Mr Speaker, there are four important documents in the life of a human being. These are the Birth Certificate and Identity Document which confirm that you exist. A Drivers Licence, Passport and Marriage Certificate define your well-being.

Working with Home Affairs we will ensure our documents have enhanced security and unquestionable integrity to be accepted in our country and internationally.

The contract of the current service provider for the drivers’ smart cards expired on 30 April 2009. It was extended to 31 December 2009 to allow for a proper tender process. We will appoint a new service provider by the end of the year.

LEARNER LICENCES

A new computerised examination system for learner licences will root out fraud and corruption. Plans to computerise all learner licence centres will start immediately. For rural communities new Mobile licence testing centres will bring access closer to all.

KwaZulu-Natal already has 21 fixed stations and two mobile stations; Gauteng has 1 fixed station and 2 mobile stations; Mpumalanga has 3 fixed stations and 1 mobile station.

EPWP JOBS

In the State of the Nation Address, President Zuma said and I quote:

"Another important element of our drive to create job opportunities is the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP)…

The second phase of the programme aims to create about four million job opportunities by 2014. Between now and December 2009, we plan to create about 500 000 job opportunities."

President Zuma said further:

"… The newly-formed Infrastructure Development Cluster of government will ensure that the planned R787 billion infrastructure expenditure as provided for in the budget earlier this year is properly planned for and executed. This funding includes allocations for the school building programme, public transport including the bus rapid transit system, housing, water and sanitation." End quote.

Mr. Speaker, the EPWP infrastructure sector aims to create 2,374,000 work opportunities using labour-intensive methods over five years. There are very good examples of labour-intensive programmes in many of our provinces which we intend to roll out nationally. We will systematize this approach as we build bridges, roads and other infrastructure throughout the country and in the process create sustainable jobs.

The Rural Road Maintenance programme in KwaZulu-Natal has to date created 42 000 sustainable jobs. These women maintain 21 000 km of road. We will identify 100 000km of road to maintain nationally, which will create 200 000 sustainable jobs. This is part of our contribution to the 500 000 jobs that the President mentioned in the State of the Nation Address.

The emerging contractor programme in road construction creates thousands of job opportunities and promotes Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment. These programmes will be funded from the rural roads component of the Infrastructure Grant of R5 billion.

ROAD SAFETY

Lawlessness detracts from our drive to become a developed country that respects human life. The carnage on our road is unacceptable and can be stopped. The complete road safety strategy will be released soon.

Having completed the pilot Road Traffic Infringement Agency in Tshwane and Johannesburg the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) is now ready for implementation.

This will include the demerit system which is like acquiring yellow cards until a red card becomes inevitable. The same is now going to apply to your driver’s licence. This is what the demerit means.

You retain or lose your driver’s licence according to your conduct on our shared space, the public roads. This is what the demerit system is all about. It is now going to be part of our lives on South Africa roads. Road safety is no longer going to be left to individual conscience.

We will also bolster traffic law enforcement and education. A total of 145 patrol cars, 20 roadblock trailers and other law enforcement equipment will assist the Special Operations Unit (SOUs) at high accident frequency locations.

We will ensure that the Road Accident Fund creates an equitable, affordable and sustainable funding system for South Africa. The system must eliminate wastages and protect victims and families.

MARITIME SAFETY

The draft policy framework for maritime regulation and ship registration is ready for Cabinet approval. We are in the process of positioning South Africa as an international maritime centre. This involves growing the maritime sector’s contribution to our GDP by providing competitive products for the industry internationally and drawing more traffic onto our shores.

ROADS

The road infrastructure strategic framework and its action plan will help us assess, prioritise and reclassify the road network. In addition we have developed the SANRAL Strategic Road Network and infrastructure investment plans.

The three-year Gauteng freeway improvement scheme comprises lane additions and interchange upgrades of approximately 185 km. A further 65 km will be completed in Gauteng by 2012 at an estimated cost of R14.3 billion.

On the issue of the N2 Wild Coast the Minister of Intergovernmental Cooperation and I, will together with the stakeholders ensure that all issues are addressed.

LAND TRANSPORT

Mr Speaker, transport-related planning must take place at local, district and provincial level and must form part of our national plan. The National Land Transport Strategic Framework of 2008-2011 takes into account the Provincial Land Transport Frameworks of our nine provinces and the IDPs of Municipalities. This is a key example of a coordinated and planned approach.

We are currently implementing the Road Infrastructure Strategic Framework for SA and the National Logistics Strategic Framework. We are also working towards a framework for the creation of a single Transport Regulator.

AVIATION

ACSA has embarked on R20bn infrastructure development in anticipation of the increase in the number of passengers travelling to South Africa by year 2010. At present ACSA handles more than 32million passengers annually. The number will be 43million in year 2010 and will continue to grow.

44.4 million passengers and handle 611 631 aircraft landings. Major airport developments are taking place at OR Tambo, La Mercy, Cape Town, Polokwane and Bloemfontein.

We hope to have finalized the formal naming of the new airport at La Mercy in accordance with national legislation and the regulations of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

This process is under way. This has become urgent taking into account the rules of ICAO which say that a name must be formally filed by the country for it to be registered as an official name. The coming FIFA WORLD CUP calls on us to speed up this process so it can be ready for use.

SADC

Mr. Speaker the health of a country’s road network determines its wealth and net worth. Africa’s economic health is critical and requires urgent unsteady resuscitation through transport infrastructure. With this in mind DoT will actively develop closer links with counterparts in Africa.

SADC Ministers who deal with infrastructure met recently in Windhoek Namibia. A government delegation of several ministers from South Africa made presentations to the gathering.

We have also been invited to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania on 8 July this year to address a conference under the theme, Make Roads Safe Africa 2009. All these interactions form part of the region’s plan to prioritise the provision of transport infrastructure which is a key driver of economic growth in the region.

2010 FIFA WORLD CUP

The CONFEDERATIONS CUP has underlined that the 2010 World Cup is not just about sport, but it is also about transport. Twenty two (22) players on the field do not make a soccer match, but merely a practice.

It is only a match when fans fill the stadium and the fan parks. A coordinating structure of transport has been established to look at all matters around transport and report to the relevant structures dealing with 2010. It is inclusive of all hosting cities.

Soon, I will personally visit the host cities to assess transport plans for 2010. We will also hold a Transport Lekgotla at the end of August to ensure that our planning is coordinated and synchronized accordingly.

Transport remains critical for a successful 2010 FIFA World Cup because every fan and official at the stadium will use our transport system during the tournament. Through our planned public transport infrastructure of R19.6bn we will ensure the tournament leaves a rich legacy for our country and continent.

Honourable Members the Budget of the Department of Transport for 2009/10 is R23.7 billion.

Our receipts come mainly from dividends received from the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA), and share revenue from salvage tugs that provide oil pollution prevention services. In 2007/08 the department received ACSA dividends of R100.7m. No dividends have been declared for 2008/09.

In 2008/09, the Department received R140.9 million from transaction fees collected at driving licence testing centres for the maintenance of the electronic national information system (ENATIS).

The bulk of the funds go to Integrated Planning and Inter-sphere Coordination (R 8.8billion) and Public Transport (R 14.2billion).

The budget is allocated as follows:

Programme 1: Administration (R231, 023m)
Programme 2: Transport Policy and Economic Regulation (R51, 592m)
Programme 3: Transport Regulation and Accident and Incident Investigation (R195, 580m)
Programme 5: Transport Logistics and Corridor Development (R31, 809m)
Programme 6: Public Transport (R14, 191, 689bn)
Programme 7: Public Entity Oversight and Border Operations and Control (R177, 712m)

CONCLUSION

In conclusion Mr Speaker, Honourable Members, efficient, affordable and modern transport systems can redefine Africa as a developed world.

Like that ten year old in India we all wish to live in a developed country and continent. It is not the wealth of the country that builds roads; it is the roads that build the wealth of the country.

Let us all make it happen.

I would like to thank my predecessor, the Honourable Jeff Radebe for laying the foundation for the work we do today. I also want to thank the Director-General, Ms. Mpumi Mpofu and her team for their hard work and dedication.

I thank the Portfolio Committee and Chairperson Ruth Bhengu for the constructive way in which they engaged DoT so we can fine-tune our programmes for the benefit of our people and country.

I hereby request the house to pass the Department of Transport’s 2009/2010 budget of R23.7 billion.

THANK YOU

Minister of Transport

By Mr. Sibusiso Ndebele, MP
Minister of Transport
3 July 2009
Cape Town
 

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