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Media Statement By Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele at the Transport Pre-budget Vote Media Briefing Held at Parliament, Cape Town, On Tuesday, 13 April 2010

13 April 2010

A very good morning to you all. Thank you for joining us at this Transport Pre-Budget Vote Media Briefing. We will present the 2010/11 Budget Vote to Parliament at 4pm today and copies of the budget speech will be disseminated then.

Some of the key areas for this year’s Transport Budget Vote include transport plans for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, road infrastructure maintenance and empowerment of the taxi industry.

2010 Fifa World Cup

Today marks 58 days before the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup on 11 June 2010. However, the 31 teams, their support staff and others will arrive well before 11 June 2010 for practice sessions and other logistical arrangements. This means that transport will be ready well before kick-off.

The performance of the Department of Transport will be judged in the eyes of South Africans, and indeed the world, by its performance during the 2010 FIFA World Cup - the African World Cup.

As the Department of Transport, we are confident that South Africa can once again do its reputation proud as a successful hosting nation of major sporting events.

Since 1994, we have successfully hosted some of the biggest sporting events in the world, including the FIFA Confederations Cup, the Indian Premier League, the A1 Grand Prix, World Cup Cricket, the African Cup of Nations and the Rugby World Cup.

Last year’s Confederations Cup provided us with a dry run in transporting thousands of soccer enthusiasts to the stadiums, fan parks and viewing areas and back. We learnt many lessons from the Confederations Cup.

In addition to these major events, many local tournaments have helped South Africa prepare for the biggest sporting event to come to our shores. Local derbies in various sporting codes often attract sell-out crowds to the stadiums and thousands of our people often use public transport to get to these venues, sometimes over long distances.

Fan Parks and Public Viewing Areas constitute the mass character of the World Cup; they will stand or fall on the basis of the availability of transport.

A 2010 Transport Command and Call Centre, located in Gauteng, will be operational during the World Cup, to coordinate and manage the implementation of the 2010 Transport Plans, in conjunction with the Provinces and Host Cities. All roads lead to Gauteng for the World Cup.

Over and above normal transport services, dedicated transport services for the World Cup will include 418 train sets; 420 buses allocated to MATCH; 200 buses for the FIFA family; 360 buses for general spectators, in addition to the 1 100 buses in operation, as well as 800 midi-buses to be managed by the recently appointed Operating Management Entity. With regards to aviation, maximum peak services will be provided including leasing of additional aircraft.

We have constantly emphasized that the FIFA World Cup is not only about sport; it is more about tran-sport. Our obligation is to ensure that all those who use our transport services are able to do so effectively and efficiently. We must use the FIFA World Cup to build a lasting legacy, way beyond 2010.

Transport Infrastructure

The Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) is using the FIFA World Cup as a springboard to upgrade rail infrastructure to increase mobility and accessibility for commuters. We want to encourage travel by train during the World Cup.

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, and has accelerated the rolling stock investment programme.

We are also finalising details of a proposed High Speed Rapid Rail link between Durban and Johannesburg, and will be taking this matter to Cabinet later this year. The Moloto Corridor is another project that we have identified as a priority and have registered the project as a Private Public Partnership.

Billions of rands have also been spent on airport infrastructure, including the brand new R6.7 billion King Shaka International airport which will be operational as of 1 May 2010.

Regarding the future use of the current site of the Durban International airport, a report on the land use options for this site is being finalised by a task team comprising of the Department of Transport, ACSA, the province of KwaZulu-Natal and the eThekwini Municipality.

It is not the wealth of a country that builds roads; it is roads that build the wealth of the country.

With regards to road infrastructure, we are also investing billions of rands such as the R23 billion Gauteng Freeway Improvement Scheme.

We are working with Treasury to consider various options, including a dedicated Road Infrastructure Maintenance Fund to deal with the road maintenance backlog and challenges at provincial and local level.

The current state of our road infrastructure, particularly in provinces and municipalities, is reflective of a lack of sustained investment in road maintenance over many years. We are looking at a ring-fencing mechanism which will set aside dedicated funds for road maintenance.

Empowerment of the Taxi Industry

South Africa’s transport is on track to aid increased economic participation by all citizens in the future.

When it comes to public transport, the most important person is the commuter.

Transformation of the public transport sector cannot be complete without the taxi industry. The only example of real Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment in South Africa is the taxi industry, and therefore empowerment is integral. Enterprise development in the taxi industry must be married to Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment, which is government policy.

The National Joint Working Group on Public Transport (NJWG), which comprises of representatives from government, the taxi industry and civil society, will continue to deal with all outstanding matters in the taxi industry. The NJWG must position the taxi industry to become a major player in integrated transport services.

We have advertised nominations for the Board of the National Transport Regulator in order to facilitate the processing of operating licences.

Road Safety

Road Safety is not what you do to a community; Road Safety is what you do with a community. Road Safety is Everybody’s Business.

We proclaim Ubuntu as a South African national philosophy. However, we will only be a country based on Ubuntu when it becomes manifest on the roads.

As of 1 April 2010, the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) was implemented in Johannesburg and Tshwane, and will be rolled out to the rest of the country during the current financial year.

The current traffic law enforcement system is not effective, and if we want to stop counting bodies every year, we have to change it. Our courts are already overburdened with many criminal cases and traffic offences are not prioritised by the justice system. Courts are inundated with criminal cases such as rape, murder, robberies and ATM bombings. This has placed a tremendous strain on our court resources resulting in traffic offences during 2008 only being heard in October 2010 and into 2011.

This is further exacerbated by the lawlessness on our roads. For the Johannesburg Metro Police Department, there are 201 779 traffic offences on the court roll for 2010 for offences committed during 2008. A total of 53 809 traffic offences could not be accommodated and have court dates pending after October 2010 and into 2011. For the Cape Town Metro, a total of 132 226 traffic cases are on the court roll up to October 2010. Traffic offences during the current year will of necessity have to be heard during 2011/2012 and into 2013.

Drivers simply ignore paying traffic fines and do not even bother to go to court because they know that nothing will happen to them, since their cases are not prioritised and, in many instances, withdrawn. The implementation of AARTO as of this financial year (2010/11) will change this situation. It will relieve the burden from the court system and allow the courts to focus on more urgent matters. It will also contribute to the more effective and efficient finalisation of road traffic cases.

The Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has advertised posts for additional Traffic Officers.

Community Road Safety Councils will soon be introduced in every municipality in the country. These councils will provide the opportunity to all stakeholders to participate and allow communities to identify road safety challenges and interventions in their respective localities, and to act as ambassadors for road safety.

Community members will also be able to access the benefits provided by the Road Accident Fund through these councils.

As of 17 February 2010, a 16-year-old now qualifies for a learner licence. The qualifying age for a driving licence is 18 years. In partnership with the Department of Education, we are intensifying road safety education at schools.

The Road Accident Fund is also receiving an overhaul. The overall aim is to provide an effective benefit system which is reasonable, equitable, affordable and sustainable in the long term. The Road Accident Fund will work closely with the Community Road Safety Councils in ensuring survivors of road collisions receive appropriate post collision care and compensation. They will educate communities, especially the poor, and assist them to access the care that will help them deal with the death of loved ones and any injuries they may have sustained, and to continue leading normal lives.

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

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