Budget vote address at the National Assembly by Mr Sibusiso Ndebele, MP, Minister of Transport, Cape Town
Deputy Minister of Transport Mr. Jeremy Cronin
Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Transport Ms Ruth Bhengu
Director-General, Mr. George Mahlalela
Ladies and gentlemen
Today, 13 April 2010, marks 58 days to the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Next month when the first group of media representatives, visiting fans and officials arrive in numbers for the FIFA World Cup, our transport operation will kick into overdrive.
We know that of the 64 matches to be played during the tournament, 15 will be decided either at Soccer City or Ellis Park. Another six will be played in Tshwane. This brings to 21 the number of matches to be played in the Gauteng area alone.
Furthermore, semi-final venues in Durban and Cape Town will host a total of seven and eight matches respectively. So, three provinces will host over half of the total matches of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Cognisant of this reality, our plans are centred on transporting the visiting fans but also the local spectators that we know are critical to the success of any Soccer World Cup. Fan parks constitute the mass character of the FIFA World Cup. In Germany 2006 fan parks and public viewing areas added to the festive nature of the tournament and ensured the active participation of locals.
Many fans will use our world class airport infrastructure to fly from city to city. Yet many more will travel by road and rail. In the course of travel, we want transport to be a catalyst for the formation of lasting memories of South Africa and the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
The task of the transport system is therefore to provide a seamless multimodal transport service throughout the World Cup period to facilitate movement to all parts of the country. How do we plan to contribute to the success of the FIFA World Cup? The backbone of our transport plans for the World Cup consists of long-distance rail, aviation, taxis and buses. As indicated above, Gauteng will host the bulk of the matches. Johannesburg therefore becomes the natural transport hub to all the nine host cities. All host cities will be accessible from any part of the country.
As indicated above the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) will play a pivotal role in this global event. Government has already invested R25 billion over the last MTEF in passenger rail services to get us ready for the World Cup and beyond. This programme increases to R38 billion in the current MTEF and is also to arrest the decline in infrastructure and address rolling stock availability. PRASA is upgrading key stations and critical infrastructure. The refurbishment of 2 000 coaches, the roll-out of the South African Railway Police are key to making South Africa fully compliant in support of this major event. During the World Cup over and above the normal services of 308 train sets, there will be 240 additional train sets arranged. In addition, 85 train sets have been booked privately and 93 trains are on stand-by should they be required. On buses government has provided a R1.4 billion treasury guarantee for Autopax to recapitalise its fleet for 2010 and for the sustainability of the services in the long-term.
Integrated Rapid Public Transport Networks (IRPTN)
In Johannesburg, Cape Town and Nelson Mandela Bay, the construction of the Integrated Rapid Public Transport Networks (IRPTN) infrastructure construction is well on track. Other cities including Ethekwini, Mbombela have invested in public transport infrastructure. Overall the commitment to the IRPTNs is over R billion up to 2010/11.
Rea Vaya Phase one A, which operates between Johannesburg and Soweto today carries 20 000 people per day as at December 2009 up from 11 000 in August of the same year. We use 28 articulated buses with a carrying capacity of 117 passengers each and 6 complementary buses with a carrying capacity of 81 passengers to operate 203 trips per day. Over and above the normal transport services dedicated transport services for the World Cup will include 418 train sets, 420 buses allocated to the FIFA accredited hospitality agency match, 200 buses for the FIFA family, 360 buses general spectators in addition to the 1 100 buses operation, as well as 800 midi-buses to be managed by the recently appointed operational management entity.
Coordination of the World Cup
Providing infrastructure is necessary, but it is the coordination that will ensures the country delivers a successful World Cup. In order to coordinate and manage the implementation of the transport plan for the FIFA World Cup we will have a 2010 transport command and call centre based in Gauteng. A service provider has been appointed to manage the Operational Management Entity (OME) and over the next few weeks will be finalising the operational plan. The OME will have operational oversight over the long distance bus and taxi operations. We are heading for an event that will, in transport terms, become the greatest operation ever to be undertaken by any country in Africa.
Beyond the World Cup
During our budget vote in July last year, we quoted one of the foremost thinkers of our time, former President of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam who 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 48 million people in this country and 800 million on the continent. Like the rest of the world we want development.
Speaker, this financial year the transport sector must play its role in moving this country from underdevelopment to a state of development, and from being a developing country to being a developed country. To turn this into concrete reality we have identified six outcomes, which are:
- transport infrastructure
- public transport
- rural development
- job creation and
- the environment.
This financial year we will ensure that we reach finality on the following:
- Road infrastructure maintenance fund, which will deal with the maintenance backlog that currently faces the transport sector at provincial and municipal level
- The current state of our road infrastructure particularly in provinces and municipalities is reflective of lack of sustained investment in maintenance over many years. We will develop a ring-fencing mechanism, which will set aside funds earmarked for maintenance
- A passenger rail investment plan, which will ramp up investment in rail infrastructure and rolling stock.
We are also finalising details of the High Speed Rail between Durban and Johannesburg and we plan to take the matter to Cabinet this financial year. We will explore the same for Johannesburg and Cape Town. The Moloto Corridor is another project that we have identified as a priority and have registered the project as a Private Public Partnership (PPP). We are working with the PPP unit in treasury to finalise the project plans.
Furthermore, the new King Shaka international airport at La Mercy at cost of R6.7 billion will be launched in May 2010. We must say something about the future of the site of the Durban International Airport (DIA). A task team including the Department of Transport, the province of KwaZulu-Natal, eThekwini Municipality and Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) has compiled a report on the land use options of the DIA site. This report will be ready at the end of April this year. We will issue a request for an Expression of Interest document, which will take into consideration all the proposals brought forward by interested parties. The DIA will however be ready for use should the need arise during the World Cup.
Why public transport?
The public transport strategy, which Cabinet approved in March 2007, details the case for the implementation of a public transport system in South Africa. Speaker we cannot continue to build more roads and parking in cities as this simply encourages more traffic over the medium term. No city in the world not Shanghai, London, Paris or New York has solved urban mobility challenges through private car use.
Secondly, switching car users to public transport, walking and cycling will make a major contribution to our global responsibilities of protecting the environment. Fourthly, public transport provides a greater level of safety and stress-free travel than private transport. We believe that the transformation of public transport is incomplete without taxis, which move more than 60 percent of our daily passengers.
In this regard the National Joint Working Group (NJWG) on public transport which includes the leadership of the minibus taxi industry and government has the mandate to address all matters of concern to the taxi industry. We have no doubt that the NJWG will position the taxi industry to be a major player in transport services such as the Integrated Rapid Transit Networks (IRPTNs).
We agree with the 2020 vision of the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) that the industry must extend itself from one mode to being a multi-modal industry. Out of our engagement must emerge business entities, which can be contracted by government and the private sector.
SANTACO will be holding an elective conference at Sun City in May and our duty is to applaud the direction that we have taken together. This process will also create a predictable investment environment. As part of our Broad Based Economic Empowerment we will support initiatives of the taxi industry in developing their enterprises in the establishment of cooperatives, which will enable them to migrate from the informal nature into viable and bankable business entities. This will be a key focus area this financial year.
The department has finalised the draft implementation strategy and action plan to achieve accessible public transport system for people with disabilities, the elderly, pregnant women, parents with prams and children. These users include some 20 million life-cycle passengers and 2.4 million passengers with impairments who make up more than 40 percent of the country’s population. The country has also adopted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Optional Protocol, which requires us to ensure equal access to transportation.
Road safety is not what you do to a community. Road safety is what you do with a community. Speaker we pride ourselves as a nation build on ubuntu, the spirit of humanness and consideration for others. The task of ensuring safety on our roads is not just that of the taxis, government and business. The duty to ensure safety on our roads is everybody’s business.
In this regard we will by end of May 2010 have formed the Community Road Safety Councils (RSC) in all nine provinces. RSCs are critical in our drive for safer roads and involve the mobilisation of all stakeholders towards one vision and plan for the creation of safer roads and safer road user communities.
RSCs will help us carry out the education, enforcement part of our road safety strategy but also the engineering part which is about the creation of safer environments through road design which includes the introduction of traffic calming mechanisms such as speed humps.
Working with Ministers of Education Basic and Higher Education we will intensify road safety education in our schools. Every 16 year old can now have a learner driver’s licence. Every 18year old must now have a driver’s licence. In this regard we are pleased that by July this year we will have appointed a new service provider for the tamper proof card licences. The new licence specifications will introduce unquestionable integrity levels and a drivers’ card that is accepted internationally.
As part of ensuring safer roads we will implement the Administration and Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) this 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 2011/12 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.
Road Accident Fund
This House will be aware of the R500 million the Road Accident Fund (RAF) awarded in 2008 to a Swiss national who was injured in a motorcycle accident while on holiday in South Africa. Mr Joachim Schoss had originally claimed R4.5 billion from the RAF. While the final settlement is a lot of money, the RAF would have been bankrupted had the original claim of R4.5 billion been granted. It has now been confirmed by our courts that we were right in seeking to limit general damages claims to serious injuries and to cap high income claims to R160 000. These amendments were implemented through the RAF Amendment Act in October 2008. We are also certain that an RAF which operates on the basis of no fault is the best option for a country such as ours that has limited resources and a high number of beneficiaries.
Regional and continental road safety
We opened Easter with an accident in which 8 people were killed on
Moloto Road. We closed Easter with the passing of Deputy Minister of Health Dr Molefi Sefularo. We pay our greatest respect to Dr Sefularo and his family over his tragic passing. Speaker in July last year, together with other Transport Ministers from the African continent, we attended the international Africa Make Roads Safe Conference held in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. At that conference, we recommitted ourselves to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and declared that we wanted to improve road safety and halve the number of road fatalities by the year 2015. In November, we attended the first Global United Nations Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Moscow, Russia. From Dar-er-Salaam in July to Moscow in November road safety has now, for the first time ever and rightly so, been elevated to the urgent attention of the world.
The greatest tribute we can pay to the memory of Dr Sefularo, his family and the families of all those who have lost their loved ones on our roads is to do everything to end the carnage on our roads. Our road safety strategy and the public transport strategy are our pillars to implement actions that turn the tide in reducing road crashes.
Domestically, national and provincial road safety must become a key priority. We are going to target specific towns and municipalities and other hotspots where we can make the greatest impact to save lives. We can do something to stop this carnage!
On the aviation safety side the Airlift Strategy is to promote trade and tourism to and from the Republic to increase contribution to economic growth. It is also aimed at developing a framework for negotiation of bilateral air service agreements that are in the national interest.
The department will monitor compliance with the Cooperative Development of Operational Safety and Continuing Airworthiness Project (COSCAP). The COSCAP objectives include enhancing the safety of air transport operations between Southern African Development Community (SADC) states. To address security and safety in the maritime sector the department is developing a small vessel policy and will table the Maritime Security Bill to Parliament soon.
Following our budget vote speech of 3 July 2009, the department produced a draft five-year intervention plan to integrate rural communities into the mainstream economy. Our plan includes the provision of rural transport, access roads and branch lines. We will elaborate on this matter when we address the National Council of Province during our budget vote debate in that house.
Most transport modes are major contributors to climate change. This year we are expecting that contracted bus services will gradually move towards using fuel that is less damaging to the environment. We will do this without affecting the operations and will allow the industry time to graduate towards this climate friendly regime.
Our activities this year include quantifying the number of jobs created by the transport at municipal, provincial level and by the private sector. During construction of the Gauteng freeway improvement and the construction of transport infrastructure for the World Cup tens of thousands of jobs were created. The International Maritime Organisation has declared 2010 the Year of the Seafarer. The identified shortage of 200 000 seafarers in the world presents an opportunity for employment, travel and professional growth. We are developing a coastal shipping strategy for the SADC region under the African Maritime Charter.
I thank the Deputy Minister Mr. Jeremy Cronin for his ongoing partnership and comradeship. I thank the Director-General Mr. George Mahlalela and his team for their hard work and dedication. Furthermore I would like to thank all our agencies especially our Chairpersons and CEOs for the dedication to the critical role they play in the delivery of the World Cup and the implementation of our transport agenda.
I thank the Portfolio Committee and Chairperson Ms Ruth Bhengu for the constructive way in which they engage DoT to fine-tune our programmes. I hereby request the house to pass the Department of Transport's 2010/11 budget of R25 billion.