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Keynote Address at the Launch of the 2010 October Transport Month by Mr. Sibusiso Ndebele, MP Minister of Transport Bridge City, Durban

27 September 2010

Programme Director
KZN Transport MEC Mr Willies Mchunu
Gauteng Transport MEC Mr Bheki Nkosi
Head of Transport Department for KZN Mr Chris Hlabisa
Ethekwini City Manager Dr Sutcliffe
Senior Government Officials
Distinguished Guests
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen

“TRANSPORT: MOVING SOUTH AFRICA TO DO MORE TOGETHER”

As we launch October Transport Month today we say no more shall our people die in so many accidents. We say no more shall our people die deaths which can be avoided. Therefore

  • As a country we have signed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals of cutting crash related deaths by 50% in 2014.
  • In October we launch the National Rolling Enforcement Plan - From October 01 to October 31 we shall have stopped 1 million vehicles. We will stop a million vehicles every month thereafter. It is in line with the priorities of the Moscow Declaration and the United Nations “MAKE ROAD SAFE CAMPAIGN”
  • As part of OTM we are moving to implement a programme to Skill and Reskill our drivers. From October 01 2010 to October 2011, we will train 1million new drivers. Working together with the Minister of Basic Education we want every 17-year old to complete high school armed with a matric certificate on one hand and a learner or driver’s licence on the other. Working together with the Minister of Higher Education we want every graduate to emerge with a tertiary certificate on one hand and a driver’s licence on the other. We have the technology for it in the latest simulators. We have the funding for it. We are ready to introduce a new crop of driver, a new skill and a new driving culture onto our roads.
  • Together with the taxi industry we will in October announce a Training Academy for the Taxi industry. The Taxi academy will teach business management and advance driving skills to the taxi industry.
  • Our plan is clear- we want mass participation of women in transport as owners and operators. We also want our youth to become the basis of a future in which drunken driving without a proper licence is shunned in the same manner as smoking in public places.
  • In October we launch a massive public education campaign to educate drivers about the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO). AARTO, which was passed in 1998, has been around for over 12years. Pilot programmes have been completed in Johannesburg and Pretoria. Ignorance of the law was never an excuse. We are however going for massive education anyway to ensure that there is general understanding of AARTO among all drivers. By the time the demerit system starts, it will only be the unwilling who will be victims. Others will however be safer drivers.
  • We have also started rolling out COMMUNITY ROAD SAFETY COUNCILS in all nine provinces. These councils are the basis on which we will implement our commitments to road safety – by making road safety every body’s business. You are your neighbour’s keeper. Let them stand up those who say “Let them die”. Let them stand up those who say the carnage must continue. Let them stand up!
  • POST - ACCIDENT SUPPORT THROUGH the Road Accident Fund (RAF). While we reduce accidents, we shall make life easier for the unfortunate victims of crashes. Services are best delivered at points closest to those who use them. We are therefore rolling our RAF centres which are based in health centres around the country which will bring access to post-accident assistance closer to them.
  • In order to improve service delivery standards we will conduct spot visit to all service centres to find out which is the best licensing centre, which is the best traffic officer.
  • We will also be rooting out corruption in the issuing of licences or traffic fines. A drunk and unlicensed driver more than anything else leads to people being killed on our roads. There is no basis for believing that an unlicensed or drunk driver is not going to cause an accident.
  • Furthermore the Cross Border Road Agency is going to ensure that contraband material and human trafficking and poaching should not be conducted across our borders. The CBRTA is ready.

For the first time this year our department has acquired enforcement capacity commanded at national level. Up to now this was left to municipalities and provinces. Up to now other than the Sea Rescue, the Minister did not have any power to enforce at national level. Together with the CBRTA which already has law enforcement and the RTMC we will send a clear message that the tide has turned, the time for games is over.

TRANSPORT IN OUR LIVES

Whether one is talking about the Exodus, the Great Flood of Noah or the Great Trek transport has always been part of human endeavour in the past and will be in the present and the future. It was the refusal of Rosa Parks to move from her seat which gave birth to the Civil Rights movement in the United States. It was Ghandi being thrown out of train that spawned a world wide peaceful resistance to the injustice of apartheid and racial discrimination. Whether miners descend to the bowels of the earth in Chile or humankind takes off to the moon at Cape Canaveral in the US, it is transport that moves people and goods from point A to B. Transport can fulfill the dreams of young lovers and family by bringing them together across distances.

It is clear that the history of transport cannot be divorced from the history of mankind. If so, why is it that in South Africa we appear to be concerned more about studying criminology and less about studying Transport?

We are likely to know the dictionary definition of a Tsotsi - defined as a black youth who is prone to hooligan behaviour then we are to know what carbotage means - i.e. the act of picking goods from one country and leaving them in a third country along the sea.

For this reason we will soon be announcing a study which will look at among other things the contribution of transport in the transformation of South Africa, provinces and communities. That research will show the place of transport in the social psyche your folklore, your poems, folklore about love, death and resistance and the role it can play in the deracialisation of South Africa. Apartheid was spatial. It created artificial distance and based it on race. Our role is to bridge that gap.

In his book India 2020, Abdul Kalam, the celebrated scientist and former president of India writes thus about the importance of transport in developing economies. This applies to South Africa and I quote:

“A simple truth is that a modern developed economy cannot be built on a large number of people living just above the poverty line, producing agricultural products alone and cut off from the rest of the manufacturing and business centres. This means that every production centre in the country should have speedy economic activity with other parts of the country”,

RAIL AND THE 2010 FIFA WORLD

Three months ago, through our transport infrastructure we gave the world the clearest signal to date about where we want to be as a country. We stated, not only through words, but mostly through deeds, that we want to move very swiftly from being a developing country to being a development one.

Importantly, we also said that transport would play a leading role in driving and sustaining that developmental growth path into the future. We entertained 3.1 million spectators who attended 64 matches of the FIFA World Cup in 2010. This attendance was the third highest behind the United States in 1994 and Germany in 2006. The transport family ensured that our rail, road and aviation infrastructure and services played a significant role in the transportation of domestic and visiting fans.

This we did on time, on schedule, efficiently and in safety. By all accounts we hosted a world-class event, in a world-class country and in a continent that has the potential to become world-class. Nothing is impossible if we all work together hence the theme for this year’s Transport Month- “Transport - Moving South Africa to do more together”. From defeating apartheid to hosting the World Cup we are certain that we can attain anything we set our minds to.

For the World Cup the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) upgraded existing stations and built new ones while expanding key rail infrastructure.

This was aimed at increasing mobility and accessibility for commuters during the tournament and beyond. As a legacy of the World Cup many train stations in the vicinity of most stadiums such as the newly-constructed Moses Mabhida Station here in Durban are now approximately a five-minute walk from our stations. Through Metrorail we transported a total of 1,467 million passengers and ran a total of 2, 256 trains.

GAUTRAIN SUCCESS

It is also with great pleasure to note that Gautrain on Wednesday celebrated carrying one million passengers since opening phase one of Africa’s first rapid rail project. This milestone coincided almost exactly with 100 days of operation. The next big milestone in the life of the R25bn project will be the opening of phase two which is scheduled for the latter half of 2011. The "North-South" line, which comprises the remaining two thirds of the project, will link the Johannesburg CBD to Pretoria and Hatfield via Rosebank, Sandton, Midrand and Centurion.

Preceding the opening of Phase Two will be the finalisation of construction works, the testing and commissioning of all systems and sub-systems and the trial running of both the trains and buses.

We take this opportunity to congratulate Ms Ulindi Krull from Reiger Park in Boksburg a regular commuter from Rhodesfield to Marlboro stations who was the millionth passenger on Gautrain.

During the World Cup Gautrain was transporting about 80 000 passengers per week. Post-World Cup, the train service has stabilised at about 50 000 passengers a week, with bus passengers at about 4 000 passengers weekly and showing steady growth. The introduction of the Gautrain has clearly transformed passenger rail travelling in the Gauteng province.

We identified public transport as a key legacy project for the World Cup and beyond. This development includes customer-focused and world-class airports, upgraded train stations and refurbished coaches to luxury buses, taxis and integrated rapid public transport networks such as the bus rapid transit system.

SOUTH AFRICA AND RAIL TRANSPORT

Ladies and Gentlemen today we launch the 2010 Transport Month (OTM) here at Bridge City in KwaZulu-Natal. OTM showcases Transport activities in all nine provinces and that carries out by the Agencies of DOT. We are launching OTM here in order to emphasize the importance of rail as a key part of our transport plans into the future. Rail remains a pillar of our strategy to move towards safer roads and to reduce accidents on our roads. Rail is a key part of our strategy to reduce transport related emissions into the environment and to reduce our country’s carbon footprint.

Rail is a key part of preparing our country for the inevitable reduction and end of fossil fuels which the world is also preparing for. Rail is also a key part of our plans to move both our freight and passengers from road to rail. The strategy to move to rail does not mean that we are working towards a county without any roads or cars on our roads.

The strategy is about ensuring that the most appropriate form of vehicles sits on the right mode. Our future will therefore see more taxis and buses on our roads carrying passengers and fewer privately owned vehicles. Together with rail, our public transport system which includes taxis and buses must ready itself to carry more and more people and not fewer.

For South Africa and Africa to grow and take their rightful places in global trade and movement, it is important that our rail transport remains effective and efficient. It has to play a much bigger role in a global competitive environment to provide our companies and people a competitive advantage in the global markets. For this sustained growth that we aspire to achieve, rail transport must play a sustainable economic role. We are committed to a greater integration and interconnectivity between rail operators and other systems especially taxis.

This is in order to enable the joint delivery of a cost-effective, provincially, regionally integrated, seamless and predictable South Africa and Africa rail transport service.

Our aim is to make travelling an exercise in convenience and safety thus removing the need for use of private motor vehicles. In time, our public transportation will become one seamless system, with the commuter at its centre.

THE BRIDGE CITY RAIL PROJECT

This R5 billion Bridge City initiative is another development on the road to delivering a true and better life for the people of eThekwini and the rest of the country. After the completion of this centre townships such as Phoenix, Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu will enjoy the benefits of a better public transport system, increased access to economic opportunities and job creation.

As a Transport family, we had to ensure that we would complement this excellent initiative by establishing a grand public transport system in and around the Bridge City Precinct especially as part of our National Passenger Rail Plan. We are therefore delighted to announce that:

  • Through PRASA, the Transport family has invested more than R350 million on the underground Bridge City rail station
  • The rail extension that will serve 40 000 commuters per day and handle 14 000 passengers in peak hours
  • A further amount of more than R360 million was invested on the new roads, road upgrades and public amenities within and surrounding the Bridge City precinct to further augment the R750 million shopping mall within this precinct.
  • This project is playing a major role as a catalyst for economic growth and integration of local communities and has created more than 60 000 job opportunities

Once complete this station will help deliver many social, economic and environmental benefits to all who use it both locally and nationally. At the same time our passenger rail initiative will reduce journey times and give greater journey certainty to all those travelling to the Bridge City. It will also add capacity to cater for future growth in the Northern corridor. Significant public transport interventions and road infrastructure improvements have been identified to cater for the trips generated and attracted by the development of surrounding areas.

These include:

  • Provision of a new rail link with a terminal station at Bridge City
  • Provision of a bus/taxi intermodal facility at the station
  • New half-diamond interchange on the M25
  • The uBhejane Road extension

As the Department of Transport, we therefore want to ensure that we create a public transport network that will promote regional and national economic competitiveness.

PRASA- BRIDGE CITY NETWORK PLANNING

The PRASA has been associated with the Bridge City Development from the onset and has as part of the process provided the necessary rail planning. However, the provision of a future rail corridor to serve the “Greater Inanda” area was identified long before the Bridge City Development proposal came to the fore. The desirability and need for the provision of the future Inanda Rail Corridor was in fact acknowledged by all major stakeholders in the process since the early 1980’s.

SOUTH AFRICA’S RAIL NETWORK

Our country’s passenger rail system requires that we balance investment between refurbishing existing stock, acquisition of new stock and the construction of new corridors. Our department is working towards a comprehensive Rail Investment Programme for South Africa. We are adopting an approach which suggests a sequenced delivery process for the rail sector over a 20-year period.

Through South Africa’s National Transport Master Plan (NATMAP), we have identified three high-speed rail projects

  • Johannesburg to Durban
  • Johannesburg to Cape Town and
  • Johannesburg to Musina

Furthermore PRASA has identified the need for the re-capitalization of their fleet over the next 18 years and there is a R98 billion financial allocation for new rolling stock. Jointly with the provincial governments of Gauteng and Mpumalanga, we have identified the need for a commuter rail corridor between Tshwane and Moloto.

GLOBAL RAIL INVESTMENTS

We are developing rail as part of a world wide rail renaissance that is taking place globally. This renaissance is necessitated by to rapid urban migration, economic development of the Asian tigers and the emergence of mega-cities all over the world. In geographically spread countries with long-distance commuting on a daily basis, rail presents the best option.

Having noticed that rail transport is the backbone of our economic development, we have invested over 40billion in passenger rail infrastructure and services in South Africa. This involved R25billion in the Gautrain Rapid Rail Project and almost R1.3 billion on rehabilitating PRASA coaches and signaling systems. The challenge we are facing is that most of our commuter rail systems have reached the end of their lifespan. We believe that a carefully thought out and ambitious programme of introducing new rail stock and technology in our system is an absolute necessity and will protect our historical investment in the sector.

There are major socio-economic spin-offs from a comprehensive rail investment programme.

sustained programme over a 20-year period will create certainty and will enable input manufacturers to re-tool their factories and therefore create sustained local industrial activities. We are also developing a rail development plan template which has four outcomes that will assist us to plan and move forward.

These outcomes are:

  • Urban Transit Systems
  • Long Distance Transit Systems
  • Key strategic freight corridors and
  • Rural Access and Mobility

Ladies and Gentlemen part of our rail plan is to identify critical inputs through a cost-benefit analysis based on our competitive advantage and through the creation of economies of scale. This approach is important for the creation of sustainable jobs and growth of our economy

HIGH SPEED RAIL IN SOUTH AFRICA

The Moloto Long-distance commuter service is presently operated by a contracted bus service, with an additional few commercial bus and taxi services. As we look at various options within transport modes, we are convinced that a rail service is the best option for Moloto Corridor. Our plan is to conduct the necessary feasibility studies for the high speed rail projects.

For the Durban to Johannesburg Rail Project by next month we will commence with the dual process of concept development and testing the market for a period of six months. We anticipate that concept development and testing the market will take six months. The Durban-Gauteng corridor is the busiest corridor in the Southern Hemisphere both in terms of value and tonnage. It also forms the backbone of South Africa’s freight transportation network.

It is also vital in facilitating economic growth for the country, the region and the continent. It is therefore against this background that the 2050 Vision for the Durban-Gauteng corridor has been institutionalized. It was adopted on 15 September 2010 to be politically championed by the Minister of Transport in conjunction with decision-making Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is chaired by the Director-General of Transport.

The Steering Committee has various work streams which are Planning and Infrastructure, Communication, Funding and Policy, Legislation, Regulation and Compliance.

Its main objectives are:

  • To streamline freight logistics within the corridor, related corridors and sub-corridors
  • To lower logistics cost within the corridor, related corridors and sub-corridors
  • To Improve efficiencies within the corridor, related corridors and sub-corridors
  • Provision of capacity ahead of demand
  • Short, medium and long term economic objectives

The Steering Committee constituted the following key stakeholders:

  • Department of Transport (Lead Department)
  • Department of Public Enterprises
  • Department of Trade and Industry
  • National Treasury
  • Provincial Premier’s Offices (DGs)
    • KwaZulu-Natal
    • Free State
    • Gauteng
  • Provincial Departments of Transport of the above-mentioned provinces
  • Municipalities/Metros of the above-mentioned provinces
  • SANRAL
  • Airports Company South Africa(ACSA)
  • RTMC
  • Transnet, and
  • Secretariat

This process will focus on the following key nodal points within the corridor:

  • Port of Durban
  • Cato Ridge
  • Harrismith and
  • City Deep(JOHANNESBURG)

The above-mentioned nodal points will be linked to the following key developmental points:

  • Road and Rail freight corridors
  • Logistics Hubs and Terminals, and
  • Land-use plans

A process is underway for the establishment of a dedicated Project Management Unit to ensure the implementation of the various work stream programmes and projects. This process should be viewed as a pilot project because of its capacity and integral role it plays in the Region, Continent and Internationally.

In conclusion Ladies and Gentlemen, South Africa’s future lies in being able to move people and goods faster, efficiently and in a cost-effective manner. We can only succeed in this venture if all of us work together- government across all tiers, business big and small, civil society and all formations of our people. We require more dedication, hard work, cooperation and a continued willingness to learn and to sustain delivery. In time our country will be able to move from being a developing country to being called, rightly so, a developed country. We therefore declare the 2010 October Transport Month officially open.

THANK YOU

 

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