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The Launch of the October Transport Month

 

03 October 2022

 

The October Transport Month is a period where we take stock of the path we have traversed as a sector and the contribution we have made towards the realisation of a better life for all.  We do this by showcasing tangible projects we have delivered ranging from infrastructure to integrated public transport networks and rail manufacturing, amongst others.

 

The 6th Administration has taken a deliberate view that our approach to service delivery must be underpinned by the principle of accelerated service delivery. 

 

This is being driven through the District Development Model (DDM) aimed at improving the coherence and impact of government service delivery with focus on 44 Districts and 8 Metros as development spaces that can be used as centres of service delivery and economic development, including job creation.

 

We are required to play our part in ensuring that we deliver the requisite infrastructure and services that enable economic growth and mobility that enables communities to access social infrastructure and amenities. 

 

This year marks the 17th iteration of the October Transport Month (OTM) Campaign, first endorsed by Cabinet in 2005.
 
This year, the OTM Campaign focuses on service delivery and infrastructure development including policy interventions to enable accelerated delivery of our mandate.   

 

Today, we are celebrating the re-election of South Africa onto the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation in Montreal, Canada.  ICAO is currently in session of its 41st Triennial Assembly.  This follows the election of our Director of Civil Aviation, Ms Poppy Khoza, as President of the Assembly.  This makes her the first ever female President of the ICAO Assembly in its history, leading an Assembly representing 193 member countries. 

 

This is a proud moment for South Africa and an affirmation by the aviation community of our immense contribution to international aviation.  Our country delegation, ably led by the Deputy Minister, Ms Sindisiwe Chikunga, continues to fly our flag high, and our lobbying efforts have resulted in our re-election onto the 36-member Council.  A seat we have retained since our first election in 2003.

 

This morning we witnessed the recovery of yet another commuter rail corridor between Pienaarspoort and Pretoria.  This is in line with our commitment to return to service this year 10 priority corridors.  PRASA is on track in rebuilding and recovering these commuter rail corridors, three of which are in Gauteng with an allocated budget of R2.7 billion.
 
In December 2019, PRASA in Gauteng had to suspend the majority of its electrified train services in the Gauteng North and South regions due to extensive theft and vandalism of the power supply system and other railway infrastructure assets.

This suspension affected in excess of two hundred thousand (200 000) commuters that rely on the commuter rail service for their livelihoods. 

In April 2021, a programme was designed to recover train services and train Corridor Recovery Programme between:

  • Pretoria to Pienaarspoort,
  • Pretoria to Kaalfontein,
  • Leralla to Johannesburg, and
  • Naledi to Johannesburg

 

A diesel service was introduced on the Pretoria to Pienaarspoort corridor before it was closed in May 2022 for major rehabilitation works, that included refurbishment of substations.

 

The service that we officially launched this morning resumed with the new trains on 26 September 2022, following approval by the Railway Safety Regulator.

 

Today we are here to celebrate this achievement with South Africans who have been severely impacted by the suspension of commuter rail services in this corridor.
 
Our work of recovering rail services is ongoing in all the rail corridors in the country. This includes lines such as the Naledi to Johannesburg.  Work is being accelerated to achieve the limited electrified train service in the area.

The eight (8) station which are being revamped in preparation for service resumption are New Canada; Mlamulankunzi, Orlando, Nancefield, Kliptown, Midway , Lenz and Tshiawelo.

 

Work is currently underway to recover rail services on the Cape Town Central line. This entails the relocation of the illegal settlements that are currently on the rail track and reserve.

 

We have recently signed a social compact with all the parties that are involved and affected by the situation on the central line, outlining the roles and responsibilities of each party.
 
As part of October Transport Month campaign, we will visit KwaZulu Natal to assess the progress on rehabilitating infrastructure that was destroyed by the floods. This will include rail and road infrastructure.

 

On 8 August 2022 we launched the national pothole campaign, Operation Vala Zonke in Emfuleni Local Municipality.  Operation Vala Zonke seeks to fix potholes across the country through a collaborative approach under the able leadership of SANRAL. 

 

We have committed to evaluate progress of the campaign and draw lessons for all roads authorities at the end of 6 months since its launch.  This evaluation will help us implement a long-term model that will enable municipalities and Provinces to develop adequate capacity that will deliver roads that are of the same standard as our national roads.

 

Operation Vala Zonke also aims to create opportunities for Small Medium and Micro Enterprises, with particular focus on women and youth.

 

On 12 to 14 October 2022, we will be hosting the International Maritime Organization (IMO) World Maritime Day Parallel Event. 
This event will see all 175 member countries of the IMO participating at the Parallel Event in our beautiful Port City of eThekwini.

The IMO 2022 theme for the event is “New Technologies for Greener Shipping". The Event will provide a platform for the international community to make concrete contribution and progress on collaboration geared at innovative solutions to address mitigation strategies to reduce the maritime transport carbon footprint.

 

Road safety remains a critical cornerstone in our efforts to arrest the carnage on our roads.  We continue to implement innovative measures that not only ensures that the law bites, but also inculcate responsible behaviour by all road users.

 

Our work with Provinces and Municipalities to improve the service offering at our Driving Licence Testing Centres (DLTCs) are beginning to bear fruit with motorists spending less time in queues. 


We have no doubt that services will improve exponentially with the combination of online services, deployment of smart enrolment technology and the new eye test arrangement.

We are also strengthening measures that will enable us to uproot corruption and impose heavy penalties on those who continue to flout the rules of the road.

 

A week ago, the National Assembly passed the  National Road Traffic Amendment Act, bringing this Bill a step closer to becoming law.

The strengthening of the regulatory framework through this amendment bill will provide us with more instruments to hold the motorists accountable on the road. 

 

Our work towards classifying traffic policing as a 24-hour, 7-day job is progressing in earnest with the majority of Provinces having taken the required decision.

 

We all witnessed the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic, both on the economy and the lives of ordinary citizens.

As a Department we conceptualised the Taxi Relief Fund to mitigate the impact on the taxi industry. The roll out of the programme continues and the Department is working hard to ensure that all qualifying beneficiaries receive the funding.

 

Work is currently underway in Rustenburg, Mangaung and eThekwini to launch their respective Bus Rapid Transit System services. We currently have seven (7) cities operating the services.  These are: Johannesburg, George, Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Bay and Polokwane. Bus Rapid Transit Systems have made a huge difference in the daily transportation of our commuting public.

 

City of Johannesburg’s Rea Vaya Transports 45 000 commuters and more per day, Areyeng of Tshwane ferries 13 700 , My City of Cape Town transports 40 000.

 

We are currently in the process of developing an integrated public transport ticketing solution that will integrate all the modes of public transport and enhance the efficiencies for users of our public transport.

 

In the last week the National Assembly also passed the Economic Regulation of Transport Bill.  Through this legislation, we intend to consolidate, rationalize and where necessary redesign economic regulation in the transport sector into a single multi-modal regulator. 

Until now, we have had pockets of economic regulation, fragmented along modal lines.  It is for this reason that economic functions of some of our entities will be transferred to the new Regulator.  

 

The implementation of this economic regulatory model will enable us to achieve competitiveness of the sector across modes.  It is equally an important enabler of private sector participation and third-party access in our rail and maritime sectors.

 

In conclusion, the October Transport Month enables us to take stock of our progress, evaluate the challenges.  It equally presents us with an opportunity to refine our implementation plans towards the realization of the targets we have committed to in our Performance Agreement with the President.

 

 



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