Deputy Minister of Transport, Honourable Sindisiwe Lydia Chikunga
Director General of the Department, Mr. Pule Selepe
Officials of the Department of Transport
Chairpersons and CEOs of the Transport Entities
Members of the Media
Ladies and Gentlemen
Twenty-one years ago we began a new journey to eradicate the oppressive legacy of colonialism and apartheid. It has been 21 years of freedom and democracy in which we have made significant steps towards achieving the vision of the Freedom Charter.
This has been a collective South African effort, personified in the greatness of the more than three thousand delegates who gathered at Kliptown – Soweto on 25 and 26 June 1955.
This being the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter, On behalf of the entire transport fraternity, we dedicate our budget vote speech of the 2015/16 financial year to this heroes and heroines of our struggle.
These delegates to the Congress of the People were drawn from all sectors of the society including, workers, peasants, intellectuals, women, youth and students of all races and colours.
Our Freedom was not for free. It was achieved through blood, sweat, sacrifice and tears. This is the sacrifice that the ANC-led government will always uphold, defend and guard jealously through its revolutionary and progressive policies to ensure a better life for all as enshrined in our Constitution.
The lives of our people have vastly improved and South Africa is a much better place than it was before 1994.
Over the past 20 year, the ANC government has worked together with all South Africans to do more to fight poverty and unemployment, and to reduce inequality.
More of our people have been lifted out of extreme poverty; we have created more jobs than before; expanded social grants, housing and basic services to our people; and further improved access to better education and health care.
Our journey continues. As sector transport, we have ensured that we implement radical socio-economic transformation to meaningfully address poverty, unemployment and inequality.
More than ever before, through our modes of transportation, we must work together to promote nation building, unity and social solidarity as we free the economy from the shackles of the past. We cannot rest until the economy is in the hands of the people who were historically excluded from participation.
Members of the media,
Transport as a mover of people, goods and services, it is the heartbeat of the economy and the fabric of our socio-economic development agenda.
Transport continues to be a powerful catalyst for South Africa’s economic connectivity and growth. Perhaps this is best described in the words of JF Kennedy who once said – “It is not our good economy that gave [the USA its] good roads, but it is our good roads that gave us our good economy.” Indeed the road to development begins with the developments of the roads.
South Africa’s National Development Plan Vision 2030 published in November 2011 by the National Planning Commission, details the need for a new approach to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality in South Africa.
The commitment we make as a Department is to implement the National Development Plan’s key priorities on the maintenance of road infrastructure, upgrading rail infrastructure and services, as well as building and operating our public transportation.
Today in the budget speech, i want to make it clear that my personal priority will be to advance the debate about a national system of infrastructure funding and pricing policy for our transport infrastructure and services. These are the ideas I want to explore further with all stakeholders as we work towards improving our national framework, which will be part of our overall transport solution.
Through this budget that we will be tabling today, we are investing fifty three point seven billion rands (R53.7bn) in the current year, which is a six percent (6%) increase in real terms compared to the 2014/15 financial year. The ANC led government has made an unprecedented commitment to high levels of funding over the next MTEF period with the budget expected to increase to R59,3 billion or (11%) by 2017/18.
The programmes of the Department of transport are mainly implemented through the thirteen (13) Transport Public entities, Provinces and Municipalities, hence transfers and subsidies is the largest expenditure item in this budget. At R47, 8 billion in 2014/15, transfers and subsidies constituted 96.7 per cent of the 2014/15 adjusted appropriation allocation. Therefore, the importance of the Department’s capacity to provide oversight over these entities cannot be over-emphasised.
The Department of Transport’s contribution to the NDP is underpinned by the National Transport Master Plan (NATMAP) 2050 vision. The NATMAP is therefore aimed at delivering a dynamic, long term and sustainable transportation system framework which is demand responsive and that provides a coordinated transport agenda for the whole Country.
In response to the NDP call, in 2014, the ANC government further made a commitment that new jobs will be created and skills developed by manufacturing and assembling, amongst others, locomotives and trains in South Africa. When tabling the Department’s budget speech today, I will be reporting on this important break-through.
Our determination to transport economic goods through rail will also ensure that we reduce the number of road crashes and fatalities on our roads. This move will equally unlock more economic potential and job creation in the rail sector. It will also help to decrease congestion caused by freight transporting dangerous and heavy goods. The durability of our roads will also be guaranteed.
The ANC led Government increased transport funding to record levels – with twenty five billion rands (25bn) rand over the last five years alone and five billion rand (R5bn) in the 2014/15 financial year. This is unprecedented, and through these high levels of funding, we have amongst others recorded serious breakthroughs.
Amongst other achievements, by 2016, we expect Gautrain and the South African National Taxi Council (SANTACO) to commence with the roll-out of the card system in their operations. We expect at least 5 million cards to be in use in the next 5 years.
Members of the media,
The taxi industry remains the most important part of our Public transport system and according to the 2013 National Household Survey conducted by Statistics South Africa; taxis are the preferred type of road transport. The taxis move sixty eight percent (68%) of the five point four million passengers (5.4 million) on a daily basis and contribute immensely to our economy. Serious interventions will be announced in the budget speech.
The Department will be reviewing the Taxi Recapitalisation model to improve its effectiveness and affordability.
Our investment in Public Transport is a delivery record we can build on. For the first time in a generation we have a real opportunity to deal with the challenges in public transport – not simply fixing the failures of the past.
The history of our road network was, until the early 90s, characterised by gradual decline and stagnation – that bedevilled road users and our economy.
Many of our roads were built many years ago. Hardly any significant new highways have been built since 1986 except for those that were constructed as part of the toll projects. And in that time, traffic on our roads has increased to levels that were simply never anticipated from 5 million in 1994 to over 11million in 2014.
Our key priority is to improve the state of the road network, reduce congestion and improve reliability. That is why the ANC Government has invested substantially on road the network. And we have also doubled the capital funding available to Provincial and Local governments so that they can tackle the maintenance backlog on provincial and local roads.
There are over 6 million more vehicles on our roads today than they were in 1994. And traffic looks set to continue growing – much of it on roads that are already operating at close to capacity during busy periods. We have an optimistic view that we need a more immediate and pragmatic focus. We will be targeting those parts of the network that are busiest, where even minor hold ups can turn into major delays, especially on urban roads and highways like the N3, which the busiest corridor in Africa.
Today, we will announce more funding to help SANRAL to work up their ideas to tackle these challenges. We do so mindful of the fact that the transport sector is facing significant funding needs that cannot be met from the fiscus alone. We need to develop a long term funding framework and strategy together with Private Sector Participation Framework for transport funding.
Government is investing one point one billion rands (R1.1bn) in the upgrade of the R573 Moloto Road. The process of proclaiming this road as a national road is currently underway with the provincial governments of Limpopo and Mpumalanga having transferred the part of the road to national and discussions with the Gauteng government are at the advanced stages.
Our overriding priority is to ensure that we should not only deliver greater road capacity – but also that we make the most of it to give greater choice and greater journey reliability for road users.
We also believe that the integrity of an efficient transport system relies on sufficient safety systems to protect our people and freight. Central to this is the enhanced role of the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC), our three hundred and sixty five (365) days road safety programme – which is our anchor project for the implementation of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety Campaign – has played its role to oversee Road Traffic Law Enforcement and improve road user behaviour. But more has to be done in this regard to change the behaviour of the road users.
Government directly extending care to victims of road carnages, we will be formally introducing the RABS Bill, which provides for the establishment of a new administrator, the Road Accident Benefit Scheme Administrator (RABSA), to replace the current Road Accident Fund (RAF).
The Bill has been published for public comment, and consultations sessions were held throughout the country with various stakeholders. The Bill proposes a comprehensive social security safety net scheme that is not fault-based.
It will allow expanded access too much needed benefits to road users. These includes the public and private transport passengers; widows, orphans and many other dependents, previously and currently excluded by virtue of fault.
Members of the media,
The implementation of the AARTO system Country-wide is one of our short term targets. The piloting of the system has been very successful in Gauteng and the system will be rolled out across all Provincial and Local authorities
The Cross-Border Road Transport Agency (CBRTA) is doing its part to balance the supply and demand for cross border road passenger transport. We are currently rolling out a Market Access Regulatory tool to determine the number of permits per route and per mode in granting cross border permits. This tool will soon be tested in most of our corridors. We believe this system will bring better regulation, management and efficiency of our cross-border activities.
We have established the National Transport Planning Forum last year – consisting of all spheres of government, agencies and our partners. The forum will now lead the key strategic planning across the transport sector.
The Provincial and Local spheres of government as well as our stakeholders will continue to advice the National sphere on transport priorities.
We will soon publish the National Land Transport Strategic Framework which will inform our integrated transport and land use planning countrywide.
We are also on the verge of completing our Regional Corridor Development Strategy to enhance our participation in the regional infrastructure development and investment to improve regional trade facilitation.
We are in the process of establishing the Single Transport Economic Regulator (STER) in order to address the regulatory shortcomings across the transport sector. This will lead to better pricing and more efficient transport infrastructure and services.
We are also reviewing the National Freight Logistics Strategy of 2005. This strategy will continue to help us to map-out corridors, determine regional integration, freight traffic and congestion. It will also assist us in the development of freight scenarios into the future.
We all recognise that it is effective transport planning that is the cornerstone of our objectives and government’s wider agenda. This will require a partnership between all spheres of government, NGOs, Faithbased Organisation, business and the general public.
Through all these interventions, the face of the South African transport sector will be transformed to the better. This will ensure that the ideals of the founding father of our nation, President Mandela, lives on and this will also be a guarantee that the lives of our people will change to the better.
The Freedom Charter declared that:
“We, the People of South Africa, declare for all our country and the world to know:
that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people;
that our people have been robbed of their birth right to land, liberty and peace by a form of government founded on injustice and inequality;
that our country will never be prosperous or free until all our people live in brotherhood, enjoying equal rights and opportunities;
that only a democratic state, based on the will of all the people, can secure to all their birth right without distinction of colour, race, sex or belief;
And therefore, we, the people of South Africa, black and white together equals, countrymen and brothers adopt this Freedom Charter;
And we pledge ourselves to strive together, sparing neither strength nor courage, until the democratic changes here set out have been won.”
I thank you
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SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS