More clarity is needed on taxi recapitalisation as a programme of Government, this is according to the Portfolio Committee on Transport.
Members of the Committee sought clarity on the programme and various other programmes when the Minister, Ms Dipuo Peters and Deputy Minister Ms Sindi Chikunga, led a g delegation from the Department on Tuesday.
Mr Patrick Sibande wanted to know if the taxi recapitalisation programme was still continuing.
“It this still happening as a programme, if so, how is it being measured and monitored?” he asked. This programme appears to be creating problems for the Department.
Mr Manny de Freitas concurred and said another issue that needs to be tackled collectively with the Department of Labour was the exploitation of taxi drivers by taxi owners, and the deficiencies that are there in relation to their training.
“Is the Department of Transport looking into this industry? Definitely there are gaps. Mistreatment and abuse of taxi drivers is worrying,” he said.
Mr Leonard Ramatlakane said as part of bringing improvements in the industry, there is a need to look at both the taxi recapitalisation and bus subsidy programmes.
“It would be useful if the Department handled the current bus subsidy programme well. Millions of South Africans use taxis to commute to and from work, the Department should look at how the taxi industry is benefiting from the subsidy,” he said.
He also sought clarity on the exact target for the year, especially given that the presentation by the officials appears to have conflicting figures.
It was clarified that a target of 7 500 minibus taxis was earmarked for scrapping, but in all likelihood the number would be around 5 000.
The Minister had earlier told the Committee the country needs to unlock the potential of the taxi industry, because this industry contributes more than R40 billion a year to the national economy. She said there is a need for an effective funding model for road infrastructure in the country.
Members voiced concerns about the expenditure of the budget and whether the Department has capacity to monitor the 96% of the budget it transferred to the provinces.
“Expenditure trends are worrying,” said Mr Sibande.
Mr De Freitas wanted to know if the Department was able to monitor whether the full value for the money was achieved.
Other issues that are of great concern to the Members are the use of consultants, people appointed in acting capacities (including the DGs), pending policies, cost to the public transport, and the maintenance of roads.
Mr Tilidzi Mulaudzi said another matter that needs urgent attention is the legislation on drinking.
“While the Department’s programme, Arrive Alive, says don’t drink and drive, legislation says one can drink but to a certain level. This is contradiction in terms and needs to be addressed if the country will ever overcome the carnage on the roads,” he said.
He joked that when people get tipsy they do not have the scales to measure their drunkenness levels.
Source : Parliament of South Africa