Cape Town: Transport Minister Dipuo Peters has announced that a new transport sector watchdog will be established to address all regulatory challenges faced by the sector.
Briefing the media ahead of delivering her department’s budget vote in Parliament on Tuesday, the Minister also said more funding will be given to the South African National Roads Agency Limited (Sanral) to help it work on ideas to address traffic congestion challenges on the roads.
“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,” she said.
This comes as South Africa continues to seek means to create funding models to maintain and build more roads to meet the increasing vehicle population on the country’s roads.
While there are currently regulatory bodies in the transport sector, the new body will be a singular body that will look at all aspects of the industry to ensure that there is a regulatory certainty that will also contribute to the lowering of the cost to do business in South Africa.
Government aims to address this problem by moving freight from road to rail and realising the National Transport Master Plan 2050 vision.
The Master Plan is aimed at delivering a dynamic, long-term and sustainable transportation system framework, which is demand responsive and provides a coordinated transport agenda for the whole country, the Minister said.
More funding for SANRAL
Minister Peters said due to the ageing road network infrastructure, more investment is needed in the roads network with no highways built since 1986, with the exception of those that were built as part of toll projects.
The Minister said traffic on the roads has more than doubled from five million cars in 1994 to 11 million in 2014.
“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 is 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,” Minister Peters said.
Proposal to replace RAF with new body
The Minister said government is directly extending care to victims of road carnage, and that a Road Accident Benefit Scheme Bill will be formally introduced to pave the way for the establishment of a new administrator to replace the Roads Accident Fund (RAF).
She said the bill, which has been published for public comment, proposes a comprehensive social security safety net scheme that is not fault-based.
“It will allow expanded access to much needed benefits to road users including public and private transport passengers, widows, orphans and many other dependents previously and currently excluded by virtue of fault,” she said.
SOURCE: SOUTH AFRICAN OFFICIAL NEWS