_: This event forms part of the activities of the October Transport Month, as we highlight the progress we are making to provide safe and reliable transport for all. Providing safe and reliable public transport involves various interventions including:
1. Effective regulation of the public transport sector
2. Integrated approach to public transport planning, ensuring that the different modes of public transport complement each other
3. Equitable distribution of subsidies to bus and mini-bus taxi operators
4. Effective enforcement of compliance with the law
5. Improving the current infrastructure in the cities, while rolling out new infrastructure in under-developed urban and rural areas.
These interventions are not divisible, they are complimentary. Government’s programmes should therefore be foregrounded around these policy outputs and outcomes.
Notwithstanding the progress we are making to promote access to safe, reliable and quality transport, a lot still need to be done. A significant number of South Africans are still without access to adequate transport infrastructure and services. The affected people are found in both urban and rural areas, and generally depend on the public transport infrastructure.
The imbalance in the distribution of infrastructure within and between communities has negative consequences as it denies many South Africa their right to participate in the economy. It also makes it difficult for citizens to access social services such as health, leading to social inequalities.
The social and economic challenges posed by the inadequate infrastructure are further exacerbated by the lack of integration between the different modes of public transport. It is not always easy for passengers to move from one mode of public transport to another.
Through collaboration within government, the situation is changing, especially in the cities, with the introduction of the Bus Rapid Transport (BRTs) system. About twelve (12) cities will launch their BRTs following the success of Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Government’s commitment to create an integrated public transport is also outlined in the National Development Plan, recently published by the National Planning Commission.
Government’s interventions to improve these conditions include the rehabilitation of the railway infrastructure, the acquisition of new trains, review of current subsidies to benefit different modes of transport, implementation of the rapid bus services in the cities, maintenance of roads and effective law enforcement. A significant amount of financial resources have been set aside to accelerate the infrastructure programme.
Collaboration between the three spheres of government remains critical for us to succeed. The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa set out the requirements for the three tiers of government to work together in the interest of citizens. It is for this reason that all of us are here today to witness the launch of the Integrated Transport Authority of the City of Cape Town.
The Transport Authority is created to facilitate an integrated approach to public transport in the city, consistent with the National Land Transport Act. In terms of the Act, the national Department of Transport acceded to the request by the City of Cape Town to transfer certain functions that can be delegated to the City. The delegated functions include administering public transport subsidies. We have done this cognizant of the strategic role that local government plays in the provision of services to the people.
The success of the new institution will also depend on the role of stakeholders, especially the bus and taxi operators. Every effort should be made to engage those who will be affected by the work of the Authority, to ensure buy in.
As national government, we look forward to the Transport Authority commencing its work without delay. We will continue to work together with the City of Cape Town and the provincial government to ensure that the Transport Authority is successful.