Deputy Minister of Transport, Mme Sindisiwe Chikunga;
Members of the Executive Councils, MEC Dr Mothlabane, MEC Nkosi Malobane, MEC Vadi.
Members of the Provincial Legislatures;
Your Worship the Ekurhuleni Executive Mayor, Cllr Mzwandile Masina and Members of the Mayoral Committees;
Distinguished representatives of the Local sphere of government;
Acting Director-General of the Department of Transport; Mr Mathabatha Mokonyama;
Provincial Heads of the Departments of Transport and Roads;
Chairpersons of the State Owned Companies and Entities;
Members of the South African Police and Traffic Police;
Members of the media;
Ladies and gentlemen;
I am honoured to join all of you here at Sinaba Stadium in Daveyton, Ekurhuleni to officially launch the 2017 October Transport Month programme.
Daveyton, has been dubbed the “Chevrolet Township” of South Africa because there is no other place in South Africa which has the collection of all models of Chevrolet cars like here.
These cars are a major tourist attraction to this township. What is more interesting about these cars is that they serve as local taxis for the community and contribute to the economy of the township.
Ladies and gentlemen, transport networks are the arteries of the economy, moving people to the workplace and goods to the marketplace.
If the transport sector fails, the whole system collapses because goods and services cannot be moved and people cannot get to their places of work to generate economic activity that so vitally contributes to our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
As team transport, our fundamental task is to improve access to economic opportunities, social spaces and services by bridging geographic distances affordably, reliably and safely.
We do this cognisant of the fact that the radical transformation of the transport sector is envisaged in the National Development Plan (NDP) which we are obligated to implement.
Equally, the obligation to address the triple challenges of inequality, poverty and unemployment cannot be postponed any further, so we need to mobilise all transport modes to turn the tide.
Programme Director, this year we are indeed privileged to be hosting the October Transport month in a year that the government of South Africa declared it the “Year of Oliver Reginald Tambo. This is the year of unity in action by all South Africans as we move South Africa forward together”.
The theme for this year's Transport Month is “Together we move South Africa Forward.”
During the 2017 October Month programme, we will focus amongst others on programmes and projects that create jobs through infrastructure and direct transport service that we offer. We will be paying a special attention to major infrastructure projects that have direct linkages to Local Economic Development.
We will also be visiting projects that have improved the lives of the youth, women; and people living with disabilities through the length and breadth of our country. Joined by my counterparts in the Cabinet, MECs for Transport and Roads and Mayors, we will ensure that we showcase all our transport modes and related transport services and conduct outreach programmes to hear directly from our people.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The direct user benefits of transport includes reductions in travel times and fuel consumption, increased reliability, and increased safety in the movement of people and goods.
Businesses directly benefit when goods can be shipped faster, or at lower cost. Besides the inherent value of increased mobility, individuals can benefit from increased employment options as their range of feasible commuting is expanded.
As a department of transport, we have committed ourselves to radical socio-economic transformation in the transport sector. We are now moving beyond words to practical programmes.
We are using our strategic levers of legislation, regulations, licensing, budget and procurement to drive transformation.
Programme Director, the Department of Transport continues to focus on improving mobility and access to social and economic activities by maintaining the provincial and national road networks, upgrading and maintaining rail infrastructure, and improving public transport for rail and road commuters.
These activities contribute to our realisation of an efficient, competitive and responsive economic infrastructure network of the government’s 2014-2019 medium-term strategic framework.
Ladies and gentlemen, poor road conditions are a significant contributor to the costs of moving people and goods within South Africa and across the Southern African region, increasing travel time and vehicle operating costs.
South African National Roads Agency has received an additional R1.7 billion over the medium term in order to roll out its road infrastructure projects. The agency has also received an additional R3.7 billion for upgrading the R573 Moloto Road.
Investment in transport infrastructure is a critical factor in South Africa’s ability to transform the economic landscape, create significant new jobs and strengthen the delivery of basic services.
Programme Director, the R573 Moloto Development Corridor plays a significant role as a logistics spine to connect Mpumalanga and Limpopo with Gauteng and to transport people, minerals and agricultural produce into regional markets and our export harbours.
From an engineering point of view, the project involves upgrading the road to accommodate existing and future traffic, improved intersections, access roads and routine road maintenance such as pothole repairs, crack sealing, the cleaning of storm water culverts, guardrail repairs, and the updating of road signs and road markings.
For the short term solution, a budget of R3, 7 billion has been allocated to SANRAL for improvement measures largely of an engineering nature, combined with education to road users.
Road safety and a very high rate of accidents are, however, major concerns for communities living close to the road and the estimated 150 000 people who travel between work and home on a daily basis.
In this regard, our infrastructure interventions to improve the road environment is supported by intensive road safety education and awareness campaigns.
The rail option is a long term solution of addressing the transport challenges within Moloto Corridor, however the feasibility study is completed and we have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the People’s Republic of China to construct the rail network.
Our spending on Metrorail subsidise more than 484 million passenger trips per year in the period ahead, and spending on the mainline passenger service subsidises 2.3 million passengers.
Our Rolling Stock fleet Renewal Programme is underway, with significant progress already made. This is the beginning of the revival of passenger rail after 40 years of under investment which has resulted in old and unreliable trains and rail infrastructure.
To date, 20 new trains, affectionately known as the “Peoples train” have been delivered. The new trains are part of the first rollout which will be implemented over the next 20 years. The remaining 580 trains will be built here at Ekurhuleni, in Dunnotar Park.
Furthermore, we are facilitating the development of a Supplier Park that will support the manufacturing at the factory with local components and will help achieve localisation and transformation goals including the participation of Black Industrialists, SMMEs, Women, the Youth and People leaving with disabilities.
In this town of Daveyton and around Etwatwa, we will be implementing a project to expand the rail network. Feasibility studies have been concluded and the actual extension will commence in the 2018/19 financial year.
Ladies and gentlemen, our public transport network grant funds the infrastructure and operations of integrated public transport networks in 13 cities across South Africa.
The grant has increase at an average annual rate of 7.6 per cent, from R5.6 billion to support construction in the 13 cities and fund the indirect operating costs of services in Johannesburg, Tshwane, Cape Town and George.
The number of weekday passenger trips on these networks in these four cities is expected to increase this financial year from 163 280 to 308 681 in 2019/20.
Programme Director we also commemorate Transport Month with the knowledge that South Africa’s road death toll remains at an unacceptable high level.
I want to appeal to all of us to take into account that road crashes do not just happen, they happen because of certain contributory factors. These contributory factors are real circumstantial elements that are present at the time of the crash.
In the main, they include the general attitude of drivers, which includes driver behaviour, the level of driver self-discipline, self-regulation and law compliance.
All of these relate to human factors in the road traffic environment. It is estimated that more than 90% of road traffic crashes relates to the human element, all of which can be traced back to a violation of traffic rules.
Given the increase in the number of road crashes and fatalities on our road, we have taken a decision to the increase number of law enforcement officers on public roads. The Department is advocating that law enforcement be declared an essential service, to ensure availability of traffic officers on a 24/7 schedule on the country’s our roads.
In order to succeed with the reduction in the issuance of the fraudulent drivers licences, it is important that driving schools are regulated. A Task Team has been established to drive the process of incorporating this requirement in the road Traffic Act that will inform the development of the Regulations.
Ladies and gentlemen, through the Road Accident Fund, we continued to take services to the doorsteps of previously marginalised communities. This is done through the community outreach programme, ‘RAF on the Road’.
The programme is an exemplary service delivery project that reached 44 944 beneficiaries and led to the settlement of claims to the value of over R129 million. The programme has also contributed to RAF originating 23 839 direct claims by 28 February 2017.
The programme has also led to RAF having its presence in all the Provinces with 101 Hospital Service Centre, 5 Customer Service Centres and 2 RAF Mobi vans (servicing rural areas). Claimants can now access all RAF services as well as lodgement of claims directly.
Ladies and gentlemen, the aviation sector is also critical particularly in our ability to meet passenger demand and growth, which is expected to surge from the current 35 million to over 45 million passengers in the next 5 years.
Meeting this growth necessitates enormous investment in airport infrastructure and the finalisation of the National Airports Development Plan.
Our Airports are once again receiving recognition on the global stage. This year, the O.R. Tambo International Airport received the African Airport of the year award. This is the third year which sees our flagship airport receives this accolade.
On the world rankings the Cape Town International Airport moved from 22 to 19 of the World’s Top 100 Airports while King Shaka retained the 35th spot and O. R. Tambo International the 37th Best Airport in the World.
To ensure that we continue to celebrate the legacy of our leader, OR Tambo, during this October Month, we will be launching the OR Tambo Statue at the foyer of the OR Tambo International Airport and we will also brand the ATNS Tower in Johannesburg with the OR Portrait.
Programme Director, the implementation of various Operation Phakisa initiatives as well as outcomes of the broader Maritime Development Agenda continue to yield positive results. This includes the utilisation of maritime as an economic development instrument which can create jobs and maritime capacity development.
I’m pleased to indicate that South Africa has now registered additional two vessels in the SA Ship Register, bringing the total number of vessels to four (4). As Government, we have also launched the Comprehensive Maritime policy as a blueprint policy to manage all maritime related matters.
In conclusion, I wish to encourage all stakeholders and the public to participate in the activities of the October Transport Month.
We can only succeed in this venture if all of us work together; government across all tiers, business (big and small), civil society and all formations of our people. We require more dedication, hard work, cooperation and a continued willingness to learn and to sustain delivery.
I wish to thank the Department Transport, State entities, Provincial departments, as well as municipalities for making it possible for us to develop this programme.
We therefore officially declare the 2017 October Transport Month open