In an effort to decisively deal with the public transport challenges in the province, the Eastern Cape Department of Transport has made a historic decision to allocate 51% of its budget for the 2013/14 financial year to fund public transport services.
This was announced by the Transport, Roads and Public Works MEC Thandiswa Marawu during the presentation of her policy speech at the Provincial Legislature in Bhisho this afternoon.
“The Department has taken a decision to continue to implement austerity measures in order to have further cost reductions and forced savings across all programmes to fund service delivery, especially public transport services,” she explained.
The provision of subsidised bus passenger services through the services of Algoa Bus Company, Mayibuye Transport Corporation and Africa’s Best 350 Ltd continued to be the focus of the department. This translates (as part of the transfer payments) to 27% (R408million from the R1.532 billion) of the budget for the 2013/14 financial year.
For the ending financial year, the department received a conditional grant allocation of R183.9 million from the Public Transport Operations Grant for Algoa Bus Company under the Division of Revenue Act. Algoa Bus Company’s services will continue during the 2013/14 financial year with an allocation of R196 million, while the Nelson Mandela Bay Integrated Public Transport System (NMB IPTS) is being developed.
The process of improving the scholar transport services in line with the National Land Transport Act, Act No. 5 of 2009 is underway. An amount of R336 million has been allocated for the new financial year to benefit 54 471 learners. This translates to 22% of the total budget.
The department has reprioritised funds from sub-programme Transport Systems, which has been surrendered as 1% of the baseline of the 2013/14 financial year.
This is where the Kei Rail project is housed and the funds have been re-allocated to Mayibuye Transport Corporation, AB350 and GG vehicles. Mayibuye has received R129 728 000 for the 2013/14 financial year and that includes total grants amounting to R102 088 888.
The department stopped the Kei Rail passenger services last year pending the outcomes of the review process that assesses the most viable options for providing a sustainable service between passenger and freight on the Kei Rail line.
“We will simultaneously build on previous initiatives to develop a provincial freight logistics strategy that responds to the National Freight Strategy and help us to convey freight on the most appropriate transport mode,” said Marawu.