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SA: Ismail Vadi: Address by Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport, during the Gauteng Roads and Transport budget vote 2017/18, Gauteng Provincial Legislature, Johannesburg (29/06/2017)

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SA: Ismail Vadi: Address by Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport, during the Gauteng Roads and Transport budget vote 2017/18, Gauteng Provincial Legislature, Johannesburg (29/06/2017)

Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport Ismail Vadi
Photo by Duane
Gauteng MEC for Roads and Transport Ismail Vadi

29th June 2017

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Madam Speaker

It is my pleasure to present the Budget for Vote 9 – Roads and Transport for the current financial year.

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The allocated Budget to the Department is R6.8 billion. It is specifically earmarked for five key programmes, namely, Administration (R321 million); Transport Infrastructure (R1.9 billion); Transport Operations (R2.3 billion); Transport Regulation (R314 million) and Gautrain (R1.8 billion).

On the Revenue side, the department remains one of the key sources of funding for our Provincial Treasury. Over the past three years, it had collected motor vehicle and other licensing fees amounting to R9.6 billion. The projected revenue collection in the current financial year is R3.3 billion. These ballpark figures set out the anticipated revenue and expenditure of the Department for the 2017/18 financial year.

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In previous debates, the Honourable Dr Campbell, in particular, had asked: What progress had been made with the implementation of the 25-year Integrated Transport Master Plan? Today, we’d like to provide a comprehensive overview on this work and link it with the current budget allocation. We will demonstrate that this is the season of delivery!

Significant strides have been made in modernising and expanding Gauteng’s public transport system towards an integrated system that is safe, reliable, accessible and affordable. The movement of people in the Gauteng City-Region is an important indicator of peoples’ access to economic opportunities and their quality of life. It reflects the region’s urban structure, social and economic equality and prospects for sustainability.

In the past three years Gauteng has seen significant investment in roads and public transport infrastructure aimed at supporting the economy, integrating the fragmented urban form, improving the quality of transport and reducing commuting times. The massive rollout of modernised public transport infrastructure such as the Gautrain rapid rail service; the slow but progressive expansion of metropolitan BRT services and the development of the Aerotropolis are examples of mega-projects that are gradually transforming our urban landscape and creating jobs.

The OR Tambo Aerotropolis Master Plan has been approved by the Premier’s Co-ordinating Forum and the plan will shortly be tabled in the Ekurhuleni municipality for formal adoption. The Wonderboom Airport is now running three daily return flights to Cape Town and plans are being developed for the overhaul of operations at the airport. Lanseria Airport has upgraded its runway to accommodate large planes and a further R1.5 billion airport infrastructure investment is to be announced shortly. This is the season of delivery!

The Feasibility Report on the expansion of Gautrain is completed. It has been submitted to National Treasury for TA1 approval and the processes of acquiring land and aerial surveying has started. With passenger demand increasing on the current system servicing over 63 000 passengers a day, the GMA will procure additional rolling stock of 48 coaches.

The Request for Proposals has been issued and the final bids are expected to be submitted by August this year. The Gautrain airport platform has been expanded and the construction projects for additional parking bays at major stations are almost complete. This is the season of delivery.

In spite of the corporate governance challenges confronting PRASA, the Metrorail revitalisation programme in our province has seen the introduction of 18 of the new ‘’people’s” trains on the Pienaarspoort-Pretoria corridor. The Gibela Rail Manufacturing Plant will be ready later this year and the Gauteng Operational Nerve Centre was officially launched by the Minister of Transport in the 2015 October Transport Month. This is the season of delivery.

The Tambo-Springs Freight and Logistics Hub is to be launched in 2018. The road network analysis for this project and the realignment of the PWV15 has been finalised. Detailed designs for the K148 are almost complete. Good progress has been recorded on improving the road network linked to the City Deep with four of the seven road improvement projects being completed. This is the season of delivery!

The department maintains 5 637 kilometres of provincial roads. Its latest Pavement Network Report shows that 71 percent of the 4 249 kilometres of surfaced roads are in a very good, good or fair condition – an improvement on the previous report. The total asset value of the road network, including the bridges and major culverts, is R25.5 billion.

The Provincial Roads Maintenance Grant is being effectively used to keep our network in good shape. Twelve major road rehabilitation projects such as the N12; the N14 and the R82 from Eikenhof to Walkerville have been completed. Work on the remaining section of the N14 is underway. Twenty five service providers have been appointed for routine outsourced maintenance. As part of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Plan, nine roads were rehabilitated as alternative routes to e-tolls. This is the season of delivery!

We will further improve road infrastructure through the construction of new roads and improving the maintenance of existing roads. This will include the construction of the first new freeway in 40 years, the PWV15, to reduce congestion and support the Aerotropolis development. We will improve systems to ensure the speedy repair of potholes and the resurfacing of the road network. We will mobilise resources for road infrastructure in ways that will avoid the controversy linked to the e-tolls. There will be no tolls on our newly constructed freeways.

Progress has been made on the rollout of Bus Rapid Transit Systems across all three metropolitan municipalities with both Tshwane and Ekurhuleni scheduled to open new routes next month. The bridge across the M1 connecting Sandton and Alexandra will be opened in October (Transport Month) this year, while Phase 1C of Rea Vaya will be operational in October 2018. This is the season of delivery.

Other milestones are the construction or upgrading of the Temba, Kagiso, Mabopane and Kliptown Driving Licence Testing Centres (DLTCs). The construction of a new DLTC in Sebokeng is currently underway and will serve as a model for future DLTCs. The Germiston TOLAB was launched on 14 April 2016 and has increased frontline services to Transport Operators.

In the coming months, special attention will be paid to improving service delivery at Driving Licence Testing Centres, including reducing queuing times and the Department will enable online renewal of motor vehicle licenses. Last week the department suspended the operating notices of 24 public and private Vehicle Testing Stations due to non-compliance to regulations. In response to this, five stations have complied already with regulations and will be re-opened. This is the season of delivery.

A key deliverable of the ITMP25 is to develop a fully integrated Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) System. This includes enabling Europay, MasterCard and Visa card compliance on all transport modes, which should enable all modes of transport to offer a prepaid product that allows for interoperability and integration. This will be the first step towards a fully integrated AFC system. Significant technical work with municipalities has been done in this regard and the single e-ticket will be tested in October Transport Month this year. This is the season of delivery!

To build on our partnership with the taxi industry, the Department will continue to work with taxi operators to address issues relating to operating licenses. Importantly, the Department of Economic Development, led by MEC Maile, will shortly submit proposals on behalf of the provincial government in support of economic empowerment programmes for the taxi industry as a whole.

Having said that, I wish to announce that I intend to institute extraordinary measures in terms of section 91 of the National Land Transport Act to close all affected ranks and routes registered in the name of NANDUWE and WATA in Soweto. The route dispute and resulting violent conflicts between these two associations have been on-going and all efforts at resolving the said dispute, including the Section 79 ruling of the Provincial Regulatory Entity, has not helped to stabilise transport operations in the area.

This government cannot tolerate a situation where, it has been alleged, some members and hired hitmen of these two associations attack taxi drivers, commuters and taxi operators with impunity. Our communities are being intimidated by criminal thugs that have infiltrated the taxi industry. I have discussed this matter with my Cabinet colleague, MEC Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane, and we are clear that the law enforcement agencies will come

down hard on those who perpetrate acts of violence in the taxi industry.

Similarly, I have discussed the on-going violent conflicts between Uber/Taxify partners and metered taxi operators led by the so-called Gauteng Metered Taxi Concerned Operators with the Ministers of Police and Transport. The government as a whole is absolutely clear that unlawful and criminal acts of certain metered taxi operators will be dealt decisively. Members of the House would have noticed that last week’s unlawful protest of these metered taxis failed to materialise because the law enforcement agencies were on high alert and waiting to deal with this kind of criminality.

We are currently focussing on over 40 criminal cases relating to arson, assault, damage to property, intimidation and theft relating to the metered taxi industry. There should be no doubt in the minds of any person that this government will act against violence and criminality rooted in the taxi industry.

Future plans

Let me address the plans for the Department for the current financial year. An amount of R1.9 billion has been allocated to Transport Infrastructure. The Department will, among inter alia, focus on the upgrading and doubling of the Solomon Mahlangu Drive in Mamelodi; the upgrading of the K101 from Olifantsfontein to the Brakfontein Interchange on the N1, and the construction of Sebe Road in Evaton.

It is also partnering with private developers to develop the road networks linked to the Vaal River City Interchange (future K55); the Greengate Development (K31) along Beyers Naude Drive; upgrading the K73 between Woodmead Drive and Allandale Road; and the construction of a new link between Woodmead Drive (R55), Tembisa and Fourways. Finally, the Department, as part of its pro-active maintenance strategy of our road network, will later this year be launching an APP to report and monitor potholes along provincial roads.

Improving the service delivery to residents and citizens at the government frontline services at DLTCs is one of the key performance activities to be monitored by the Premier’s Deliverology Task Team. Recently, the Premier opened the Temba DLTC. His message as part of the provincial government’s anti-corruption campaign was very clear that we are committed to eradicate corruption and increase efficiencies at frontline services like DLTCs. As part of the Premier’s campaign to ensure that there is integrity in the DLTC environment, the Department has partnered with Business Against Crime and Corruption Watch to ensure that the our work processes prevent opportunities for fraud and corruption and that the public can report cases of alleged corruption to independent groups in civil society such as Corruption Watch.

Currently, the Department is managing subsidised bus contracts funded by the Public Transport Operations Grant. These contracts are due to expire in March 2018. In terms of the National Land Transport Act, the function of renewing these contracts either on a negotiated or tendered basis resides with the municipalities. I have written to the Mayors of Tshwane, Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni and Sedibeng requesting them to assume this contracting function, should they so desire.

All the affected municipalities have agreed to manage the subsidised bus contracts jointly with the Department in terms of Section 12 (1) of the Act. The Department has commissioned the CSIR to review the current bus routes and conduct field surveys in preparation for the new contracts, and this work will be concluded shortly. The completion of these regulatory exercises will enable the Department to proceed with outstanding tasks at hand in relation to the renewal of subsided bus contracts.

In this financial year the Department, through the Gautrain Management Agency, will finalise the policy and draft provincial legislation to establish the Gauteng Transport

Authority. An intensive process of consultation relating to this institutional initiative will begin in July this year so as to ensure that the process is transparent and inclusive, and enjoys the support of other spheres of government, state-owned entities and relevant stakeholders in the transport sector.

A Joint Declaration of Intent to cooperate in the areas of Green Logistics and Mobility was signed with the Vice-Minister Gunther Adler of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety. The signing of the Declaration was the culmination of a series of workshops with Department, Municipalities, freight and logistics companies, state-owned entities, and our German partners, namely, the German Ministry, Nexus and Gesi Institutes to develop Green Logistics Indicators for the Gauteng City Region to mitigate the environmental and congestion challenges emerging from the Freight sector.

In summary, the Green Logistics Indicator Project centres on five primary goals, namely: greener, faster, more cost effective, more equitable, and safer logistics for the Gauteng City Region. Further programmes on Green Logistics will be rolled out in partnership with municipalities in the course of the year.

G-FleeT is continuing to show positive results in improving its corporate governance. The entity is better managed, corporate governance is more effective and the disciplinary processes instituted against selected senior officials are currently underway. g-FleeT has managed to ensure that client departments pay for the services rendered to them on a timely basis. The huge outstanding balances in this regard has been substantially reduced.

I recently attended the UITP World Congress and Exhibition in Montreal held from 7-10 May 2017. The theme of the Congress spoke to a transport future that would be different.

Gauteng will continue to play a key role in developing and growing the UATP, a body representing African Transport Professionals and Practitioners. A new president of UATP has been elected at the Congress. He is Mr Meite Bouake of Cote D’Ivoire. He replaced Mr Jack van der Merwe, who is now the honorary president of both UITP and UATP.

Later this year, the Department will be represented at the International Roads Federation to be held in Delhi, India. What is clear from our participation in these international fora is that we will have to be more proactive in responding to the impact of disruptive transport-based technologies. We will have to factor in more creatively the Fourth Industrial Revolution to deliver on the imperatives of transformation, modernisation and reindustrialisation.

Finally, I would like to thank the senior management and entire staff headed by Mr Ronald Swartz, the Acting CEO of g-FleeT, Ms Noxolo Maninjwa, and the CEO of Gautrain, Mr Jack van der Merwe. In particular, I want to thank the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Transport, Mr Jacob Khawe and the Members of the Committee for their robust and thorough oversight and valuable recommendations to enhance transport services to citizens.

Lastly, our thanks to all the transport stakeholders in government and civil society for their support and co-operation in building a credible transport system in our province.

Whatever we accomplish is part of a collective effort and we sincerely express our appreciation to all those who contribute to make this possible.

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