12 July 2017 SADC / South Africa

Address By The Minister Of Transport, Mr Joe Maswanganyi, At The 36th Southern African Transport Conference (SATC)

Address By The Minister Of Transport, Mr Joe Maswanganyi, At The 36th Southern African Transport Conference (SATC)

Programme Director; Gauteng MEC Roads and Transport, Dr Ismail Vadi; SATC Board Chairman, Mr Kenny Kistan; Conference Chairman, Prof James Maina; Members of the SATC Board; Chair and Members of the SATC Organising Committee; Acting Director-General of the Department of Transport; Distinguished Guests; Ladies and Gentlemen

As the patron of the conference, it is with pleasure for me to address the 36th Annual Southern African Transport Conference 2017 (SATC), held under the theme “Southern African Solutions to Public Transport Challenges”.

The South African government declared 2017, to an illustrious son of the soil, President Oliver Reginald Tambo. Had he lived, he would have turned 100 years old this year. It is the year of unity in action by all South Africans as we move South Africa forward together.

This selfless patriot dedicated his adult life to a tireless pursuit of the liberation of our country and its people. He left a lasting legacy for all South Africans, and not only for his organisation, the ANC.

As the Government of South Africa, our mission remains the quest for a united, democratic, non-sexist, non-racial and prosperous South Africa.

Guided by the National Development Plan (NDP), we are building a South Africa that must be free from poverty, inequality and unemployment.

However, the economy is still not growing fast enough to create the jobs that we need. It is for this reason that as government we decided to focus on a few key areas packaged as the Nine-Point Plan to reignite growth so that the economy can create the much needed jobs.

Programme Director, government has taken a decision to fundamentally change the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership, management and control of the economy in favour of all South Africans, especially the poor, the majority of whom are African and female, as defined by the governing party, the ANC, which makes policy for the government.

Twenty-two years into our freedom and democracy, the ANC’s economic policy interventions have moved South Africa decisively towards a more inclusive society, as millions of people have been brought into the economy’s mainstream.

This process is ongoing and much further work is required to improve the lives of the millions who continue to live in poverty and despair.

The most effective way to overcome these challenges is to move the South African economy onto a path of inclusive growth and employment creation.

It is through changing the structure of the South African economy that inclusive growth will become possible. Inclusive growth cannot occur if those who are excluded are not given fair access to economic opportunities.

To this extent, an effective democratic developmental state and efficiently run public service and public companies are necessary instruments for widening the reach of radical economic transformation enabling the process to touch the lives of ordinary people.

Government focus areas include industrialisation, mining and beneficiation, agriculture and agro-processing, energy, small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), managing workplace conflict, attracting investments, growing the oceans economy and tourism.

We also added cross-cutting areas such as science and technology, water and sanitation Infrastructure, transport infrastructure and broadband roll-out.

As the Department, we have launched an ambitious infrastructure programme, which is gathering momentum every day.

It is through this programme that South Africa will be able to provide solutions to the challenges in the Southern African public transport.

Our large public investments in ports, railways and roads, will help alleviate supply bottlenecks in the economy, while social infrastructure will improve the living conditions of our people.

We continue to evaluate and monitor the mandates of State Owned assets and enterprises to ensure that their social and economic mandates, including issues such as procurement, equity and transformation remain aligned to our economic transformation programme.

This includes marshalling them to take account of recommendations of the Presidential Review Commission, with a view of transformation them to be the key instruments of the Developmental State.

Programme Director, all across South Africa, our cities are planning and investing in transport infrastructure as a catalyst to enable and promote urban regeneration and development.

In a post -1994 South Africa, cities and various role players have been faced with the mounting challenge of using transport systems to overcome the barriers of the apartheid spatial legacy, reconnecting isolated nodes and communities long disconnected from opportunity.

Not only this, but in the process enable urban regeneration which sustain the ongoing growth and development of the city for future generations.

These challenges are further compounded by the increasing rates of urbanisation being experienced, locally and globally.

By 2040 more than 50% of people on the African continent will live in cities, placing increasing pressures and demands on the resources that governments have to invest in transport.

Systems and infrastructure must therefore be designed more smartly, in full awareness of these challenges and the ever-changing context that cities will need to operate in.

As South Africa, we have centralised our transport planning through the National Transport Master Plan (NATMAP), vision 2050. The plan is an evolving, long term planning document that establishes the framework and key elements of our country’s transport sector, reflecting a clear vision based on our development principles.

We introduced the National Land Transport Amendment Bill which seeks to further the process of transformation and restructuring the national land transport system as advanced by the National Land Transport Act, (No. 5 of 2009).

We are finalising the much awaited Public Transport Subsidy Policy. The policy will focus more on subsidising the user than the operators, irrespective of the mode used. It is totally unacceptable that other modes, notably taxis are not included in the subsidy regime.

This is despite the result of the 2013 National Household Travel Survey that indicate that the taxis remain the most preferred mode of public transport by the majority of transport users, accounting for over 68% of the daily commuting public.

Our people cannot only be subjected to taxis as a business venture. We will broaden their economic emancipation in the construction industry, in the bus industry, in the rail sector, in the aviation as well as in the oceans economy.

However we also want to assist taxi operators to participate in the total value chain and wealth creation of the industry, by assisting them to obtain access to taxi Vehicle Finance from South Africa’s mainstream banks and the State Development Finance Institutions.

We have also finalised the process of reviewing the impact and performance of the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme (TRP).

To ensure continuous improvement of our integrated urban space and public transport programme, we developing the Integrated Public Transport Turnaround Plan. The plan proposes short, medium and long-term intervention measures that will help to enhance the prevailing public transport interventions.

Through the Public Transport Network Grant (PTNG), we continue to fund the infrastructure and operations of this integrated public transport networks in the thirteen (13) cities across South Africa and we continue to subsidise bus service through the Provincial Transport Operators Grant (PTOG).

The South African Government is firmly committed to making rail a more attractive and widely available mode of public passenger transport.

Our investment in rail transportation is the beginning of the rolling out of the Government’s Comprehensive Rail Programme over the next two decades.

This includes expanding our rail network through concession rail operations. We will rationalise our rail services in relation to metropolitan planning for optimal mode-for-route choice, integration with other transport modes, and empower small contractors.

Our Rolling Stock Fleet Renewal Programme 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.

This positions our Rolling Stock Fleet Renewal Programme as the catalyst for the transformation of our Metrorail services in particular and public transport as a whole. Eighteen (18) new trains, affectionately known as “the People’s Train”, have already 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 in South Africa by Gibela at a local factory located in Dunnottar Park, at Ekurhuleni. It is through this Rail Manufacturing Factory that South Africa has been mandated through the African Union to be the Rail Manufacturing Hub for the Continent.

Programme Director, our South Africa skies are safe. According to the audit by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), South Africa is positioned one (1) in Africa, and 33 globally. This means that the South Africa civil aviation sector is efficient, secure, economically sustainable, and environmentally responsible.

Our airports are also ranked amongst the ten (10) most punctual airports in the world. The list was revealed by the OAG Aviation Worldwide, a UK-based Agency which monitors on-time-performance (OTP) amongst airlines and airports globally.

We also enhance travel experience by improving and maintaining the national road network for the social development and economic growth of South Africa.

At 750 000 kilometres, the South African Road network is the tenth longest in the world. Of this, the national road network serves as the arteries for balanced economic growth across our country.

We continue to fund our national roads through national fiscus and we provide the Provincial Road Maintenance Grant (PRMG), popularly known as S’hamba Sonke Programme to all our provinces in order to keep our road network in a good condition.

Through the S’hamba Sonke programme, we continue to address the spatial inequalities, create job opportunities, improve rural transport and its infrastructure, and also open the rural economy to new investment and development while also providing the much needed maintenance to the road infrastructure.

Government has establishment of a Border Management Agency (BMA), of which the Department of Transport is part, to amongst others, integrated the operations or functions of all government departments and agencies that operate at South African Ports of Entry (PoEs).

The aim of this Agency is to consolidate the management of border security and control into a single agency that will have the overall mandate over the border environment. As the Department of Transport, this Agency will enable us to promote and ensure free flow of traffic through our borders as well as enhancing beneficial trade with our SADC neighbouring countries.

Having noted that South Africa’s foreign trade is largely dependent on maritime transport, the South African Government through the Nine Point Plan led by the South African President, Honourable Jacob Zuma, mandated the transport sector to be part of a process of quantifying the value of the South African oceans.

This process indicated that, the value of our oceans have a potential of contributing R54 billion to the South African GDP.

Programme Director, for us to achieve Southern African solutions to public transport challenges, we need a much more improved integration of the African economy. An overriding priority should be to work to promote African regional integration.

South Africa’s economic policy should be more integrated with the African region. Practically, this means taking steps to enlarge the free trade areas (FTA’s) existing in SADC and other regional economic communities into larger more expansive FTA’s.

The aim of this would be to promote more intra-African trade and support industrialisation through the creation of large regional markets.

Ladies and gentlemen, South Africa – through the Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative (PICI) - is inherently involved in the North-South Corridor, a multimodal and multidimensional infrastructure corridor that includes rail, road, border posts, bridges, ports, energy and other related infrastructure. The Corridor passes through twelve African countries.

Through this initiative, South Africa is leading the charge in infrastructure development across the continent and these projects form the nucleus of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).

It is therefore worth noting that NATMAP 2050 – as is the National Development Plan (NDP) 2030 which already includes key proposals in AU Agenda 2063 - is in line with the African Union’s (AU) vision for a better African continent by the year 2063.

The shift of power towards developing countries provides South Africa, the Region and the Continent an opportunity to maximize regional and international influence over the next 20 to 30 years, and we must grab this opportunity with both hands.

This opportunity calls on us not to loose grip of sustaining our relationship as South Africa with Brazil, Russia, India and China while promoting regional and global integration.

It is important to fully utilise structures such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) to engage business, labour and civil society on all transport sector issues.

Aligning the countries visions with the continents’ will ensure that our country is able to play a key role in some of the AU Agenda 2063 flagship projects, which include:

· The Integrated High Speed Train Network · The Great Inga Dam Project · The Single Aviation Market · Outer Space projects · The Pan-Africa E-Network; and · Integrating the Blue Economy and its opportunities for development.

Therefore, it is crucial that our engagement here today is multi-dimensional in approach and lateral in outlook, and that inputs take into cognisance all significant factors that will enable us to find the Southern African Solutions to Public Transport Challenges.

It remains my aspirations that this conference, as a forum of transport professionals will provide the dialogue on transport as a socio-economic development priority and will also serve as an information exchanging platform on the implementation of the transport policy and strategies for all aspects and modes of transportation in Southern Africa.

I wish you all a fruitful 36th Southern African Transport Conference 2017.

I thank you

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