Ndakuba andiyenzanga indima yam ukuba andinakuthetha ngomcimbi – ndiyazi ukuba sele kuthethiwe ngowo, kodwa ndifuna ukuwubeka ngesintu ukuze uvakale kubantu bethu – lo mcimbi wokuthuthwa kwabantwana bezikolo, ingakumbi abantwana basezifama nabasezilalini abahamba imigama emide. Siyayazi ukuba kukho umgaqo-nkqubo olawula olo thutho kodwa ndicinga ukuba loo mgaqo-nkqubo uyafuna ukuqwalaselwa kuba umntwana akanakho ukuhamba umgama ongangeekhilomitha ezintlanu ukuya nokubuya esikolweni yonke imihla, kuze kuthiwe uza kufumana inkxaso yezothutho xa umgama awuhambayo ungaphezulu kweekhilomitha ezintlanu. Noko, makhe ijongwe le nkqubo kuba kaloku sithetha ngoonomngqusho abancinane kwaye apha endleleni kukho imigewu nezinto ezenzekayo kule mihla ziyothusa zifune ukuba kubekho ukhuseleko. Ngako ke oko, lo mcimbi wokuthuthwa kwabantwana besikolo ndinqwenela ukuba uqwalaselwe.
Kanti ndinqwenela ukuba kuqwalaselwe nezithuthi ezi bathuthwa ngazo. Apha sithetha ngeeveni. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraphs follows.) [... to the issue of the budget that we are dealing with, let me express our gratitude. As the committee we had a meeting in which the department tabled the R48 billion budget that the Minister presented here. They gave us a breakdown, and also indicated where we have shortfalls.
We realised that 97% of the budget tabled here does not go to them, but to public enterprises, and that only 3% goes to them. That means they cannot get the officials they require to manage their budget and also cannot see to it that these officials do the right thing.
However, we are pleased that there are co-operatives that get funding from this budget, as the Minister has indicated. The second point that we have made as the committee is a desire for stability throughout the department. We commend the Minister for bringing along the department’s acting director-general. I wish that government officials could be deployed to fill vacant senior positions so that there could be stability. We know that previously things were not easy, but we commend Madam Minister of Transport for her leadership.
I would be failing in my duty if I did not touch on the issue – I know it has already been touched on, but I want to address it in the vernacular so that our people can understand me very well – of scholar transport, more especially with regard to the transportation of learners from farms and rural areas, who travel long distances to school. We know that there is a policy governing the transportation of scholars, but I think such a policy needs to be reviewed because scholars cannot be walking 5 km to and from school every day, and then it is said that the scholars will get subsidised transport if the distance to and from school is more than that. Indeed, this policy needs to be reviewed, because we are talking here about small children. So the issue of safety needs to be factored in because on the way to school they come across hooligans, and things that we see happening these days are scary. Therefore, I would like to have the issue of scholar transport reviewed.
Furthermore, I would also like to have their mode of transport scrutinised. Here we are talking about “bakkies”.]
A van, by law, is not meant to transport people.
Kodwa ngenxa yokuba ayikho enye indlela yezothutho ezilalini, bakhweliswa apha kwezi veni. Ezi bhaki ke maxa wambi zenza iingozi. Loo nto ithetha ukuba nalo uhlobo lwesithuthi malujongwe. Kamnandi sinayo imizimveliso eyenza izithuthi apha ekhaya eMzantsi Afrika. Masithethathethane nazo ukuze ziphucule le nkqubo yezothutho.
Kule Ndlu yoWiso-mthetho singabenzi bemithetho, kwaye siyilindele Mphathiswa le mithetho uthetha ngayo. Mayize ukuze izise inguqu nempucuko ebantwaneni bethu khon’ ukuze ngomso kungabikho mntu uza kukhala ngomthetho kuba engakwazi ukwenza izinto ezifanelekileyo.
Phaya ekomitini siwuvile umcimbi woololiwe. Hayi ingathi ukho kulo lonke. Sendifuna ukuba ndide ndifike kwelo lizwe ledinga ngonyaka wama-2015-16. Uthi phaya e-Motherwell uloliwe uza kungena. Ude uthi phaya kwincwadi yakho, uza kuhamba iikhilomitha ezi-7,86. Ndimlindile ke loo loliwe, kudala kuthethwa ngawo. Makakhawuleze, kwaye uza kuza nemisebenzi. Sikumamele, sikuve kakuhle kwaye siwubonile nasencwadini. Makakhawuleze ke kuba abantu bethu bawulindele ngamandla.
E-Motherwell, kukho laa mmandla kuthiwa ngu-NU 29 okhulayo, uya eDespatch kwaye iDespatch iza kudibana neTinarha. Ndiyayibona ke neminye kwamanye amaphondo. Khawulezisani lo loliwe ukuze abantu bethu bahambe.
Ndakuba andithethanga nto xa ndinokungatsho ukuba naphaya eKSD, eMthatha nithethile ngololiwe. Mphathiswa, sakhe sakhwela uloliwe phaya ekwakusenziwa umzekelo ngawo, kodwa endaweni yokuba ithathe iiyure ezintathu, hayi mntwana kabawo kwatshona ilanga. Ndasebezela uMphathiswa wephondo lam ngelithi ‘uyambona lo loliwe mfondini, ubani unokusuka akhwele nenqwelo yeedonki kodwa angaya kufika kuqala kunawo.’
Ngako oko, khawulezani naloo mizila kaloliwe noololiwe kuba phakathi kweMonti noMthatha baninzi abantu abahamba yonke imihla phaya kwaye abantu bethu bamisa ubhontsi. Abanye babo bayenzakala apha endleleni. Ndiyacela ke noko Baphathiswa bam ukuba sizikhawulezise ezi zinto. Ndiyazi ukuba nazi namaxesha ukuya phambili.
Mandiyithethe into yokuba oololiwe bangaphungula umthwalo kooduladula neengozi ezikhoyo. Kusasa nje, xa ndisendleleni eza apha emsebenzini, kukho iteksi ekubhubhe abantu abasixhenxe kuyo kwelinye lamaphondo, ndicinga ukuba yiMpumalanga okanye iLimpopo. Masothule umthwalo ezindleleni zooduladula uye koololiwe ukuze iindlela zethu zilunge.
Apha kweli phondo sithetha kulo, kuthiwa lukhona ucalucalulo kwicala leeteksi. Kukhethwa iqela elithile ngaphezu kwamanye. Ndiyanqumla ndixelisa umgqakhwe usidla ilifa labantu, ndithetha ukuthi masiwuqwalasele ke le mba weeteksi. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraphs follows.) [But because there is no alternative mode of transport in the rural areas, they are transported in “bakkies”. Sometimes these “bakkies” are involved in accidents. This means that even the mode of transport has to be reviewed. Fortunately we do have car manufacturers in South Africa. Let us talk to them so that they can improve the transport system.
As members of the National Council of Provinces we are legislators and, Minister, we are waiting for the kind of legislation you were talking about. Let the legislation come so that it can bring about change and improvement for our children, so that no one can blame the laws for his or her inability to do certain things.
In the committee we heard about the issue of trains. Man, it looks as if this issue affects the whole country. I am looking forward to the land of milk and honey in 2015-16. You said there will be trains in Motherwell. You even said in your letter that the railway line there will stretch 7,86 km. I can’t wait for that day, because this issue has been on everyone’s lips for a long time. I say the sooner, the better because the railway line will bring jobs. We hear you, and we get the point you made in your letter. Our people are looking forward to this railway line.
At Motherwell there is a fast-growing area known as NU 29. It is spreading towards Despatch, which in turn will combine with Uitenhage. I see that there are rail tracks in other provinces as well. Speed up the process around the railway line so that our people can travel by train.
I will not have said anything if I did not mention the fact that you also said something about a railway line around Mthatha in KSD. Minister, we once took a train which was on a trial journey there, but it instead of the promised three hours, the train took the whole day. I whispered into the MEC’s ear, that: “Man, you see this train, one can reach one’s destination before it does.”
Therefore, speed up the process around these railway lines because there are many people travelling between East London and Mthatha who have to hitch-hike. Some of them experience misfortune on their way. Please, hon Ministers, let us speed things up. I know that you work according to timeframes.
Let me also say that rail transport can ease the pressure on land transport and help reduce road accidents. Just this morning, on my way to work, I heard about an overturned taxi in one of the provinces which resulted in seven people losing their lives; I think it was Mpumalanga or Limpopo. Let us ease the pressure on the buses by providing rail travel as an alternative so as to make our roads safer.
In this province, there are allegations of discrimination in the taxi industry. One group is favoured over others. I am rounding off now. Let us take a good look at the issue of the taxi industry.]
There is recapitalisation, but it is a very slow process. It is not up to the level we expect it to be.
Sihlalo, siyikomiti sizimamele iziphene. Andisayi kuthetha ngazo zonke kuba sixoxe kakhulu kwikomiti nesebe kwaye uMphathiswa ebekhona wathetha kamnandi. Siyavuma ukuba ngale mali nisabele yona utshintsho, inguqu kunye nokuphuculwa kobomi babantu luza kuqhubeka. Enkosi. (Translation of isiXhosa paragraph follows.) [Chairperson, as the committee we heard about the shortcomings. I am not going to mention all of them because we discussed them at great length in the committee and the Minister said good things there. We say that with the budget that you have given us, there will be change, transformation and a better life for our people.]
Mr W F FABER: Hon Chair, hon Minister, members and guests, 20 years into South Africa’s democracy, someone still wakes up at 04:00 in the morning to connect on three to four modes of transport to travel from one end of the same city to another. This is an urban setting! Why are so many people still facing transport challenges at a time when so much money has already been spent on transport?
It is encouraging that the former Minister in the Presidency, when handing over the National Development Plan to Parliament, said:
Good quality public transport helps people search for work over a wider area; it helps them get to work faster and more cheaply, but it also assists in permitting people to live fuller lives, with more recreational and family time, and it reduces harmful environmental effects of traffic jams.
This means that delivery of affordable, reliable, safe and predictable transport plays a central role for South Africa to realise all its developmental, social and economic objectives. The NDP, which we as the DA support, goes into commendable detail on how this will be achieved.
South Africa ranks among the best when it comes to its world-class airports, thanks partly to the work done in preparation for the Soccer World Cup in 2010. As a global village player, this is great for business and tourism. It adds to some of the most sophisticated tourist attractions the country is world renowned for. It might even be a great marketing narrative for Brand South Africa to attract foreign investment through tourism.
So, for ordinary South Africans, the delays in improving the transport situation in a systematic, co-ordinated and integrated manner not only affect their lives negatively, but it also stifles their economic and social development, as less money is left in their salaries for other needs due to, among other costs, the ever-increasing transport fares.
Mr J P PARKIES: Sihlalo, ingaba ohloniphekileyo uFaber angawuthatha umbuzo kusini na? [Chairperson, I would like to know if hon Faber is prepared to take a question?]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Faber, are you prepared to take a question?
Mr W F FABER: Definitely not today. [Laughter.] He can write a letter to me and I will definitely answer him in writing about all the policies.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Please continue.
Mr W F FABER: Thank you.
Hon Minister, management of both government departments and the private sector are frustrated with employees always being late for work and having to wait for these workers to then work their normal hours, as they usually arrive late. How is this possible when we have Metrorail - or should I rather say “Metrofail”, as newly named by the public - as it is running such an horrendous service? [Laughter.] The extent of the bad services of “Metrofail” is such that commuters are forced to sometimes walk on the tracks, due to trains having broken down. Have any members here taken the train from Acacia Park? Have you seen the condition of these trains? Are they safe? Would you let your children travel on those trains? [Interjections.] I am happy that you are sitting down. That means you’re travelling first class. I am standing. I travel second class. [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Faber, please concentrate. Don’t respond to them.
Mr W F FABER: Yes, I am. I am.
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Don’t respond to them.
Mr W F FABER: I am integrating my speech. [Laughter.] Thank you, Chair.
Commuters are forced to stand on train stations for hours without any announcements as to why train services are late or cancelled; and there are signal issues.
Hon Minister, these are only a few of the challenges commuters face with “Metrofail”. Commuters are then further burdened with huge price increases. In 2014 alone, we have already seen two price increases, and this affects the poorest of the poor.
The City of Cape Town’s flagship Integrated Rapid Transit system, MyCiTi, also offers some useful experience in operating integrated, seamless, cost-effective transport. This is in line with the DA’s transport policy of introducing a single, multiuse ticket system applicable to all certified public transport users to make transport more accessible to everyone. I think, hon Minister, that the Cape Town city council should take over Metrorail and show how professional this system can actually operate if in the right hands. [Interjections.]
With the 2010 Soccer World Cup, we introduced the long-awaited Gautrain for fast, reliable public transport, but again, only a few people can really afford to use this service, as these train tickets are very pricey. I call it the flagship for the rich.
With the heavy load of traffic on our national roads, we really need to improve our railway infrastructure to save our roads from total destruction. This was already planned by government five years ago. When I was here, these plans were in place, but we still haven’t seen progress. [Interjections.] Yes, after five years, nothing has happened ... [Interjections.] ... but you were not here, and most probably you will not be here again.
We still don’t see progress on our national railway and transport systems. This is one of the biggest reasons for the huge numbers of road deaths we have to address each year. More than 14 000 people lose their lives on South Africa’s roads annually. Despite the target of a 30% reduction in road fatalities, which the Minister wants, only a 0,79% reduction was achieved.
Now for my not-such-a-good e-toll story to tell - I am not going to say what one of our members in the National Assembly said. I am telling my own story here for you, hon members. During the December 2013 holidays, I took on the N12 national road from Kimberley to Pretoria. Our Minister will know; she comes from that province. I was pleasantly surprised to see how the road had improved since I last undertook this journey a few years ago. Please, hon members, I want you to use this N12 route from Johannesburg to Cape Town through Kimberley. We need your money! Please come to Kimberley; I am promoting our Northern Cape. We need you. It’s a beautiful road! [Interjections.]
Unfortunately, when I got to the Johannesburg-Pretoria N1 highway, I met with the gates of these controversial e-toll gantries and their blue lights as I went through it. [Interjections.] Alright? [Interjections.] As a visitor to this busy Gauteng road network, I tried to observe a pay point for driving on this so-called holy road. There was an advertising board regarding e-tolls on the opposite side of the highway, displaying a number to be called in order to become e-toll registered. Upon arrival at my destination in Pretoria, I called the given number. This, then, is the beginning of my not-so-good e-toll story to tell.
I was greeted by a friendly voice recording, giving options to select from – hon members, you heard that – very nice options. I selected the option to register and pay. The friendly voice recording asked me to hold on for a consultant, which I did. This consultant was, unfortunately, not able to assist me with the payment, and later on asked me to hold on for the next consultant. At least 30 minutes went by without my getting the proper assistance. I wanted to pay because I’m a good citizen of this country. You know, we have to do this. This is what the people want.
Since I have the privilege of Internet access, I was able to end the call and search for a pay point on e-tolls. The closest e-toll office was 15 km away, east of Pretoria, at a mall. I got into my car and hurried down to the kiosk. I got there at 18:15 in the afternoon. Two ladies were on their way home, leaving just one gentleman sitting in the kiosk. [Interjections.] On the Internet, it said that the office hours were until 19:00, and I got there 45 minutes before closing. The gentleman said he could not help me ... [Interjections.] ... Would you please protect me, hon Chair? [Interjections.] [Laughter.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: You are protected. [Interjections.]
Mr W F FABER: Thank you, hon Chair. [Laughter.] This person told me that he could not accept my payment, hon Minister, because the two ladies had to catch a taxi to get home because otherwise it was too dangerous for them and there was no other mode of transport for them to get home, which I do understand.
Now, I tried everything to pay my e-toll, but I could not pay it. [Interjections.][Applause.] Hon Minister, I think I tried everything. I am a fortunate citizen, able to use resources. What happens when the less fortunate majority of visitors to Gauteng, holidaymakers, who are not familiar with this system, go through these gates? Will they be able to pay? No, there is no place to pay on the road.
The e-toll Act is unconstitutional and the regulations were issued illegally. Toll tariff regulations appeared not to be real regulations, but only a notice. The reason for this is that the offences require a toll to be payable at any toll plaza, which is defined as any tollgate, or as prescribed. As motorists, we are not allowed to offer payment at e-toll gates. It should have been prescribed.
This system was forced upon the people of Gauteng and South Africa without decent public consultation and participation. It was made clear, if you look at the turnaround in votes in the national elections in Gauteng – very clear – but you, the ANC members, would know that. [Interjections.] It is just a matter of time, and then the DA will govern Gauteng as well. [Interjections.] I ask you, Minister, to please advise. [Interjections.] Can I be protected again, please, hon Chair? [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Order, hon members! [Interjections.] Please continue, sir.
Mr W F FABER: Thank you, hon Chair. [Interjections.] I ask you, Minister, to please advise me how to drive from Pretoria to O R Tambo International Airport without making use of this e-toll road. When e-toll roads are implemented, there should be a safe, alternative route that can be used – and I put an emphasis on “safe”, as it was before extra lanes were put there. These e-toll roads are hurting our poorer people the most.
An HON MEMBER: Do you care?
Mr W F FABER: I definitely care! That is why I am here. I hope that you care. [Interjections.]
The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon Faber, please! [Laughter.]
Mr W F FABER: Where must they still dip into their pockets and their budgets to feed their families? [Interjections.]
According to statistics, there are more than 1 million e-toll nonpaying offenders. [Interjections.] It is for this reason that two magistrates were assigned by the National Prosecuting Authority, NPA, to handle these Sanral cases, even though South African courts are under tremendous pressure with thousands of unattended prosecutions every year.
By pure pressure from the public, political parties, groups and your own alliance partner, Cosatu, you, hon Minister, asked that the prosecution of nonpaying e-toll users be halted for now – and I am thankful for that. Had you not made the call to stop prosecuting, I would most probably have had to wait for about 275 years to plead my case before one of these two magistrates, as there are almost a million prosecutions. I hope to live that long, so as to see that day. I thank you very much. [Applause.] [Interjections.]
Ms W TIKANA (Eastern Cape): Hon Chair, hon Minister, hon Chairperson and hon members of the Select Committee on Transport, hon members of the House, distinguished guests and stakeholders, ladies and gentlemen, it is indeed a great honour and privilege for me to stand before you and participate in the debate of the national Department of Transport’s Budget Vote for the 2014-15 financial year.
The budget policy statement gave the clear direction that South Africa will take, in this financial year and during the fifth government’s term, in line with the 2014 ANC manifesto and the National Development Plan, NDP. Indeed, the people of the country can attest to the fact that South Africa is a much better place now than it was in 1994, with improved access to efficient, safe, reliable and affordable transport for all our people.
As we are celebrating 20 years of freedom and another decisive victory in the national and provincial elections, I would like to remind this House of the words used by the late former president of the country, Dr Nelson Mandela, during the Presidency’s Budget Vote debate in the NA on 18 August 1994, when he said:
At the end of the day, the yardstick that we shall all be judged by is one and one only, and that is, are we, through our endeavours here, creating the basis to better the lives of all South Africans? This is not because the people have some subjective expectations fanned during an election campaign. Neither is it because there is a magic wand that they see in the new government.
Indeed, as the ANC, we have delivered on Madiba’s promise of a better life for all of our people. As the province of the Eastern Cape, we can attest to some of the achievements of the ANC-led government, such as the following. The national government, through the Airports Company of South Africa, Acsa, has upgraded both the Port Elizabeth Airport and East London Airport. Through the support of the national Department of Transport, we are able to get the Mthatha Airport upgrade back on track through the construction of our new runway at the airport that can accommodate bigger aircrafts like the Boeing 747 at a cost of R360 million.
Currently, construction is underway for a new modern terminal building. The construction of the terminal building started on 14 January 2014 and its completion date is expected to be around March 2015. Already 166 local labourers have been employed in the project. The new terminal upgrade is expected to cost the department R212 million. The new terminal building will accommodate offices, a restaurant, a kiosk and shops, while opening up the departure and arrivals concourse to multiple users, which will be complemented in future by a hospitality complex that is projected to include a hotel, conferencing and retail complex appended to the new terminal building.
The new perimeter fence is being constructed to make the airport compliant with the civil aviation regulations. These developments, once completed, will enable a reclassification of the airport to a higher category through the assistance of the Eastern Cape Socio-economic Consultative Council, whilst in the process of completing the Mthatha Airport strategy to inform the development of the Mthatha Airport Development’s master plan. This strategy will catalyse the development of a new urban note in the Mthatha and invigorate the development of the airport as an anchor logistic hub in the east of the province.