Budget debate of the Department of Transport: South Africa’s inadequate public transport system needs attention

Adv Anton Alberts

A holistic transport plan is ultimately needed to meet the needs of South Africa as public transport is still inadequate and is being implemented without proper planning, Adv. Anton Alberts, the FF Plus’ parliamentary spokesperson on Transport says.

According to Adv. Alberts, a good example of the skewed planning is the minister’s reply to a question put by Adv. Alberts about the sensibility of the e-toll system in which the minister indicated that e-tolls would force motorists to make use of public transport.

“In reaction to this one should ask: What public transport? Public transport for poor communities is unsafe and nearly non-existing for the middle class and those in rural areas. A national transport regulator is needed to regulate all fees to the advantage of all users of the services.

“Part of the challenges facing the department is the financing of transport projects, of which some could cause great harm to government. Some of these problems arose due to a lack of sensible planning and public consultation.

“The e-tolls are a good example of this. The sinfully expensive system has already been completed, but has no legitimacy in the eyes of the public. Actions of SANRAL in this regard are making road users only more hostile and it could worsen if people are prosecuted.

“In addition it should be asked why SANRAL has not acted against construction companies who were found to be involved in collusion to inflate the construction costs of the system. SANRAL could regain a significant amount of its expenses but rather chooses to go after the public for funds.

“The second problem arose as a result of mismanagement of Transnet’s pension funds which has now resulted in a claim of close to R85 billion against Transnet and the government. Should the claim succeed, Transnet will not be able to complete any of its planned expansion programmes. This court case starts next Monday.

“State institutions is furthermore not even capable of properly enforcing their own laws and the FF Plus would like to ask the minister to first get the basics right before ambitious projects are started, such as the e-tolls and AARTO, which to date has only enriched cadres and corrupt officials,” Adv. Alberts says.


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