Public transport is being neglected

Adv Anton Alberts

It is the duty of government and the department of Transport to see to it that the country’s labour force is transported cheaply, safely and timeously to and from their place of work, in the interest of South Africa’s economy, Adv. Anton Alberts, the FF Plus’ parliamentary spokesperson on Transport said.

He said that although the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had advised the ANC government to invest more infrastructure for public transport, it is clear from this department’s budget that this is not being done.

According to Adv. Alberts, a real problem is that the government is increasingly planning to make use of the ‘User-Pays’ principle, in other words, more toll roads to address the problem of a shortage of roads.

“The minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters, should by now know what the public thinks of toll roads. If she continues with these plans, she should budget for conflict in future,” Adv. Alberts says.

Adv. Alberts says there are ways in which the department could save money which could rather be used to pay for the Gauteng e-toll debt and which could be used for the building of roads in the short and long term:

  • The first of this is to do away with Aarto, the failed system for the adjudication of traffic offenses as it did not at all contribute to safer roads which was its primary objective. It has degenerated in a coercive tool to collect illegal fines and should be scrapped immediately;
  • Secondly the Competition Commission has already granted Sanral permission to claim back exorbitant payments made to construction companies which had been involved in the building of the Gauteng toll road. This must be done. Sanral is currently strangely silent about the issue.

“The proposed Single Transport Economy Regulator is something tow which consumers and economic role-players can look forward to, if it is established quickly and it acts firmly and independently to regulate transport costs fairly. At present consumers are being exploited and it has a negative impact on the economy.

“It would also reward the minister to convince the president to appoint a commission of inquiry into the maladministration of the Road Accident Fund. The fund is not failing because the system was poorly created, but due to poor management.

“It is a false argument to say that the system will improve by replacing it with the proposed Road Accident Benefit Scheme also known as RABS. This new system is materially lacking because it denies claimants of independent legal advice. It also restricts the funds needed to take care of claimants for the rest of their lives, where needed.

“To focus on rehabilitation while the public health system is extremely poor, is extremely naïve. The RABS system is actually nothing other than a form of fraud where a better dispensation is being promised, just to steal money from the public through savings measures which is detrimental to claimants and the public.

“It should be kept in mind that the funds of the Road Accident Fund belongs to the public and not the government. The money should be used to assist claimants to live a meaningful life. Anything else is un-constitutional,” Adv. Alberts said.


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