Honourable Chairperson Your Excellency,
Allow me to start my address by quoting timeless words of SEK Mqhayi, a renowned author and poet.
“Hoyina! Hoyina! Hoyina!
Godukani zizwe liphelil’ityala;
Godukani bantu iphelil’intw’ebithethwa...
Abakrokrayobon’ abazange baphela,Abakhalazayo basazalwa nanamhl’ oku.
Bathe nqo ngesisu, Bathi ga ngomsimelelo;Abazenzisi, badaliwe kuloo nto;”
Mqhayi teaches us a timeless lesson in humility when he talks of the respect that must be accorded the one chosen to lead society. The President's speech was not insurrectionary phrase-mongering. It was not claiming easy victories. It was about how to get out of the gutter.It was not about slogans and empty rhetoric.
We have a responsibility to govern, while the opposition has a simple responsibility to waffle. They continue to play the man and not the ball.
Leapfrogging South Africa’s economy will require us to invest in innovative infrastructure delivery models. Through the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure’s agency, Agrément South Africa, innovative locally formulated construction methods and materials are being tested and deployed.
Where it would have been more costly and taken us a long time to build roads and related infrastructure, it will be more cost effective; maximizing local materials, labour and know-how, especially in rural areas.
Transport is a critical part of the economic cluster, and its mandate located firmly within the ANC’s economic plan articulated in the 2019 Election Manifesto.
This mandate enjoins us to aggressively drive an expensive capital expansion programme in rail, aviation and road, to drive economic growth and job creation. Investment plans and interventions to realise efficiencies and competitiveness across the transport sector, with particular reference to our ports,will have to remain cognisant of developments and trends in market demand.
We are equally enjoined to optimize the developmental impact of investment programmes in aviation, rail and maritime, particularly through the maximization of local content with the explicit aim of creating jobs and strengthening local industry. Industrial linkages, labour absorption and increased black participation are key objectives to ensure that our interventions impact positively on the lives of our people.
Manufacturing continues to be a major sector of South Africa’s economy to drive growth, providing a significant base of employment opportunities.In driving the industrialisation programme, we have to transform the structure of South Africa’s manufacturing base through creating new levels of dynamism and competitiveness in the sector.
Mr President, the naysayers are quick to accuse government of being lackluster in implementing critical interventions. Not only is such criticism misplaced, but it is opportunistic in downplaying the disruptive impact of the pandemic on our forward momentum.
The Khawuleza ethos continues to underpin the service delivery programme of the 6th Administration.The advent of the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the urgency with which we must tackle these tasks, not only to give effect to the new economy, but to breathe life to the economic reconstruction and recovery.
This is the foundation on which our intervention the transport sector are grounded.In giving traction to the road to rail shift,we are putting in place long-term interventions that will introduce rail-reform, thereby making rail more effective, efficient, and competitive both in respect of freight and passenger transport.
This includes a rail policy and legislation which will support and facilitate investment in rail infrastructure, rail modernisation and technology,safety and economic regulation,andfacilitate the participation of the private sector in rail.
In the short to medium term,we will review and extend the dangerous goods list that identifies goods that should not be on road, for safety reasons.Similarly, high cubed heavy trucks will no longer get exemptions to be on the road, considering the impact and the damage they do to our roads.
The challenges we have to overcome are vast,but not insurmountable.We have to make strides in increasing competitiveness and access to transport modal networks through effective regulation. We have conceptualised Priorities that include imagining safety as an enabler of service delivery.
Our re-imagined safety is built on the foundation of a seamlessly integrated value chain. We are equally enjoined to finalise the funding and tariff structure on the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) by the end of this financial year. We cannot afford to continue to kick the can down the road on this matter.
In the last year we hosted a successful National Taxi Lekgotla which emerged with ground-breaking resolutions that will undoubtedly place the taxi industry on a new trajectory in many respects.
An integral part of these resolutions is the implementation of a re-imagined taxi recapitalisation programme, located within the broader ambit of an economic empowerment model, including increased local content of the vehicles in line with the South African automotive industry master plan which among other things seeks to increase local content to 60%.
It is through this re-imagined TRP programme that we will deliver the targets of scrapping 63,000 taxis by 2024 and implement a new public transport funding model that includes the taxi industry from the next financial year.
The expansion of the integrated public transport networks in 10 cities will be expedited within the context of the revised technical norms and standards for the bus rapid transit (BRT)system. National Treasury and the Department of Transport, through the Cities Support Programme, is working closely with cities to improve implementation capacity.
The Gibela factory in Ekurhuleni is our commuter rail rolling stock manufacturing flagship,which gives practical expression to positioning South Africa as a rail manufacturing hub as part of the North-South corridor projects.
The African Union’s decision for South Africa to become the hub for manufacturing and supplying rolling stock for the African continent, requires of us to rise to the occasion to deliver on this mandate.
Linked to this is the work we must undertake to modernise the commuter rail system in the country. We have allocated billions towards the PRASA Fleet Renewal Programme, being the anchor of the overall modernisation programme.
Over the last few years, the pace towards realising the modernisation programme has been painstakingly slow due to a number of challenges confronting PRASA. We have worked hard to turn the situation around and we are firmly on track towards rebuilding the critical capacity PRASA needs to move at a brisker pace.
The impact of theft, vandalism and destruction of critical rail infrastructure is staggering.This criminality has rendered many parts of the network inoperable.
While we gradually ramp up deployment of the new trains, we will equally sustain the current service and ensure that we are responsive to service failures of the aging fleet.
We expect to see the ramp up of production of the new trains,with a delivery schedule of 44 trains in 2021/22, 51 trains in 2022/23,and a maximum of 62 trains per annum thereafter.In the 2021/22 financial year, PRASA will be rolling out the new trains in KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Gauteng.
In the last year we took an unprecedented step to shut down the Central Line in Cape Town and the Mabopane Line in Tshwane.This deployment of the new trains will also include these corridors.
The oceans economy represents tremendous opportunities for innovation, growth and skills development. Ours is to give momentum to this programme and realise the massive potential of our maritime sector.
This can only be achieved by ensuring the implementation of all initiatives of the Marine Transport Manufacturing focus area of Operation Phakisa: Oceans Economy,in order to achieve the desired outcomes.
This includes collaboration with sister Ministries to ensure localisation of supply chains as well as creating a conducive tax regime to grow the shipregistry.The transformation of the maritime sector will be given impetus by the corporatisation of the Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA), enabling us to increase efficiency and competitiveness of our ports.
The finalisation of this process will also give full effect to the provisions of the National Ports Act of 2005.The 750000 km of roads in South Africa are the key economic arteries of the country and responsible for 87 % of all goods moved in the country annually and 93%% of all person trips.
As such the maintenance of this national asset is of utmost importance to ensure its optimum performance and continued contribution to the economy. The geographical distribution of the road network across all three spheres of government,along with the labour intensiveness of road maintenance enables it to generate much needed local job opportunities throughout South Africa.
In responding to the Presidential Job Stimulus and economic recovery initiative, SANRAL is implementing additional 14 projects under the Strategic Integrated Projects (SIP)21.
The competitiveness of our port is determined,amongst others,by its connectivity in global shipping.The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development conducts studies and annually publishes the Liner Shipping Connectivity Index (LSCI) which shows how well a country is connected to global shipping networks.
Durban ranks among the Top 5 African ports on the LSCI,occupying the third position after Tanger Medin Morocco and Port Saidin Egypt.
In line with the Ports Regulator’s tariff strategy,whichallowsfor adjustments to be made without unduly shocking the system, marine services and dry bulk cargo dues are highly subsidised and will generally see upward adjustment.
On the other hand, cargo dues for containers, have generally been high and will continue to see a downward adjustment,until they reflect the base tariffs that reflect the underlying cost of their infrastructure.
In 2017 the cargo dues for the automotive sector were equalised at the 60% discount rate,which was previously only enjoyed by large companies, thus allowing smaller vehicle manufacturers to enjoy lower transport costs in exporting their vehicles.
The establishment of the Transport Economic Regulator once the Economic Regulator of Transport Bill has been passed and brought into effect, will introduce the much needed regulatory oversight over non-regulated transport tariffs, bringing about better efficiencies in pricing and terminal operations.
This is especially critical given that our South African society spends an equivalent of five percent of the GDP more than it should on transport.
Madam Speaker,if we are to build a South Africa that the world will look to,as a beacon of hope and triumph of the human spirit, we must rededicate ourselves, across the political divide, to the promise Nelson Mandela made at his inauguration.
The freedom of our people means economic and social emancipation, free from the bondages of poverty, unemployment and inequality. On that historic day in 1994, Nelson Mandela said;
“Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the skunk of the world. Let freedom reign. The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement!”
I thank you.