DA debates 2017/18 budget for Department of Roads and Transport

The following speeches were delivered today in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature by the DA’s Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport, Fred Nel MPL, and Spokesperson for Roads and Transport, Neil Campbell MPL during the debate on the Department of Roads and Transport’s 2017/18 budget.
Speech by
 Fred Nel MPL
“Transport budget lacks coordinated planning and strategic direction”

  • Roads and Transport is a key department that plays a significant role in directing spatial development and economic growth in the province. It is therefore disconcerting that its budget for the new financial year has been cut.
  • In the budget there is nothing that ties in with Gauteng’s spatial development and economic development objectives. It operates in isolation, when in fact it should be an integral part of the province’s economic development strategy.
  • There is also a lack of coordination between local and national government when it comes to transport planning in Gauteng.
  • The budget in front of us today reflects a lack of coordinated planning and strategic direction. It seems as though the budget was designed to give each “corridor” in the province a project so that everyone is kept happy.
  • This budget does not indicate how roads and transport infrastructure will be aligned with the planned megacities which seems to be central to the future spatial development strategy of the province.
  • Not only will the Department have almost five hundred million Rand less in its budget, but it will have to cope with a further billion Rand less compared to the adjustment budget of last year.
  • It is also disconcerting that the maintenance budget has been the greatest victim in all this, having to deal with huge maintenance pressures with four hundred million Rand less.
  • In a DA-run administration we would not cut the budget for such an important department which faces huge demands on its limited resources.
  • The current configuration of its budget does not recognise this role and therefore the DA cannot support the budget.

The full speech can be obtained here.
Speech by
Neil Campbell MPL
 “Transport budget ignores the plight of the forgotten poor commuters”

  • In my time here, tens of billions of rands have been spent by the Department but we still have a dysfunctional public transport system and rely mainly on notoriously dangerous private mini-bus taxis to move the public.
  • The rail system, our much vaunted public transport backbone, is comprised of two entities; the antiquated PRASA system – dirty, slow, uncomfortable, unpunctual, beset by corruption and very unreliable; and the upmarket Gautrain, which works well but is unaffordable to most commuters, has cost Gauteng billions of rands already in subsidies and will continue to do so for at least the remainder of the current contract and probably beyond.
  • The provincial bus system, which still operates largely on outdated apartheid contracts and routes, is comprised of bus fleets of questionable roadworthiness.
  • Our DLTCs are crowded, understaffed, ill equipped, beset by corruption at all levels and inadequate for demand. Eye test machines lie broken at all stations with only one or the exception, two machines in working order at the head of long queues.
  • I know that Dr Vadi is trying to do the right thing but he is often constrained by the National Department.
  • A DA government would synergise all spheres of government so that they work toward the same goals simultaneously – a public transport system that serves our people effectively.

 The full speech can be obtained here.