Lim­popo trans­port depart­ment out­lines R2 bil­lion bud­get

African Times - - Pol­i­tics - RUS­SEL MOLEFE

THE Lim­popo Depart­ment of Trans­port has out­lined plans for its R2,106 bil­lion bud­get for the year, with the taxi in­dus­try get­ting spe­cial at­ten­tion.

MEC Makoma Makhu­ru­petje said her depart­ment would speeding up the process of is­su­ing op­er­at­ing li­censes to the taxi in­dus­try.

“Apart from ser­vic­ing other trans­port ser­vices, the depart­ment is ser­vic­ing 127 taxi as­so­ci­a­tions with 7 789 reg­is­tered mem­bers op­er­at­ing 10 690 taxi ve­hi­cles op­er­at­ing li­censes,” she said.

In an ef­fort to as­sist the taxi in­dus­try, the depart­ment has put aside R5 Mil­lion for the Lim­popo Taxi Coun­cil in an ef­fort to as­sist the in­dus­try with the ad­min­is­tra­tion and trans­for­ma­tion.”

She said the depart­ment re­mained com­mit­ted to work­ing with the in­dus­try and fol­low­ing con­sul­ta­tion with SAN­TACO and other stake­hold­ers, the is­sue of high im­pound fees was raised.

“I’m busy fi­nal­is­ing a plan of con­sul­ta­tions with the aim of re­view­ing the im­pound fees. We also hope to con­vene a taxi ind­aba dur­ing Oc­to­ber trans­port month as part of the mea­sures to strengthen this sec­tor but also for the pur­pose of looking into a va­ri­ety of chal­lenges,” she said.

Some of the iden­ti­fied chal­lenges are over route dis­putes, taxi vi­o­lence, the is­sue of hitch­hik­ing, op­er­at­ing per­mits and ac­ces­si­bil­ity of de­part­men­tal ser­vice points.

Makhu­ru­petje also spoke about plans to im­prove taxi rank in­fra­struc­ture across the prov­ince. She said the Tho­hoyan­dou In­ter­modal Fa­cil­ity which was built at R260 mil­lion will be com­pleted in the first quar­ter of the 2018/19 fi­nan­cial year.

She fur­ther un­veiled plans to sta­bilise the Gate­way Air­port Au­thor­ity Lim­ited.

“GAAL over the past few years had four boards of di­rec­tors and four dif­fer­ent CEOs at dif­fer­ent times. The depart­ment with the as­sis­tance of Pro­vin­cial Trea­sury has now taken charge of the sit­u­a­tion and is well on the way of sta­bil­is­ing GAAL. A new board of di­rec­tors has been ap­pointed for three years,” Makhu­ru­petje said.

She said the aim was to de­velop GAAL into a self -sus­tain­ing en­tity that con­trib­utes to eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment of the prov­ince. Gov­ern­ment will in­ject R53 Mil­lion into the en­tity.

“Dur­ing the fi­nan­cial year, we will be trans­fer­ring an amount of R43.4 Mil­lion to the en­tity in or­der for it to ful­fil its man­date. In the main, these funds are al­lo­cated to man­age and main­tain the op­er­a­tions of Polok­wane In­ter­na­tional Air­port. R3 Mil­lion is bud­geted for main­te­nance of run­ways, taxi­ways, land­ing lights and flood lights,” she said.

The depart­ment will also em­bark on skills de­vel­op­ment with 250 un­em­ployed youth ex­pected to be ab­sorbed into Traf­fic Law En­force­ment. The au­to­mo­tive re­pairs and main­te­nance will ab­sorb 12 young peo­ple.

Makhu­ru­petje an­nounced that the bud­get would in­crease over the next three years. For 2019/20, the bud­get will be R2,199 bil­lion go­ing up to R2,327 in 2020/21. The bulk of the funds will go to trans­port op­er­a­tions.

MEC Makoma Makhu­ru­petje. Pic­ture: Le­bo­gang Mak­wela / Vis­ual Buzz SA

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