Enhancing Gauteng’s public transport sector
After months of intense discussion with many parties interested and affected by the proposed amendments to the Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) Bill [G001-2017], the bill was passed by the Gautrain Provincial Legislature at a special sitting in the house on October 19, 2017.
The approved GMA Amendment Bill covers the objectives of the GMA, substitutes certain definitions, and extends the scope of projects that the agency may undertake and the functions of the GMA in order to improve Gauteng’s overall public transport sector offering.
It also provides for limitation of liability, consequential amendments and for matters connected with these amendments. Since inception the GMA has already, over and above its legislative mandate, performed other tasks related to improvements in rail and public transport in general.
“The benefits are multifold. The first major benefit is implementing legislation towards meeting Gauteng province’s obligation in terms of safe, affordable and reliable mobility to the citizens of Gauteng,” said the Honourable Jacob Khawe, chairperson of the Gauteng Roads and Transport Portfolio Committee, who presented the amendments at the House Sitting.
“We have the opportunity to pass laws and this one has been passed as we seek to build the province as an economic hub, creating an opportunity for the people of old townships to also be part of the mainstream of Gauteng province.
“What would happen as a consequence would be having an agency of men and women who would advance on transport knowledge.”
Khawe stressed that these men and women must be empowered to become transport specialists and experts who enhance existing and build new, invaluable infrastructure.
“Another benefit we can see as we look into 2018 is the introduction of new Gautrain locomotives and carriages. I say this because this the [GMA] board has already issued the call for integrated partnerships with entities that demonstrate the capability and capacity to build trains in this country — a new local development that will boost employment, skills and thus economic development.
“An invaluable benefit and outcome is the lesson we learned about involving ordinary people in lawmaking. It proved to be a really good learning curve that empowered us through the input from citizens of all ages who had the opportunity to participate in making the amendments possible.
“They were excited to listen to a transport expert and transportation individuals with knowledge — either academically or through experience, or both. We had these types of people [together] in one room with citizens. This is particularly good for our democracy and we should embrace it as a legislature,” said Khawe.
of transport, independent transport analysts, commuter organisations, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Transnet, the Rail Safety Regulator and members of the public from Ekurhuleni, Johannesburg and Pretoria.
“The process followed began in March, 2017, ending on October 19 with approval.”
In closing, on behalf of the committee, Khawe thanked Gauteng MEC for roads and transport Ismail Vadi, senior officials of the GMA and committee members for their “commitment to the oversight process” as well all stakeholders who engaged with the committee during the process.