En­hanc­ing Gaut­eng’s pub­lic trans­port sec­tor

Mail & Guardian - - Gpl - Re­becca Haynes

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.

Build­ing trains

“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.

Pub­lic par­tic­i­pa­tion

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.

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