Clarifying roles, establishing boundaries
The Democratic Alliance (DA) objected to clauses two, three and 12 of the bill, essentially due to the granting of additional empowerment to the Gautrain Management Agency (GMA). “The DA’s concern is not their own concern, but based around community discussions,” explained the Honourable Jacob Khawe, chairperson of the Gauteng Roads and Transport Portfolio Committee.
DA counsellor Fred Nel said in the house that while the DA approves the amendments to the bill, it cannot support the bill granting wide powers that could conflict with the transport authority. “The GMA must focus on its core business,” he said. “There is no doubt that the expertise of the GMA could be of value, but general public transport is not its core business.
“The DA’s concerns are based around the statement made by Gautrain management about their willingness to help establish a Gauteng Transport Authority (GTA),” said Khawe.
“We have agreed with the GMA on the principles around the GTA and introduced into the amendments the words ‘integrated’ and ‘railrelated’ to ensure that boundaries are established,” said Khawe. “This is where possibly the DA has missed the point, because we will seek advice from the GMA based on integrated and rail-related matters. When we say Gautrain, we refer to rail, however if we are discussing trains and buses, then we are talking about rail-related matters. As we speak, Gautrain runs buses, thus we talk around integrated, railrelated issues. This makes the mandate very clear.” The Roads and Transport Committee had public engagements with Gautrain commuters on the route from Johannesburg to Pretoria to solicit views on the proposed amendment bill. The committee also engaged with 26 commuters who indicated among other issues that they were unaware of the amendment bill, and the committee then agreed to further extend the consultation process to ensure maximum participation.
“Through the advertisements in the Government gazette, online media, GPL website, newspapers as well as the public engagement workshop in Boksburg, the committee received four written submissions from organised stakeholders and members of the public,” said Khawe.
“As part of extensive stakeholder and public consultation the committee invited and interacted with the three metropolitan municipalities’ departments of transport, Section 79/80 Committees on Transport, the national department