Keep­ing the wheels of South Africa turn­ing

Public Sector Manager - - Message From The Acting Director-general -

South Africa's trans­port in­fra­struc­ture is among the most modern and well-de­vel­oped in Africa. Our high­way net­work is ex­ten­sive and well-main­tained, while our air, rail and ship­ping net­works are the largest on the con­ti­nent. All cit­i­zens have ac­cess to af­ford­able pub­lic trans­port, which is be­ing sig­nif­i­cantly boosted by the es­tab­lish­ment of In­te­grated Pub­lic Trans­port Net­works (IPTNs) in our cities.

Trans­port Month in Oc­to­ber gives us the op­por­tu­nity to take a closer look at the vi­tally im­por­tant is­sue of trans­port and cel­e­brate our achieve­ments while also tak­ing stock of our chal­lenges.

Im­prov­ing pub­lic trans­port

Over the past decade, one of gov­ern­ment's pri­or­i­ties has been to pro­vide safe, af­ford­able and ef­fi­cient pub­lic trans­port. IPTNs (util­is­ing Bus Rapid Tran­sit or BRT Sys­tems) have been suc­cess­fully de­vel­oped in Jo­han­nes­burg, Cape Town, Tsh­wane, Ge­orge and Dur­ban, and ser­vices will be run­ning in 13 cities in the com­ing years.The IPTNs cur­rently carry a com­bined to­tal of over 100 000 peo­ple ev­ery week­day, greatly en­hanc­ing the qual­ity of trans­port for mem­bers of the pub­lic, par­tic­u­larly peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­i­ties and el­derly.

Minibus taxis re­main the most pop­u­lar mode of trans­port in South Africa, ac­count­ing for 65 per­cent of pub­lic trans­port users and pro­vid­ing more than 300 000 jobs.The Taxi Re­cap­i­tal­i­sa­tion Pro­gramme has re­sulted in more than 70 000 un­safe taxis be­ing taken off our roads to be re­placed by newer, safer ve­hi­cles. Taxi asso­ciations are also be­ing in­cluded in IPTN plans, so that they don't miss out on the eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties pro­vided by these net­works.

At­ten­tion has also been fo­cused on im­prov­ing the qual­ity of our pas­sen­ger rail ser­vices, which trans­port mil­lions of peo­ple ev­ery year. The rail­way mod­erni­sa­tion pro­gramme is pro­gress­ing well and in­cludes the up­grad­ing of sig­nal­ing sys­tems, con­struc­tion of a rail man­u­fac­tur­ing plant and man­u­fac­tur­ing of 3 600 new trains.

The Depart­ment of Trans­port is fi­nal­is­ing the ap­proval of the White Paper on the Na­tional Rail Pol­icy, which is de­signed to strengthen rail trans­port so that it serves as the back­bone of na­tional land trans­port by 2050.

Road safety and main­te­nance

Traf­fic ac­ci­dents take a ma­jor toll on our so­ci­ety, with 14 000 fa­tal­i­ties oc­cur­ring in 2017.The Na­tional Road Safety Strat­egy aims to re­duce fa­tal crashes by 50 per­cent by the year 2030.The strat­egy hinges on four main ob­jec­tives, namely: chang­ing road user be­hav­iour, de­vel­op­ing in­fra­struc­ture to im­prove pedes­trian safety in par­tic­u­lar, build­ing ef­fec­tive gover­nance, and im­prov­ing our data and knowl­edge man­age­ment.

Mean­while, road main­te­nance is be­ing ef­fec­tively ad­dressed through the S'hamba Sonke pro­gramme, which re­ha­bil­i­tated 4 345km of provin­cial roads in 2017. On a na­tional level, users of our na­tional high­ways will no­tice that these are al­ways well-main­tained and com­pare well with in­ter­na­tional stan­dards.

The fu­ture of trans­port in South Africa looks bright, and gov­ern­ment has em­pha­sised its com­mit­ment to keep the wheels turn­ing.

Phumla Wil­liams, GCIS Act­ing Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.