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New watchdog for transport sector

Written by Amukelani Chauke and Albert Pule

Budget Votes

A new transport sector watchdog will soon be established to address challenges faced by the sector.

Government is working hard to improve the country's transport sector.“We are in the process of establishing the Single Transport Economic Regulator in order to address the regulatory shortcomings across the transport sector. This will lead to better pricing and more efficient transport infrastructure and services,” Transport Minister Dipuo Peters said during her department's Budget Vote recently.

Minister Peters made the announcement as South Africa continues to look for ways to create funding models to maintain and build more roads to accommodate the increasing number of cars on the country’s roads.

More funding for South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL)

Minister Peters said due to the ageing road network infrastructure, more investment is needed in the roads network with no highways built since 1986, with the exception of those that were built as part of toll projects.

“We will be targeting those parts of the network that are busiest, where even minor holdups can turn into major delays, especially on urban roads and highways like the N3, which is the busiest corridor in Africa.

Proposal to replace Road Accident Fund

The Minister said government is directly extending care to victims of road carnage, and that a Road Accident Benefit Scheme Bill would be formally introduced to make way for the establishment of a new administrator to replace the Roads Accident Fund.

She said the Bill, which has been published for public comment, proposes a new social security safety net scheme that is not fault-based.

“It will allow expanded access to much-needed benefits to road users including public and private transport passengers, widows, orphans and many other dependents previously and currently excluded by virtue of fault,” she said.

Review of taxi recapitalisation

The Minister also said that government would spend close to R2 million to review the taxi recapitilisation model.

“The department will be reviewing the taxi recapitalisation model to improve its effectiveness and affordability. Expenditure on the review is projected at R188.5 million over the medium term.”

Under the taxi recapitalisation programme, taxi operators are paid a sum of money to scrap their old vehicles and buy new ones.

She added that government would continue to work with the taxi industry to bring changes and improve service.