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Business In The News South Africa

Gauteng Roads and Transport invests billions in roads and public transport infrastructure

Sello Theletsane

As part of the Provincial Government’s commitment to modernise and integrate the transport system, the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport will launch the pilot project for single e-ticket in October later this year.

The pilot project is one of the key deliverables of the ITMP25 to develop a fully integrated Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) System. This includes enabling Europay, MasterCard and Visa card compliance on all transport modes, enabling all modes of transport to offer a prepaid product that allows for interoperability and integration.

MEC Ismail Vadi explained that this will be the first step towards a fully integrated AFC system. He added that significant technical work with municipalities has been done in this regard.

Furthermore, the department is in the process of enabling online renewal of motor vehicle licenses as well as launch an APP to report and monitor potholes along the provincial roads. This forms part of department’s pro-active maintenance strategy of the road network.

The department has been allocated R6.8 billion. The bulk of this allocation will go towards Transport Infrastructure (R1.9 billion); Transport Operations (R2.3 billion); Transport Regulation (R314 million); Gautrain (R1.8billion) and Administration (R321 million).

“The department plans to improve road infrastructure through construction of new roads and improving maintenance of existing roads. This will include the construction of the first new freeway in 40 years, the PWV15, to reduce congestion and support the Aerotropolis development in Ekurhuleni”.

“We will improve systems to ensure the speedy repair of potholes and the resurfacing of the road network. We will mobilise resources for road infrastructure in ways that will avoid the controversy linked to the e-tolls. There will be no e-tolls on our newly constructed freeways,” MEC Vadi emphasised.

The department has recently completed 12 major road rehabilitation projects such as the N12; the R82 from Eikenhof to Walkerville and  the N14. Work on the remaining section of the N14 is currently underway.

On the revenue side, the department remains one of the key sources of funding for the Provincial Treasury. Over the past three years, it had collected motor vehicle and other licensing fees amounting to R9.6 billion.

In the past three years, the province has seen significant investment in roads and public transport infrastructure to support the economy, integrate fragmented urban form, improving quality of transport and reducing commuting times.

“The massive rollout of modernised public transport infrastructure such as the Gautrain rapid rail service; the slow but progressive expansion of metropolitan BRT services and the development of the Aerotropolis are examples of mega-projects that are gradually transforming our urban landscape and creating jobs,” MEC Vadi elaborated.

He furthermore said “in spite of the corporate governance challenges confronting PRASA, the Metrorail revitalisation programme in the province has seen the introduction of 18 new trains on the Pienaarspoort-Pretoria corridor. The Gibela Rail Manufacturing Plant will be ready later this year”.

The Tambo-Springs Freight and Logistics Hub is to be launched in 2018. The road network analysis for this project and the realignment of PWV15 has been finalised. Detailed designs for the K148 are almost complete. Good progress has been recorded on improving the road network linked to City Deep with four of the seven road improvement projects being completed.

Other milestones are the construction or upgrading of the Temba, Kagiso, Mabopane and Kliptown DLTCs. The construction of a new DLTC in Sebokeng is currently underway and will serve as a model for future DLTCs. In the coming months, special attention will be paid to improving service delivery at Driving Licence Testing Centres, including reducing queuing times.

“To build on our partnership with the taxi industry, the department will continue to work with taxi operators to address issues relating to operating licenses.

“I wish to announce that I intend to institute extraordinary measures in terms of section 91 of the National Land Transport Act to close all ranks and routes registered in the name of NANDUWE and WATA in Soweto.”

“The route dispute and resulting violent conflicts between these two associations have been on-going and all efforts at resolving the said dispute, including the Section 79 ruling of the Provincial Regulatory Entity, has not helped to stabilise transport operations in the area,” Vadi said.

Similarly, the MEC explained that the Department has discussed the on-going violent conflicts between Uber/Taxify partners and metered taxi operators led by the so-called Gauteng Metered Taxi Concerned Operators with the Ministers of Police and Transport.

“The government as a whole is absolutely clear that unlawful and criminal acts of certain metered taxi operators will be dealt decisively,” said Vadi.

Some of the Department’s future plans include R1.9 billion allocation to Transport Infrastructure, partnering with private developers to develop the road networks linked to the Vaal River City Interchange (future K55); the Greengate Development (K31) along Beyers Naude Drive; the upgrading K73 between Woodmead Drive and Allandale Road; and the construction of a new link between Woodmead Drive (R55), Tembisa and Fourways.

MEC Vadi added that g-FleeT is continuing to show positive results in improving its corporate governance.

“The entity is better managed, corporate governance is more effective and the disciplinary processes instituted against selected senior officials are currently underway. The entity has managed to ensure that client departments pay for services rendered to them on a timely basis. The huge outstanding balances in this regard have been substantially reduced,” he said.

Later this year, the department will be represented at the International Roads Federation to be held in Delhi, India.

“What is clear from our participation in these international fora is that we will have to be more proactive in responding to the impact of disruptive transport-based technologies. We will have to factor in more creatively the Fourth Industrial Revolution to deliver on the imperatives of transformation, modernisation and reindustrialisation, “MEC Vadi concluded

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