Government to work with transport sector for economic growth

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Minister of Transport Sindisiwe Chikunga has reaffirmed government's commitment to fostering a transport ecosystem that is agile, responsive and adaptable to the evolving needs of society and the changing global landscape.

“Transport plays a critical role in shaping the societal, economic, and spatial landscape of our nation. With mandates spanning across rail, road, civil aviation, maritime, public transport, and macro planning, the Department of Transport and its entities hold a significant responsibility in driving forward the country's developmental agenda,” Chikunga said on Tuesday.

She made these remarks during a strategic workshop for the transport sector, which served as a platform for strategic conversations and dialogue, fostering a shared understanding of mandates and a unified vision for the transport portfolio.

“From roads and highways to railways, airports, and seaports, a well-established transportation network not only facilitates the movement of goods and people but also acts as a catalyst for economic development.

“It is imperative that policymakers, businesses, and communities work together to prioritise sustainable infrastructure development that meets the needs of present and future generations. Only through concerted efforts can we build a transport infrastructure that drives inclusive and sustainable development for all,” Chikunga said.

The Minister outlined key priorities essential for driving the transport sector forward.

These priorities, spanning various facets of transport infrastructure and operations, underscore the government's commitment to enhancing efficiency, sustainability, and accessibility within the transport ecosystem.

She reiterated the importance of revitalising rail infrastructure and operations.

Key priorities in this domain include the recovery of rail major corridors, signalling system, implementation of the station modernisation programme, and expansion and modernisation of rolling stock.

“The recently launched National Rail Policy underscores the necessity for collaborative efforts aimed at fostering transformation and ensuring fair competition within the sector,” she said.

The Minister stressed the importance of finalising key policies such as the Roads Funding Policy and the Public Transport Subsidy Policy.

This being the last strategic workshop for the transport sector in the sixth administration,  the workshop undertook a robust review of the mandate analysis of the Department and its entities,  review of its achievements in the current term,  analysis of the legislative frameworks and the need for its modernisation as well as building of institutional capacity, governance and leadership.

The Minister underscored the importance of transitioning towards greener transport solutions.

Priorities in this domain include developing the Transport Just Transition plan, raising public awareness on the Electric Vehicles (EV) Regulatory Framework, and collaborating with the Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition (DTIC) on implementing the Green Transport Strategy. –