National transport plan being aligned to NDP

Thursday, August 8, 2013
Nthambeleni Gabara

Johannesburg – The Deputy Minister of Transport, Sindisiwe Chikunga, says the National Transport Master Plan 2050 (NATMAP) is being finalised in line with the National Development Plan (NDP) 2030.

Speaking at the inaugural Aviation Industry Transformation Conference in Boksburg on Thursday, Chikunga said the long-term vision of NATMAP 50 will sustain South Africa’s projected growth and focus on integrated transport planning to ensure that the different modes of transport complement each other.

Chikunga said the current government policies, plans and programmes, including the NDP and the New Growth Path (NGP), enjoin the nation to create a social contract to help propel South Africa to a higher developmental trajectory, as well as build a more cohesive and equitable society.

She said the transport sector remained a critical driver in the 2030 vision implementation to advance economic development, job creation, growth, and further provide equitable access to opportunities and services for all, while fostering an inclusive society and economy.

“There is no doubt that this ground-breaking work initiated here today will go a long way in revolutionising the global aviation industry and responding to the Nation’s 2030 vision as stipulated in the NDP.

“While aviation has enabled us to fly higher and higher, Women’s Day reminds us of the distances, as symbolised by apartheid and colonialism, to which human beings should never, ever descend,” she said.

The deputy minister said the NGP creates conditions for faster growth and employment through government’s investments, microeconomic reforms and further the effective unblocking of constraints to investment in specific sectors, including the transport sector.

The conference marks the beginning of meaningful transformation in the aviation sector, under the theme, ‘Now is the Time’.

The Aviation Industry Transformation Conference is the first of its kind and seeks to address the transformation of the aviation industry as announced by Chikunga during the Budget Vote speech earlier this year.

Delegates at the conference are expected to come up with ways to address the shortage of skills which leads to the lack of transformation in the aviation sector.

Transport Department Deputy Director-General responsible for Aviation, Zakhele Thwala, urged delegates to make suggestions for a long-term programme that will deliver skilled aviation personnel.

“We also want you to share with us your successes of transformation, so that we can continue to build on those successes as government. [We want you] to also share with us your challenges, so that we can think creatively with the view of getting solutions going forward,” he said.

Investing in skills development

The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), Aeronautical Traffic Navigation Services (ATNS) and Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) will, together invest R52.4million in a scarce and critical aviation skills development and sector transformation programme.

To further address the challenge of attracting and retaining skills in the aviation industry, the SACAA entered into an agreement with the University of Pretoria to participate in the training of students in Aerospace Medicine and the first 10 degrees were conferred this year in March.

The Head of Aviation Medicine from SACAA has also been appointed as an extraordinary lecturer at the University of Pretoria with effect from 2013.

Aviation agencies, in conjunction with the Department and relevant stakeholders, are currently developing an all-inclusive Civil Aviation Transformation Strategy.

The strategy will be the first in the country aimed at addressing transformation issues, which currently show that four percent of pilot licence holders are previously disadvantaged individuals (PDIs). -