Provinces, municipalities must ensure safe roads

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pretoria - Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele has called on provinces and municipalities to work tirelessly to ensure a safe, reliable and efficient public transport system.

Minister Ndebele was addressing Road and Transport MECs from all nine provinces, Heads of Provincial Departments of Roads and Transport, Municipal MMCs of Transport and CEOs of transport state agencies at a MinMec (Ministerial and MECs) meeting in Johannesburg.

MinMec is a coordinating body chaired by the minister.

Ndebele told delegates at the meeting that a reliable and accessible public transport system was non-negotiable.

"Public transport remains a critical challenge in various parts of our country. We continue to receive negative feedback about the state of our public transport system," he said.

Ndebele believes that an efficient public transport system is central to the success of the country's economy.

"We are the heartbeat of South Africa's economy. Without us, people cannot move from one point to another, people cannot go to work, learners cannot reach schools, goods cannot be transported," he said.

The minister said it was important to ensure that all forms of public transport, including road and rail, were functioning at their optimal best.

On Thursday, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) will launch the request for proposals for its new rolling stock programme.

"I will be attending the launch ... this is another critical programme that we pin our hopes on with regard to improving our rail passenger services and the creation of jobs and economic opportunities," Ndebele said.

The minister called on all spheres of government to share notes and experiences with provinces and municipalities that have got it right.

"If Johannesburg has managed to get it right through Rea Vaya BRT, why can't Nelson Mandela Bay share in the experience of Johannesburg for the benefit of its people?" Ndebele questioned.

He said the MinMec exists solely for the purpose of ensuring that no one is left behind and that provinces and municipalities should move together towards prosperity.

"This MinMec platform remains a critical point at which all government's efforts on the improvement of transport systems must converge," he said.