Department of Transport
10 July 2019
A draft bill to establish a single transport economic regulator will be tabled in parliament over the next year.
The transport minister, Fikile Mbalula, announced this while delivering the transport department 2019 Budget Vote Speech in parliament.
The minister described economic regulation as an important lever in “delivering a transport system that enables economic activity and stimulate growth, by giving practical effect to our commitment to lowering the cost of doing business”.
“This starts with eliminating delays and cancellations in our commuter rail network so that those who rely on this mode to get to places of economic activity are able to maximise their productivity by being at work on time,” he said.
According to the minister, the envisaged regulator will level the playing fields in the rail, maritime and roads sectors.
The Draft Economic Regulation of Transport Bill, designed to promote economic growth in South Africa by promoting an effective, efficient and productive transport sector, was published for comment in October 2018.
The draft bill aims to:
• consolidate the economic regulation of transport within a single framework and policy;
• establish the Transport Economic Regulator;
• establish the Transport Economic Council;
• make consequential amendments to various other Acts; and
• provide for related incidental matters.
As regards the Passenger Rail Agency (PRASA), the minister confirmed that an intervention to turn around PRASA and improve its operational performance while re-building its engineering capacity to drive the modernisation programme is in place.
A Ministerial War Room has been set up to drive the turnaround strategy focused on service recovery, safety management and modernisation.
The minister indicated that a task team on e-tolls consisting of the transport department SANRAL, the Gauteng Province and national treasury, was continuing to seek solutions to the challenge.
A final report on the matter will be tabled before president Ramaphosa by the end of August 2019.
“We are mindful of the demand to scrap e-tolls and are therefore looking at solutions that will balance this demand with the need for the country to honour its obligations insofar as the e-tolls debt is concerned.”
In the realm of traffic law enforcement, the minister confirmed that the plan is to change traffic policing from an 8 to 5 working day and a 5-day working week to a 24-hour working day and a 7 day working week.
The issue is to be placed before the bargaining council for consideration.