NC Transport, Safety and Liaison Budget Debate

BY HON. PULE THOLE (MPL) DA Northern Cape Provincial Spokesperson on Transport, Safety & Liaison The safety of the people of the Northern Cape is very important especially in this day and age. We cannot allow our people particularly women and children to be victimized by notorious gangs, heartless rapists and murders. Our communities cannot be terrorized by merciless monsters. This is not the country we dreamt of 21 years ago. The National Development Plan vision 2030 envisions that people living in South Africa should have no fear of crime. They should feel safe at home, at school and at work. Women should be able to walk freely in the street and children should be able to play safely. This will require a concerted effort from all of us to play our part towards realizing this vision. If we do not all commit to this, then we will be failing the people of this province and this vision will remain just a DREAM!!! The department of Transport, Safety and Liaison is mandated to be “a leader in the creation and co-ordination of safe, secure sustainable transport and policing systems for a crime free Northern Cape Province”. It is responsible to lead the fight against crime and rally us all to achieve a crime free province. However many times we note short-comings in this department. We read of low staff morale and how tensions run high in the work environment. I do not want us to dwell in this, but MEC and you Honourable Premier please deal decisively with these issues in this department from all ranks. Strong action and decisive leadership is required from your side to restore confidence in this department. We all know what is happening, its public knowledge. Today communities are up in arms about the levels of crime. People are terrorized by gangs in the townships. This cannot be how we want our province to be. Though we applaud the communities to stand up against crime, taking the law into our own hands cannot be accepted. We must guard against acts of vigilantism and mob justice. The South African Police Service has a constitutional mandate to: ? Prevent, combat and investigate crime and ? Maintain public order amongst others. This they achieve by working with communities through the Community Safety Forums and the Community Policing Forums. The police should not abdicate their responsibilities to the community, theirs is to arrest these criminals who make our safety impossible. The department has been allocated a total budget just above R341million from the equitable share 2015/16. This allocation is limited and should be used for core mandates of the department. In his 2015 Budget Speech Finance MEC Hon John Block indicated that departments must develop and implement cost containment measures. This is a clarion call to this department, which often falls on deaf ears, to cut unnecessary expenditure, reduce inefficiencies and eliminate wasteful expenditure. We want to hear how will this department save and ensure these limited resources will be spent wisely. We want to hear how this department reduces its excessive irregular expenditure!!! The DA commends the department for their intensive campaigns in the Road Safety Education sub-programme. We see you MEC and your team on the roads leading efforts to raise road safety awareness across the province. The loss of lives on our province should be reduced. We note the decrease on road fatalities and the lowest in the country, but one death is one too many. For this reason the DA calls for a ZERO-Death toll over periods of high traffic such as during the Easter Weekend and the Festive Season. If our traffic officers perform their duties without fear or favor and turn away from corrupt practices and bribery then we can achieve full adherence to road laws and zero fatalities. Further the DA calls on the department to investigate corruption among law enforcement agencies who take bribes from unlawful road users and to investigate corruption in the issuing of driving licenses. Northern Cape traffic officers have been empowered with new breathalyzers and new speed test equipment. These must serve to cut road deaths to zero. We also recognize that this cannot be government’s responsibility alone, all road users must come to the party. Motorists and pedestrians must obey all road rules at all times and we will have safer roads. The department says learner transport operators will be critically evaluated over the medium-term and consultative forums with communities will be established to identify areas where cooperatives can be established to take ownership for the safe transportation of learners. This should be accelerated to ensure learner transport service runs efficiently and that learners are transported on time and in safe conditions. All contracts for service providers must be conducted following the standard tender procedures in line with the Public Finance Management Act and adherence to Treasury regulations. As such payments must be done following proper Supply chain management prescriptions to the book. Our towns are increasingly congested as a direct result of the lack of efficient and safe public transport. Taxis, which transport 75% of commuters in this province, are seen to be unsafe and passengers often become the victims of rivalry and internal feuding. Buses on the other hand, are operated only in the larger cities and are often unreliable and in short supply. The government is responsible for providing the services that are needed and for regulating the operation of the system. Overloading must be viewed in a serious light. Overloaded vehicles should be liable to be impounded for prolonged periods and in extreme cases or in the case of persistent offenders they must be confiscated. We propose that: 1. 1. The maximum permitted axle weight and length of heavy vehicles be reduced, 2. More weighbridges are made available in towns and cities so that drivers can verify their loads before departing on long journeys, 3. Fines and tolerances for overloading be standardized, with heavier punishments for habitual offenders, 4. Prohibition through legislation of certain hazardous and bulk goods, which should go by rail as opposed to road especially in the mining districts of our province, 5. And lastly SPEAKER abnormal loads must be restricted to movement over weekends when roads are generally less congested and their impact on traffic flow vastly reduced. In conclusion the DA joins the call with the majority of South Africans in condemning xenophobic attacks. I want to thank the MEC Martha Bartlett for her open door policy and willingness to engage with the opposition as well as availing herself for discussion in committee meetings of the legislature together with her team. We want our responsibility of oversight to the executive to be respected, it is our constitutional mandate and we owe it to the electorate. [END] ##################################################################################### Scanned by MailMarshal – M86 Security’s comprehensive email content security solution. Download a free evaluation of MailMarshal at www.m86security.com #####################################################################################