Note to Editors: The following speech was delivered by Katlego Suzan Phala DA MPL, to the Limpopo Provincial Legislature on 04 June 2015 during the Debate on the 2015 Budget of the Department of Transport.
Popular culture enjoys the saying: “ Ask me no questions and I will tell you no lies.”
It is rather tragic that these words best sum up the MEC’s budget vote for the current financial year.
Hon. Speaker like her predecessors and just like her previous speech, the Hon.MEC once again over promised and under delivered to the people of Limpopo.
The DA believes that the Dept. of Transport is in a very privileged position of being at the centre of development.
It is your department that has the greatest potential and should be championing
- public/private sector collaboration
- easier access and mobility between rural and urban regions
- investment to address the shortage in critical skills
instead it is haunted by :
- underperformance by your key institutional entities such as GAAL
- lack of investment and under spending in key infrastructure
In fact, Hon.MEC, it is the slow pace of delivery by your dept. that is most disheartening.
In the third quarter of the last financial year this dept. had not delivered 45% of its targets.
While you managed to decrease this underachievement by 10% in the 4th quarter, I could state more than 10 instances where there was either a delay of finalising designs for projects or late appointment of contractors.
This is a strong indication of a department that has overpromised and under delivered its services to the people of Limpopo.
The DA believes that RAIL is the backbone of the transport economy.
It is desirable for the Hon. MEC to include rail as part of an inter-Modal Transport Network. However, you need to prioritise it because the benefits are three-fold.
- If rail is able to improve its services it will result in a natural movement of all types of cargo back to rail as a preferred mode of transport.
- When rail infrastructure is accelerated, we will be less reliant on trucks which have contributed a great deal to the road carnage on our provincial roads.
- More importantly, trains are still one of the most affordable modes of transport for more than 2.1 million of our population who rely on grants and 43% of our people who are unemployed when considering discouraged job seekers.
The Hon.MEC admitted to the importance of Rail as a primary mode of mobility in her budget vote yet just like last year the biggest chunk of the budget is allocated to road infrastructure and RAIL remains a side issue.
The DA is convinced that you cannot understand a province or a city without knowing its public transportation system.
In her announcement of the BRT system, it became clear that the Hon.MEC does not have a strategy on how to integrate existing taxi services into programmes designed to improve the safety and reliability of public transport.
Another example which exposes your dept. for overpromising and underperforming is best illustrated by GAAL.
This public entity mandated under your leadership to manage all non private airports in Limpopo, is in a privileged position of unlocking Limpopo’s inherent economic and developmental potential.
Instead it continues to function like a spoilt brat given R42 .3 million yet continues to fail in providing a proper allocation between programmes and cannot assess the extent of its expenditure per quarter.
Very soon, in the not so distant future, when the DA governs this province:
- We will partner with the private sector to play a greater role in initiatives such as Arrive Alive and Safety First campaigns
- A culture of Accountability and transparency of investigative reports on the spending of taxes and levies will be the norm
A dept. of transport that actually delivers through action and goes beyond lip service.