Category Archives: Key Issues

MEC Ismail Vadi: Gauteng Roads and Transport 2017/18 Annual Report

Speech – Tabling of Annual Reports of the Department of Roads and Transport in the Gauteng Legislature, 4 September 2018

Madam Speaker

It my pleasure to table in the House the 2017/18 Annual Reports of the Department of Roads and Transport, Fleet and the Gautrain Management Agency (GMA). These Reports present a snapshot of the activities and programmes of the Department, including its achievements and challenges, during the period under review.

Gauteng citizens hold us accountable for the state of public transport; subsidised bus services; the condition of our paved road network as well as the frontline services we provide through the Driving License Testing Centres. The Annual Reports provide an instrument for such accountability. The central message from our side is that the Department, gFleet and the GMA are on track in fulfilling their public mandates and achieving their predetermined objectives.

The National Development Plan (2030) positions the capable state as the catalyst and determinant to achieve a high growth rate for South Africa and to build a prosperous society that is inclusive and equitable. It is within this context that the Department fulfils its mandate by ensuring that its staff continue to develop its managerial and leadership capabilities to build our road and public transport infrastructure to grow the economy and create jobs. In this regard we are honoured that the Head of Department, Mr Ronald Swartz, was awarded the Best HOD in Transport Award by the Minister of Transport, Mr Blade Nzimande.

Technological innovations will remain a catalyst for growth and development in the transport sector. The Department is fully cognizant that we are operating in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and that our leadership should put us at the forefront of this phenomena for the greater good of our province. In this regard we are excited about our partnership with the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC). The relationship enabled the launching last week of a technological platform that allows for:

Online pre-booking for learner and driving license appointments; and

Online booking for the renewal of driving license cards.

The new online booking system has several advantages for the residents of Gauteng. It reduces the waiting times at the Driving License Testing Centres (DLTCs). We know that currently people wait between 4-6 hours, if not more, to get through the process of applying for a learner’s or driver’s license, or to renew their driving licenses. The process is tedious, frustrating and tiring. Also, there are reports of people bribing queue marshals to jump queues, or paying others to stand in the queue on their behalf. Online pre-booking will eliminate these problems. Secondly, it allows for personal flexibility, choice and convenience. An applicant can choose an appropriate date, time and place for conducting the various testing functions. Thirdly, the online service will reduce the possibility for corrupt practices. We have in the past received allegations of applicants bribing officials to receive preferential treatment at DLTCs. This can now be eliminated. Lastly, the online booking service will impact positively on the actual operations at DLTCs. It will enable Centre Managers to better manage work flows and instill greater efficiencies at DLTCs.

The reports we have received since last Thursday from the RTMC show that there is a very positive response from the public to the online booking system. A total of 663 out of 3128 persons have pre-booked on the system, which shows a 21 percent uptake over three days since the system went live.

The interesting fact is that we have had high interest in the online booking system from areas such as Kliptown, Temba and Mabopane. I have no doubt that this technological solution will have a very positive impact on reducing waiting times at the DLTCs.

Road and public transport infrastructure stimulate economic growth and development. It helps to link economically and socially the metropolitan cities and district municipalities of the Gauteng City Region. The planned Gautrain II expansion will be a major catalyst for further economic growth, social development and job creation along its proposed corridors. Together with the Bus Rapid Transit systems, it will spatially integrate the five development corridors in our province. Mutually beneficial partnerships between government and the private sector will continue to give traction to the building of new road and rail corridors in Gauteng. Such partnerships foster alignment and harmonisation of land use and transport.

The Infrastructure Report by the South African Institute of Civil Engineering (SAICE) for 2017, shows that our provincial road network has improved. It is gratifying that 71 percent of Gauteng’s paved network has been rated in the fair to very good categories. This shows that the proactive approach of the Department’s construction and maintenance units is yielding positive results.

Honourable Members, the Annual Reports are being tabled for your consideration and evaluation. The Department and its entities are accountable to this House We, therefore, table the Annual Reports for oversight purposes.

Source: Government of South Africa

Wits wary of winless UL

Wits won’t be taking UL lightly when the men from the North travel to Johannesburg on Thursday at Wits Stadium. The men from Braamfontein currently sit at second on the table behind arch-rivals UJ and will want to catch them up with a win over UL.

With the competition coming to a close with the semi-finals only two rounds away, UL will want to prove to the Varsity Football watching public they are worthy of a win.

Wits Vice Captain Mahle Mtabane explained that Wits won’t underestimate the winless UL.

Playing against a wounded team is always difficult. We know UL is going to come at us hard looking for their first win in Varsity Football campaign. All we have to do is carry on working hard and staying true to ourselves by maintaining our own style of play.

I think it’s safe to say that this will be our toughest, so it would be a good thing to stay mentality prepared and do not underestimate them. The past two years we’ve been in a similar situation in this tournament, so they will be coming hard I’m certain of that. They have nothing to lose, unlike us.

Wits will host UL at Wits Stadium at 16:00 on Thursday, 30 August.

UJ look to Cape Town to secure log lead

The Orange Army will travel to UWC on Thursday and will be hoping they can extent their winning run to secure their log lead. UJ have gone undefeated in this tournament thus far, with four wins and one draw, their latest victory being against a lethal TUT side.

UWC have had a less than an impressive season with only one win in five games. Salie Adam’s men will know that a victory over the log leaders will give some pride to their season.

UWC host UJ at 18:30 on Thursday, 30 August at the UWC Sports Stadium.

Noble Boys feeling the pressure

NWU are under no illusion in that a victory against UP-Tuks is imperative to secure a semi-final spot when they travel to Pretoria on Thursday evening. After their recent defeat to Wits, NWU are just one point ahead of UP-Tuks and a loss to the Stripe Generation would be detrimental to their title hopes.

NWU captain Wendell Martin admitted that his side is under pressure but are focused on getting the win.

This week’s game against UP-Tuks is crucial for us. Because we are coming off a defeat against Wits, that result put us under pressure because Tuks are now one point behind us. We’ll be looking at increasing our chances at qualifying for the semi-final and a positive result sets us firmly in the semi-final.

Our focus and concentration is what let us down in our last two games but I’m hopeful that the team stays focus and concentrated in crucial moments of this game.

NWU will kick-off against UP-Tuks at 18:15 at Tuks Stadium on Thursday 30 August.

UKZN take on tough TUT

The men from Durban face a stern challenge when they host TUT at the Howard College Stadium on Thursday.

The Varsity Football debutantes have had a tough season so far, but managed to pick up their first points after a dramatic 3-3 all draw against UWC last week.

UKZN will take confidence from the win but will know what a threat TUT will pose.

TUT have been ruthless in the pursuit of victory this season, with the Tshwane side showing a professional balance of attack and defence. TUT have won three games and drawn one, out of five fixtures, and will hope to extend their winning record against UKZN. The Durban boys are currently in a wooden spoon bout with UL but a win over TUT would set them apart from the Polokwane-based side.

UKZN will host TUT at 18:30 at the Howard College Stadium in Durban on Thursday, 30 August.

Source: South African Football Association

City enforcement statistics on course

STATEMENT BY MAYORAL COMMITTEE MEMBER FOR SAFETY AND SECURITY; AND SOCIAL SERVICES, ALDERMAN JP SMITH

The City of Cape Town’s enforcement agencies made 12 063 arrests in the previous financial year (excluding warrant arrests) � a 17% increase on the preceding period.

This was one of the many encouraging statistics that emerged from the Safety and Security Directorate’s annual statistics for the 2017/18 financial year.

The Directorate consists of six departments that focus on public safety and includes the 107 Public Emergency Communication Centre; Disaster Risk Management Centre; Fire and Rescue Service; Metro Police Department; Law Enforcement Department and Cape Town Traffic Service.

Some of the key trends that have emerged from the safety and security landscape in the preceding 12 months are:

Increase in land invasions and related protest action

Year-on-year there was a 53% increase in the number of land invasions recorded and a 249% increase in the number of protests. This resulted in a knock-on effect on planned enforcement operations for Law Enforcement, Metro Police and Traffic Services as resources had to be diverted to assist the South African Police Service in terms of public order policing, effecting road closures and diverting traffic etc. Apart from the fact that other enforcement priorities were compromised, there was also the cost of damage to City infrastructure and resources like buildings and vehicles, as well as a financial impact due to overtime costs.

The drought

From a Law Enforcement perspective, staff had to focus on transgressions of the Water By-law amid an increase in complaints from the public about water abuse, but also the very real threat to the city’s water supplies. In terms of the Disaster Risk Management Centre, there was a significant drop-off in the number of persons affected by severe weather episodes as well as the need for disaster relief. Cape Town experienced just one operationally significant winter storm in the period under review and this is evident in the DRMC’s statistics for 2017/18.

It is also worth noting that the Fire and Rescue Service recorded a 10% drop in vegetation fires during the period under review, which is most welcome, given the pressure we were under in terms of water supply.

Instability in the public transport sector

There were numerous taxi-related strikes during the past 12 months that impacted on other sectors. There was also a wage-related strike by bus operators and the ongoing service delays and arson attacks on Metrorail’s infrastructure are well documented. These disruptions took a toll on the affected commuters, but also placed additional strain on the road network and the enforcement staff whose duty it is to police transgressions.

We recorded a 100% increase in the number of overloading offences in the public transport sector. While there is no definitive proof, we cannot rule out the possibility that this might be a reflection of the battle that commuters have had and continue to have in getting to and from work, and the willingness of some operators to cash in on the instability in the sector � with no regard for the lives of their passengers.

Ongoing gang violence

There are at least 16 gang hotspots in Cape Town that experience a flare-up in violence on a regular basis. The Metro Police Department Gang and Drug Task Team, in association with the Law Enforcement Stabilisation Unit, devotes as much resources to these communities as possible, but resources are limited. It is important to note that the South African Police Service (SAPS) remains the primary agency responsible for tackling gang violence. The City acts in support of SAPS.

That said, our enforcement statistics for the period under review are up, year-on-year. The Metro Police Department achieved a 19% increase in arrests and a 39% increase in the number of firearms recovered through targeted operations. There was also a notable increase in the number of public tip-offs about illegal activities. This is particularly encouraging, because it speaks to a growing trust in the City’s enforcement agencies.

Increase in attacks on City staff and infrastructure

There have been numerous incidents in the past 12 months where City staff and infrastructure were targeted. This includes the torching of the Gugulethu Fire Station by protestors. Just this weekend, firefighters were attacked while responding to a fire in Wallacedene.

Criminals are becoming decidedly more brazen and are targeting staff for their firearms. The Metro Police Department noted a 180% increase in attacks on staff year-on-year, from 21 in 2016/17 to 59 in 2017/18.

The result is that we have to reconfigure our deployment patterns and have more officers working in groups to ensure their safety. The physical and psychological effect of these attacks cannot be ignored. An officer who has been traumatized by an attack needs time off work to recover; some do so sooner than others. What this means is fewer officers on patrol to ensure public safety.

Our task is not without its challenges. One of those challenges is the consistent criticism we face from many quarters, often with no basis of understanding of the Directorate’s mandate. There is a lot of good work that is done on a daily basis to safeguard Cape Town and her residents and I commend the men and women who don the uniform in service to the public for what is often a thankless and very dangerous task.

Looking forward to some of the departmental priorities for the current financial year (1 July 2018 � 30 June 2019):

Metro Police Department:

Further training and development of Youth Cadets

Opening of Lakeside training facility

Further rollout of the Neighbourhood Safety Team in Delft

Looking to national government to do joint procurement for gunfire detection

Numerous ward allocations for CCTV and Licence Plate Recognition installations (26 wards collectively invested R5,7 million)

Cape Town Traffic Service:

Full rollout of the Random Breath Testing (RBT) vehicle for alcohol enforcement

Procurement of specialised tow trucks for vehicle recovery/removal

Law Enforcement

Establishment of multi-agency priority committee on protest action

Expansion of the Facility Protection Officers

Training and deployment of the Rail Enforcement Unit

24-hour services at five stations in the City (Muizenberg, Mfuleni, Big Bay, Parow, Beacon Valley)

Volunteer Auxiliary Programme expansion (minimum of 200 staff by festive season)

Dedicated unit for public awareness programmes

Disaster Risk Management

Review of the Disaster Risk Assessment for the City of Cape Town

Assisting Early Childhood Development Centres with understanding and meeting compliance issues concerning safety requirements at these facilities

Continuous monitoring of drought/water crisis

Public education and awareness around the risk of wildland fires in the build-up to the dry summer season

Source: City of Cape Town

Excellent networking ropes in housebreaking suspects

King William’s Town: Excellent networking between the community, SAPS Kabega Park and Kamesh police resulted in the arrest of 3 suspects and the recovery of 3 rifles early this morning, 24 August 2018.

It is alleged that on Saturday, 18 August 2018, the owner of a farm in Wolwefontein reported that his house was broken into while no one was at home. According to police information, when the person who was looking after the farmer’s house arrived on Saturday morning, he noticed that the vehicle was parked in a different place as previously parked on Thursday. He notified the owner who was in Uitenhage and on his arrival, the owner discovered that his home was broken into. Entry was gained by breaking a window. Several firearms and a pellet gun were among the items taken. The safe was forced opened.

On Thursday evening, 23 August 2018, a farm watch community member was at a local Spar in Cape Road when he recognised a person who was circulated on social media. The person was seated in a bakkie. He immediately contacted Kabega Police who responded swiftly. The 25-year-old person of interest was taken to the police station and questioned. Further information led police to Lapland in Kamesh in search of another suspect. With the assistance of SAPS Kamesh members, another suspect, between 20-30 years old was arrested while walking in the street. Both suspects are well known in the Wolwefontein area. They have been detained on charges of housebreaking.

At about 06:00 this morning, Kabega Park and K9 Unit members went to a house in Erica Dien, an informal settlement in Cape Road and searched two shacks. Nothing was found inside however continued search of the immediate vicinity led police to discover a freshly dug hole about 10 metres from the shack. Upon digging up the hole, 3 rifles were found buried in the ground. One other person (aged between 25 and 30) was arrested and detained for possession of suspected stolen property and illegal possession of firearms.

The suspects are expected to appear in court on Monday, 27 August 2018.

The Cluster Commander for Mount Road, Major General Thembisile Patekile commended the community and all members involved in the swift arrests and the recovery of the firearms. ‘Close cooperation between the community and police is bound to yield positive results and narrow the space for criminals. The members’ immediate reaction to the information received and instant follow up investigation ensured the successful arrests and recovery. There are still firearms that are yet to be recovered hence we are urging the communities to continue to assist the police with any information that can lead to the arrest of perpetrators and the recovery of firearms as firearms are used in the commission of serious and violent crimes,’ added Major General Patekile.

Source: South African Police Service

Government to train data scientists

The Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services has committed to train one million young people to be data scientists between 2019 and 2030.

We want to produce people with skills, people who have knowledge and can find solutions to the challenges we are facing. Ours is to build a knowledge based society which is why we are training one million people, said Deputy Minister for Telecommunications and Postal Services Stella Ndabeni-Abrahams.

Speaking at the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) on Thursday in Tshwane, she said government is partnering with the information and communication technology (ICT) industry in the initiative to train one million people.

We have criss-crossed the country we have also gone to Silicon Valley to learn crucial skills. We are in the process to make sure that we bring our own Silicon [Valley] here, to give South Africans an opportunity [to develop their skills]. In October, we will be meeting with the relevant stakeholders in the ICT field, she said.

The Deputy Minister said government has a responsibility to provide people with skills that will ensure that they can participate meaningfully in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Last week, the Deputy Minister signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to officially mark the her department’s five-year partnership with the TechnoGirl Trust.

The MoU seeks to facilitate cooperation and coordination of the efforts in the area of Information and communication technology (ICT), to promote and enhance the developmental needs and skills shortages of girl learners from rural and previously disadvantaged communities and to ensure their success as active participants in the economy of the country.

The Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services will provide support to 10 TechnoGirl beneficiaries on an annual basis, over a five-year period.

TechnoGirl is a flagship programme of the Department of Women, in partnership with United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Department of Basic Education, State Information Technology Agency (SITA) and TechnoGirl Trust.

Ndabeni-Abrahams said South Africa will for the first time host the 2018 International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Telecom World in Durban from 9 to 13 September 2018.

The conference will be hosted for the first time on the continent in order to increase the participation of other African countries, thereby increasing the possibilities of investment in ICT on the continent.

The Deputy Minister said the conference will be a gathering whereby the Ministers of ICT throughout the world get together to discuss the policies, regulations, spectrum and innovations.

As we talk about connecting people in our country, we also talking about our country being connected to the world. It is a gathering of sharing experiences, exposing the work that we are doing but most importantly trying to find each other in terms of the policy directives that must be issued, she said.

The conference is hosted at a time when South Africa is implementing key national projects through the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services.

These include the National e-Government Strategy focusing on digital transformation of government services and the National ICT Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprise (SMME) strategy which seek to unlock the potential of South African ICT Small, Medium and Micro-sized Enterprises (SMMEs) sector.

Source: South African Government News Agency