Presentation of Report of Portfolio Committee on Roads & Transport

Taking legislature to the People

Elliotdale, Amathole District Municipality
16 October 2018

Honourable Premier of the Eastern Cape,
Honourable Speaker,
Honourable MECs,
Honourable Members of the Legislature,
Ladies and gentlemen
Good afternoon.

“Earn your success based on service to others, not at the expense of others.” H Jackson Brown Jr

Hon Speaker, the lack of effective scholar transport in this province is an indictment on the ANC government.

The fact that in 24 years of democracy there are learners who are still walking long distances just to get an education, is an injustice. Learners walking these distances are unable to concentrate in class, as they are often exhausted by the time they get to school.

The route they take crosses river bridges that are in a bad condition. This can become life-threatening when it rains, as rivers become full in the rainy season, resulting in learners being unable to cross the bridge.

They are then unable to attend school, as most schools in this area are affected by the river bridges.

Simply put, these learners’ ability to access an education is being inhibited.

A DA-led government would not allow provincial governments to endanger children by failing to provide scholar transport to children who walk long distances to school.

The ANC must prove that it takes children’s safety seriously by ensuring all children that need scholar transport have access to it.

As stated in the report before you, the Department must prioritise the construction on roads and bridges that lead to the various schools to ensure that learners can get to school safely. The same goes for the Emergency Medical Services as they have major difficulties getting to their destinations when needed.

This is simply unacceptable and must be rectified with the greatest sense of urgency.

Hon Speaker, the AB350 system only operates during certain hours, this is due to the unacceptable behaviour of taxi drivers, who dictate the schedules for bus drivers. This simply cannot happen, it causes havoc between taxi and bus associations and puts passengers in harm’s way.

Hon Speaker, the Department of Roads and Transport must urgently intervene between the taxi and bus associations before lives are lost. Police visibility must also be improved, especially when it involves innocent passengers.

The old convention must be relooked at in the policy, as it currently states that Road Rangers must own a horse. This is a difficulty for most who want to become a Road Ranger – owning a horse is extremely expensive. It will be more viable for the Department to introduce Road Rangers using bicycles.

This will create desperately needed job opportunities for the youth as well as for more females to become Road Ranger.

Hon Speaker, not only will it create more job opportunities but it will also prevent the high number of deaths caused by stray animals on the road.

“We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do good.” Tata Madiba

The department must prioritize the procurement of new protective clothing and tools for EPWP workers as a matter of urgency. The late or non-submission of reports is a major contributory factor for the reduction of funding. Officials need to the job that they are paid for.

The Road Ranger programme cannot only be for males only. Opportunities should be made for all South Africans.

From the report it is clear that only two females, three youth and one disabled person are employed in this project. We therefore make an urgent appeal to the department to make sure that they balance the scale in terms of gender equality.

Road Rangers are contracted to patrol 2.5km from home and 2.5km back, which totals 5km per day.

Stray animals are a major contributor to road fatalities in this province and we need to come up fresh innovative ideas to prevent this from happening, for example educating livestock owners. If these owners lose their livestock they are losing livelihoods. This would be beneficial for both livestock owners and road users.

Hon Speaker, the current road network in this area is appalling. You cannot have a situation where the residents cannot get to the local hospitals when they are sick. Ambulances cannot reach their patients due to the road conditions and therefore puts a burden on the sick patient to pay up to R300 to the guru-guru to transport them to the nearest hospital.

Any road network is the backbone of the economy. With a proper road network there are opportunities for jobs, market, as well as giving freedom of movement.

A reply to a parliamentary question, the Amathole district has 4,955km of unpaved roads. There needs to be a vigorous collaboration between provincial government and local government in order to prioritise these roads.

The Eastern Cape is the highest paying province when it comes to road construction and guess what, we are paying R10million per kilometre. As per the national norm and standards the recommended payment is R2million per kilometre when it’s in house or departmental and R4million per kilometre by a privately owned company.

According to this reply, in Johannesburg the cost of construction of a two-lane urban road is between R4.5m to R6m per kilometre, upgrading from gravel to tar cost R4m per km, reconstruction R2.5m per km and resurfacing R1.2m per km.

The Eastern Cape is paying more than double to construct a road in this province. Furthermore, the completed road is still being handed over to the province in a poor condition. Poor road construction results in the road becoming a pothole haven when heavy rains fall.

With a R100-billion road maintenance backlog in this province one needs to ask the question, when will this district receive a proper road network, surely not in your lifetime, or mine.

There is a saying that you can fool some of the people people some of the time, but you cant fool all the people all the time.

It is clear that the current government is failing you, come 2019 you have the power in your hands to vote for a government that will bring that change in your life. So vote for One South Africa for all.

I thank you.