Can Mbalula drive change in Transport?
Since 2008 South Africa has had seven
transport ministers, none of whom have been able to deal with some of the most
pressing transport issues.
The first issue OUTA is calling on Minister Mbalula to address is the e-toll debacle. By pulling the plug on this failed scheme the Minister will show his commitment to dealing with irrational decisions that have haunted this department in the past. Aside from the e-toll scheme he will have to address the outstanding matter of the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Amendment Bill which is pending the President's signature.
OUTA has written to the President with a request to engage with civil society before signing the AARTO bill into law. In its current format it is flawed and may generate significant administrative problems for government.
In addition, the new minister will have to get on top of the growing problem of road death fatalities, which none of the previous ministers were able to tackle. South Africa was party to the UN Decade of Action on Road Safety almost a decade ago but our road fatality rate has remained high and compares to some of the worst globally.
Furthermore, the problems and funding shortfalls at the Road Accident Fund (RAF) have worsened over time, as have the many issues related to the taxi industry controls, vehicle and driver licensing and public transport challenges.
OUTA is confident that Minister Mbalula has the energy for this role. The big question is, does he have the willingness to engage with civil society and to obtain meaningful and professional advice as he sets up the task teams that will assist in finding lasting solutions?
“We believe that Minister Mbalula will do well to engage meaningfully with civil society and Government’s critics when seeking solutions to the country’s transport challenges,” says Wayne Duvenage, OUTA’s CEO. “We also hope that he will bring in advisors with experience and expertise in transport management, as government officials often make the mistake of receiving input from people who support their preconceived views on matters, ignoring meaningful input from others.”