Remarks at the Trans-Africa Conference 2014 Media Launch

Introduction

Ladies and gentlemen, the launch of the TransAfrica Conference today is quite significant in a sense that it starts off a host of activities in response to our Transport Month Campaign which was launched in October 2006. I therefore wish to extend our heart-felt gratitude for your presence at this media launch today. 

This is a particularly gratifying moment because the Conference will present an unparalleled opportunity to engage in thought provoking discussions on the most current and vital transport issues facing Africa today. It is one of the most significant, broadly appealing initiatives of its kind ever to be held as part of the Transport Month Campaign.

The Conference could therefore have mutual benefits for all African countries who are currently cultivating better transport systems. The knowledge presented at the Conference could serve as a basis for the formulation of transport strategies and policies for the future of Africa’s transportation.

In this respect South Africa's transport experiences in particular is of value to many countries on the African continent. Our transport system, technology and expertise are, in fact, extensively in demand in African States and elsewhere.

We should therefore not fail to mention the timely response from the organizers of the Trans-Africa Confex 2014, Umthombo Events, Exhibitions and Promotions Company, for their wisdom behind this Conference and the industrious work done by all involved. As a joint supporter of this event the Department of Transport will also play a meaningful role in this regard.  I therefore have no doubt that the Conference will be met with great sense of approval by the transport sector players.

Transport Mandate

Let me also mention that, as Government, we have travelled a long distance in undertaking various bold measures in response to the transport challenges facing our country. Despite these challenges we have remained absolutely convinced about the future and the long-term sustainability of our transport programmes. Today we can boldly say we are firmly standing on two strong legs. 

I however do not intend today to elaborate in great detail on such transport programmes. But I would like to highlight some synopsis that proves that the Transport mandate continues to be a priority policy of our government to ensure a better transport system for the country and Africa as a whole. 

Our transport policies have been ground-breaking, precedent-setting and successful in launching a new paradigm that is tailor-made for our economic growth. And evidence suggests that we are on the right track.  Let me advance and sketch just a few examples that demonstrate our track record over the past 5 years.  For instance, we have invested;

  • 25 billion rand on the infrastructure and the new fleet for the integrated public transport system.
  • 30 billion rand in the Gautrain for both the infrastructure and the rolling stock since 2010.
  • 25 billion rand on the upgrades of our Airports, with the construction of the new Airport in Durban at a cost of 12 billion rand. 
  • 3. 6 billion rand in the renewal of our minibus taxi fleet and have already scrapped 58 477 old taxis.
  • 14 billion rand in the bus subsidies as way of subsidizing bus fares for our people. 
  • 50 billion rand to be invested over the next three years for passenger rail infrastructure improvements and the new rolling stock.
  • 300 billion rand will be invested by Transnet over the next 3 years on freight rail infrastructure and seaports upgrades.
  • We have also proactively taken an initiative to police our passenger rail services with more than 5000 police members already deployed in our passenger rail systems.
  • We are also currently developing a decongestion strategy for Maseru Border Post and the development of Regional Corridor Strategy to reduce congestion in our border posts.
  • This will be followed by the development of Regional Corridor Strategy to help deal with issues of regional corridors.  

Conclusion

Let me summarize by saying that there are many reasons for concluding that South Africa’s transport picture remains bright over the long run.

I am certain that with the far-sighted vision of organizing such a Conference – the Continent will once again be assured that there are many benefits that lie ahead that will be brought about by our transport vision as South Africa.

It also goes without saying that the success of such a Conference will depend to a large extent on the quality of the contributions to be made.

But I have no doubt that a Conference with so many learned and distinguished players as well as local participants who are invited it is bound to be a great success.

Let me conclude by saying that a platform presented by this Conference is a best way of opening our doors to all African Countries to share their experiences for the prosperity of our Continent.

I thank you.