SA Transport Conference Set To Benefit African Countries

The TransAfrica conference, to be held at the Johannesburg Expo Centre, Nasrec, from October 7-9, is set to have mutual benefits for all African countries who are currently cultivating better transport systems. This is the opinion of the Acting Director General of the Department of Transport, Mr Mawethu Vilana, speaking at the launch of TransAfrica 2014 in Sandton today (August 6, 2014).

“TransAfrica 2014 will be significant as it starts a host of activities in response to our annual Transport Month campaign, which was launched in October 2006,” said Minister Vilana. “The knowledge imparted at the conference could serve as a basis for the formulation of transport strategies and polices for the future of Africa’s transportation.

“In this respect South Africa’s transport experience 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.”
A number of important speakers will participate in TransAfrica and the three-day conference is seen as the ideal platform for major development announcements to be made.

TransAfrica 2014 is endorsed and supported by the Transport Minister, Ms Elizabeth Dipuo Peters. In her endorsement the Transport Minister says: "Transport is the heartbeat of South Africa’s economic growth and social development.”

She goes on to say in her endorsement that the Transport Department also has a vital role to play in the government’s integration with the Southern African Region and the African continent as a whole, as well as being the conduit for exporting products to the rest of the world.

Addressing the guests and media representatives at the launch in Sandton the Acting Director General explained how the Government has undertaken bold measures in response to the transport challenges facing South Africa and the department has remained convinced about its future plans and the long-term sustainability of the transport programmes.

“Today we can boldly say we are firmly standing on two strong legs,” said Minister Vilana.

“Our transport policies have been ground-breaking, precedent-setting and successful in launching a new paradigm that is tailor-made for our economic growth. Evidence suggests that we are on the right track.  Let me quote just a few examples that demonstrate our track record over the past five 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. 

“Let me summarise 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 organising such a Conference – the African 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 TransAfrica 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,” said the Acting Director General of Transport, Mr Mawethu Vilana.

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