Appointment of qualified professionals key to service delivery: Mbalula

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has emphasised the importance of recruiting qualified professionals who will enable government to deliver services efficiently.

“Strengthening our capacity to deliver quality services to the citizenry requires of the department and its entities to ensure that professionals with requisite skills, qualifications and drive are recruited,” Mbalula said on Friday.

With the recruitment and other career incidents of employees at entities being the responsibility of the board, the Minister said the board therefore has a responsibility to ensure that labour laws and internal policies are followed to the letter when dealing with career incidents of employees.

Addressing a media briefing in Johannesburg on the state of transport entities, the Minister said there are a number of key policy developments intended to enhance the service delivery agenda in the transport portfolio.

Key among these is the Economic Regulation of the Transport Bill, which is currently before Parliament.

“It’s promulgation will transform the face of the industry and make decisive interventions to level the playing field and allow for greater economic participation by Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs),” the Minister said.

The Transport Economic Regulator, which will be established, is expected to aggressively drive interventions that will ensure competitiveness of the sector and lower barriers to entry to sectors that have historically been preserved for the few.

“The competitiveness of our ports remains one of the key strategic drivers of economic growth that will be given impetus by this policy direction. The monopolies in rail not only negatively affect competitiveness, but also stifle efficiencies in both freight and passenger rail.

“The resolution of outstanding issues between Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) and Transnet which mainly relate to access to each other’s network, will find a speedy resolution.

“While economic regulation is not a new function, it is currently fragmented along modal lines. The consolidation of economic regulation under a single institutional arrangement will ensure effectiveness.”

Entities such as the Ports Regulator, the Regulating Committee established in terms of the Airports Company Act, will be affected by the promulgation of the law, as these entities will fold into the Economic Regulator.

“The new economic regulation institutional framework will also impact on the mandates of entities such as the International Air Services Licencing Council, the Air Services Licencing Council, the Railway Safety Regulator, the National Public Transport Regulator and the South African National Roads Agency Limited,” the Minister said.

Improvement in governance

Meanwhile, the Auditor-General (AG) has noted improvement in governance across entities, while raising concerns about emerging risks at the Road Traffic Infringement Agency (RTIA) and South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL).

“The number of entities that have achieved clean audits has increased from four to five. The other five entities achieved unqualified with findings audit outcomes, while the remaining four audits are still pending,” said Mbalula.

The Cross-Border Road Transport Agency (C-BRTA), South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA), Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs (DLCA), Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) and Ports Regulator were doing well to create stability and drive clean administration.

“This needs to translate to a correlation between clean administration and quality service delivery in the portfolio.”

The AG noted that PRASA, Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) and SANRAL were the main contributors to irregular expenditure.

“PRASA’s irregular expenditure amounts to R742 million While SANRAL and ACSA have incurred R175 million and R282 million in irregular expenditure respectively.

“In respect of fruitless and wasteful expenditure, ACSA was the largest contributor to the tune of R76.9 million, followed by PRASA at R15.3 million and the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) at R7.4 million,” the Minister said.

Source: South African Government News Agency