Transport Month kicks off

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters kicked off Transport Month, marked in October, by urging all road users to make road safety a priority.

“Road safety is everyone’s responsibility, whether you are a vehicle driver, passenger or pedestrian,” the Minister said on Saturday at the launch Transport Month at Tlhatlhaganyane village near Sun City in the North West.

The Minister officially opened the road between Matooster and Ruighoek, which links other villages to Pilanesberg and Rustenburg and conducted a road block before officially launching the month.

“Government, through our law enforcement agencies, will continue to ensure that we get rid of bad elements on our roads who continue unabated to cause unnecessary pain to families and hurt the South African economy because the majority of people who get involved in the majority of these crashes are young people, who are bread winners in their families and who are still economically active,” Minister Peters said.

Minister Peters said she hoped the introduction of Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) will help address the situation by encouraging responsible driving habits and adherence to traffic laws among motorists.

“We are determined to reduce this unacceptably high number of crashes and deaths on our roads and all our provinces have put in place plans to ensure that we achieve a 50% reduction in fatalities and crashes based on last year’s figures.”

Government is also in the final stages of completing the National Road Safety Strategy.

“The intention of the Road Safety Strategy is to highlight the main factors which are often the root cause of carnages in our roads,” the Minister said.

The month-long campaign which is being held under the theme: “Together we move South Africa forward” will also be an opportunity to showcase transport infrastructure projects and promote the use of public transport.

The month will also focus on infrastructure projects with major socio-economic spin-offs in the modes of transport such as road, aviation, maritime, rail and public transport.

With regards to air transport, Minister Peters noted that Airports Company South Africa’s network of airports are all becoming vital centres and catalysts for economic growth, as well as access hubs for the rest of the world.

“They are being transformed into multi-faceted, world-class, global gateways for travel, trade and commerce. As a result, business opportunities abound, particularly in property, retail and advertising,” she said, adding that government remains committed to turning them into aerotropolis.

An aerotropolis is where a range of manufacturing, logistics and commercial facilities, complemented by hotels, retail outlets, entertainment complexes and offices are clustered around an airport.

On maritime, Minister Peters said under Operation Phakisa, a group of local and international investors have collaborated to operate South African flagged ships.

There are currently three ships – Cape Orchid, Cape Enterprise and Oliphant – that are registered on the South Africa register.

The South African International Maritime Institute (SAIMI) in partnership with the Department of Higher Education and Training have implemented the National Cadetship Programme to address the backlog as a result of the lack of berth.

As such 124 cadets were placed on 18 partner vessels.

With regards to developments in rail, the Minister said progress was underway for the development of the Moloto Road Development Corridor which will see the investment in passenger rail to offer commuters a safer, faster and more accessible connection between Mpumalanga and Gauteng.

PRASA and China Communication Construction Company Limited have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to explore areas of possible cooperation on the planning and implementation of the initiative.

The refurbishment of the road will take five years to complete and will amount to about R4.5 billion while 5500 jobs will be created, the Minister said

“Moloto Road is notoriously known as the road of death and we are going to transform it into a road of hope,” Minister Peters said.

According to statistics, between January 2012 and May 2014, there were 489 crashes on Moloto Road that resulted in 158 deaths and 594 serious injuries.

On initiatives undertaken on the road sector, the Minister said in the Eastern Cape, SANRAL was busy appointing service providers for the construction of two new mega-bridges that will bring communities closer to each other, as well as other urban centres such as Mthatha.

The mega-bridges are part of the N2 Wild Coast Toll Road project that will include nine major bridges, three interchange bridges and new roads.

On the N3 route, government was busy upgrading the route at a tune of R8,3 billion while on the N1 north, is the SANRAL building a ring road around the town of Musina that will cost about R700 million.

Source: Government Communication and Information System.