A UDM Government will strive for excellence in making sure that all modes of transport are the safest way of travel, including safe and efficient infrastructure. Roads in particular will be maintained in good condition at all times including signage as it is our belief that if every road user would comply with properly constructed roads and road signage there would be a dramatic decrease in accidents. All modes of transport will be subjected to regular spot checks to ensure reliability as well as raising safety standards. Sufficient consultation will be conducted between a UDM Government and stakeholders to determine and regulate the age (lifespan) of such modes of transport.
Government investment on public transport and infrastructure is pathetic, as illustrated by deteriorating roads, with the road infrastructure maintenance backlogs running into the tens of billions of Rands. The UDM is convinced that improved government investment in this type of infrastructure will create thousands of jobs, whilst improving the safety of commuters and travellers, and finally that improved transport infrastructure contribute directly to economic growth by lowering the costs of doing business in South Africa.
The UDM supports an integrated transport system, where trains, taxies, buses, aircraft and other modes of transport complement each other, providing consumers with safe and efficient travel alternatives. In this regard it is necessary to place Transport within the context of integrated development in communities, in order to attain a synergy between places of work and residential areas. Local Government will have to play an important role in this respect, to ensure that the disparity in the travelling distances of previously disadvantaged communities is addressed. Despite ANC promises of bridging the gulf between rich and poor, the poor still have to travel long distances between their homes and places of work, often at huge expense and via inferior transport services. Many of the transport problems of South Africa are the direct result of Apartheid city planning which placed non-whites on the fringes of cities, and then provided a commuter service to bring the workers from the outskirts to the cities and towns. This is why integrated development at Local Government level is vital.
2. Mission statement
To make South Africa the benchmark of excellence in the movement and ferrying of people as well as goods throughout its areas of authority, on the continent of Africa and abroad. The aim will be to reduce the average domestic commuter’s time and expenditure on travelling.
3.1. The UDM will aim to ensure that people and goods are conveyed in a manner that is convenient, user-friendly, reliable, and economical.
3.2. A UDM Government will employ systems that will place emphasis on the needs of commuters and people in general, systems that will be transparent and properly coordinated. This will be achieved by making innovative use of available technological resources, human skills and experience to render world-class Transport services to people from all walks of life.
3.3. Under a UDM Government the Department of Transport in conjunction with the Department of Public Works and other Transport Agencies will be involved in devising strategies for the development and maintenance of infrastructure. The quality of infrastructure directly impacts on the efficiency of transport.
3.4. The Department of Transport under a UDM Government will only permit the privatisation of state transport enterprises where tenders include clear and detailed short-, medium- and long-term employment plans to combat job-losses. Bidders will have to agree to prerequisites that are set in this connection and strict penalties will be applied if successful bidders fail to abide by them.
3.5. Safety of transport in South Africa requires immediate and drastic attention. A UDM Government will commit itself to eradicate the annual rate of death from transport accidents which currently results in thousands of casualties.
4. UDM solutions
4.1. Road transport
4.1.1. Road infrastructure
The ANC Government appears oblivious to the fact that the overall backlog in road repair and maintenance has become desperate. In the past seven years, it has simply resigned itself to the fact that maintenance had already been neglected since the 1980’s. It praises the work of the SA National Roads Agency for its efficient management of the national roads network whilst on the other hand it underfunds the very same Agency. The UDM accepts that constructing a new road can be extremely costly and that, on the other hand, regular maintenance and repair constitute a fraction of these costs.
A UDM Government will extend the services of the SA National Roads Agency as road infrastructure is of vital importance for the general safety of South African road users, and plays an important role in the cost of doing business in the country.
4.1.2. Road commuter transport
A UDM Government will permit all roadworthy Public Transport that are lawfully registered to carry their specific numbers of passengers provided that they have valid certificate of roadworthiness and that the operators of such vehicles are in possession of valid public driving permits.
Government must ensure that bus and taxi operators keep their vehicles in roadworthy condition.
A UDM Government will promote closer cooperation between Government and taxi associations and bus operators, through regular direct communication.
4.2. National rail services
4.2.1. Rail passenger services
The ANC Government has not begun to substantially improve and to promote the use of mainline rail services and has lost countless customers to other services that have improved, particularly luxury bus companies.
The UDM will ensure that, in co-operation with other state Departments, like Housing and Trade and Industry, densification along routes is achieved by the development of housing and businesses to increase the viability of mainline services.
A UDM Government will adopt a streamlining approach to ensure that bureaucracy is not allowed to retard progress. In addition, we believe that there is a need to simplify the chain of command between the Ministry of Transport and public transport agencies.
4.2.2. Rail infrastructure
The maintenance and upgrading of the rail infrastructure must remain the direct responsibility of Government. Taxes levied on all companies operating rail services must be used for these purposes. The ANC Government like its predecessor has hopelessly neglected this area and enormous injections of state funding will be required over the next several years to rectify the situation. The UDM regards the rail service as one of the critical components in an integrated and coordinated transport system that must work efficiently for all members of society. It will budget for the elimination of the neglect of infrastructure over a period of ten years. It is our belief that rail can be the strategic backbone of public transport and economic development.
4.2.3. Rail maintenance, repair, safety and security
The failure of the present Government to effectively address the problem of lawlessness is costing the country countless millions in maintenance and repairs, quite apart from discouraging commuters from using rail services. By fostering community involvement and placing a strong emphasis on the use of the Police, the UDM believes that resultant savings from reduced vandalism and expensive metal can largely offset the cost of security and minimize the exorbitant repairs that currently have to be affected.
The UDM would create an agency to accommodate the need for repairs and the building of new coaches.
The UDM Government will not compromise on the safety of the commuter and traveller. For this reason, it will ensure that the South African Police Services creates a specially trained contingent to concentrate on the safety of people using public transport, with wide powers of arrest and detention.
Spoornet, a Transnet subsidiary, governs rail freight. Users constantly complain about mediocre service by Spoornet. Inexplicably despite the negative consequences associated with long distance road hauling, the ANC Government evidently favours road hauling over rail freight. It allows the largest heavy vehicles in the world on our roads without restricting them to designated routes.
The UDM Government will adopt measures to ensure that sanity prevails in the use of roads for carrying freight. It is also considered vital that rail freight is made more attractive to the user than road hauling to lessen damage to the national roads network and to reduce accidents involving commercial road traffic. The UDM will grant the rail operators a rebate on the road levy, which is included in the purchase of bulk diesel.
As regards freight by the trucking industry, a UDM Government will negotiate a truck operator’s protocol with the relevant stakeholders; this will include a phased reduction of axle loads and maximum truck-sizes commensurate with the planned improvement in service-delivery of Spoornet. Spoornet will offer attractive rates to truckers and stations for the benefit of customers. Heavy trucks will be encouraged to use prescribed routes during peak hour periods.
4.2. Air transport
4.2.5. Air passenger service and safety
A UDM Government will ensure that passengers making use of air transport are given the maximum guarantee for service and safety.
The UDM is in favour of promoting Public Private Partnerships to improve services and safety in air transport.
4.2.6. Civil aviation
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is an agency, which promotes and regulates safety in civil aviation. This authority derives its funds from its operations, but it is also subsidized by the Department of Transport. The UDM believes that this subsidy should be eliminated and CAA users should pay for services rendered to them.
Although the state will retain the majority interest, Portnet will continue to control operations at all the South African Ports and will be expected to function on Business Principles. The department of Transport will ensure that the various agencies under its control plan their operations in a manner that will promote the use of South African harbours. The South African Maritime Safety Authority will continue to control all movements around the harbours and along the territorial waters of the country and its authority will extend up to international waters.