The City of Johannesburg cannot continue accepting its projected 1.6% economic growth rate, as it will not be able to reverse the high rates of unemployment, Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba said on Wednesday, adding that the city needed to achieve a minimum of 5% economic growth by 2021.
During his State of the City address at the Council Chambers in the city’s central business district, Mashaba pointed out that Johannesburg had 862 000 unemployed people, with an unemployment rate of over 30%.
The youth were the greatest causalities of this crisis, facing an unemployment rate of over 50%. “Too many of our residents remain without the dignity of work and [are] incapable of supporting their families,” he stated.
“I am angry that a government could justify spending money on lesser priorities while our people are subjected to the most desperate conditions in informal settlements and their dignity is being trampled on,” he said of the previous administration, noting that “shameless looting” had placed the city in dire straits.
Over 300 cases of corruption were currently being investigated, valued at around R10-billion. “This figure is utterly sickening. This level of corruption could not have taken place in a vacuum. It is without doubt that many a blind eye was turned in leadership.”
However, Mashaba highlighted that, since his inauguration in August, the city achieved an allocation of R49-million to its waste management services Pikitup for additional cleaningshifts, employing an additional 640 residents.
A further R5-million was allocated towards the completion of a shared industrial production facility in Alexandra, which will assist small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) operating in the informal manufacturing sector.
“We want Johannesburg to be the engine room of South Africa’s economic growth. This cannot happen at the current projected growth rate,” he reiterated.
As such, the city would continue to focus on small businessdevelopment, aiming to more than double its SME hubs to 14 by year-end, which will increase the number of SMEs supported through each hub each month to 1 250 by June 2018.
Looking ahead, Mashaba outlined his ten-point plan for the city to enable further economic growth, while erasing the challenges brought on by the city’s previous administration.
Having inherited a housing backlog, conservatively estimated at 300 000 units, and an average delivery of only 3 500 housing units a year, Mashaba noted that it would take around “a century” to resolve the backlog.
“The indignity caused by this lack of adequate housing is best seen by the 181 informal settlements which have mushroomed across the city. There has been a chronic underinvestment into our informal settlements. More than half of these informal settlements have no basic services,” said Mashaba.
Since August, the city increased its funding to the Johannesburg Social Housing Company to R219-million, dedicated to buying buildings that will be refurbished within the inner city and converted into low-cost rental stock that will house 1 164 families.
A further R2-million was allocated towards the constructionof homeless shelters.
The City of Johannesburg now plans to make its completed housing list, bearing the names of 152 000 residents, public. This will ensure that “anyone can query their position on the list, and know where they stand”. It will also improve the handover of title deeds, with the new administration having handed out 2 800 since August, with another 1 100 to be handed out this month.
Further, the city plans to complete 1 841 unfinished housingunits in the current financial year, allocating R546-million to fund the electrification of these incomplete housing units.
Although it was facing a R69-billion electricity backlog, the city had allocated R41-million to electrify five informal settlements, “where children have never studied with even the assistance of a light.”
Further, 1 000 households in Meriting and Finetowninformal settlements will be electrified during the year.
“Upon the completion of the R24.5-million project, the families of Meriting and Finetown North will be able to light and warm their homes against the coming winter, and these two communities will be less vulnerable to tragic fires.”
With the city facing a reported repair and maintenancebacklog on its road networks exceeding R5-billion, Mashaba noted that he had “declared war” on potholes and prioritised the repair of failing road surfaces.
An additional R88-million has also been allocated to the Johannesburg Roads Agency to procure materials and personnel to undertake vital repairs.
“I am pleased to announce that, following our adjustment, in the month of March alone, an impressive 17 696 potholes were repaired,” Mashaba pointed out.
Another area of improvement Mashaba would focus on was revenue collection. “Our reality is that we have to collect more revenue,” he said, adding that, during March, R3-billion was collected, against a budgeted amount of R2.6-billion, owing to an outbound collection unit, which was reconstituted after the removal of an external contractor, collecting R275-million.
The city aims to reach the R4-billion mark in monthly collections by the end of July; however, with over 48 000 open billing queries, of which 26 000 are 90 to 365 days old, it will remain challenging.
To attend to this matter with urgency, the City of Johannesburg reconstituted its Back Office Unit within the revenue department and made provisions for overtime so that they can resolve the open queries, having started working on April 3.
The Department of Transport says it will dedicate its programmes towards the upliftment of South Africans.
“Our people yearned for better infrastructure, particularly road and public transport infrastructure, which is the backbone of economic development towards total emancipation of any community,” said newly appointed Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi.
The Minister was addressing a media briefing, in Pretoria on Monday, where he outlined his immediate programme of action on key transport strategic areas.
“The message we want to send out is that: we are ready, willing and able to make a difference in the lives of our people.
“Guided by the National Development Plan 2030, we are continuing to build a South Africa that must be free from poverty, inequality and unemployment,” Minister Maswanganyi said.
He said the South African National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL) is continuing with the planning phase of the R4.5 billion project to upgrade the current Moloto Road.
“The Moloto Road is currently under construction with the purpose of ensuring the safety of road users and also bring to an end the accidents that claim many lives,” Minister Maswanganyi said.
In 2016, South Africa signed a cooperation agreement with China to build the Moloto Rail Development Corridor.
He said he will engage will all relevant stakeholders on the contentious issues of e-Tolling as he is aware of the concerns that have been raised regarding the funding of the road infrastructure.
“We want to assure the nation that we are a government that listens,” Minister Maswanganyi said.
The Minister has met with the senior management of his department in order to ensure that there is a seamless transition and continuation in rendering services to the people of South Africa.
“Later today I will be continuing with my consultations to meet the chairpersons and CEOs of our state owned entities (SOEs).
“Our SOEs play an important role in the implementation of the mandate of the department in particular and of government in general,” Minister Maswanganyi said.
Road is one of the major component of infrastructural facilities which allows the movement of goods and services to markets. The flow of people, knowledge and skill from place to place has a positive impact on socio-economic progress. The expansion of modern roads also plays key role in attracting investment. Contrary to this, the inadequate construction of roads has its own demerit as it decelerates progress.
Addis Ababa is the political and diplomatic capital for Africa. The city is rapidly witnessing a socio-economic progress. The progress can be observed in the mushrooming of manufacturing firms, real estates, services and residential centres inside and in the environs of the city. Population growth, due to natural birth and rural urban migration, necessitates the provision of infrastructure such as roads and others. The role of the city as a global political centre obligates the expansion of modern roads.
As part of the transportation system, vehicles used in the city also need convenient roads to serve people and to prolong their life span. It is known that roads that are not repaired and that have dilapidated shorten the life span of vehicles. In addition, they cause traffic accidents with tragic ends.
Due to accidents the loss of human life impose unbearable social and economic cost. Also, the importation of spare parts for damaged cars could consume the nation’s meagre hard currency. Thus equipping the city with modern roads can bring a remedy.
Cognizant of this fact, the Addis Ababa City Government has been constructing new roads and upgrading the existing ones for a long time now. The opening of new roads to the traffics has brought positive impact in facilitating transport net works and slashing down transaction costs.
The recent inaugural of eight roads and bridges at various parts of the city plays crucial role in meeting the aforementioned objectives. The cost for all the road projects was covered by the city government and four of the projects were (carried out) by the City Road Authority and the rest are constructed by other private contractors.
Aside from the benefits mentioned above, the translation of the projects into actions contributes in developing local engineering and architectural capacity and help to raise self confidence.
Currently, though local construction companies are mushrooming still big road projects are given to the foreign companies due to lack of technical and capacity limitations. As a result, the nation spends considerable amount of hard currency for the importation of skills and technologies. Thus, in the long run, strengthening local construction capacity can help to substitute skills being imported by local ones.
The road projects also create job opportunities for various companies with their different type of professionals from highly qualified engineers and architectures to technicians and daily labourers.
The experience gained from the projects also helps companies to enhance their competitiveness. The value chain created because of the projects also facilitates market opportunity with other stakeholders. Cement industries gain a lot and enjoy markets being created. Stone crushers and transport providers, which are connected to markets, will similarly enjoy the opportunity created.
In our context, there is a need for modern roads as the national economy is rapidly growing. In addition to that, as long as the transportation demand is increasing as per population growth, putting in place road to meet the demand is mandatory so that the construction sector will be robust. However, when talking about road construction, raising issues that hamper the speedy accomplishment of the projects are vital.
As we know, due to various reasons, most projects are not completed on time. Among others dispute settlement is the major obstacle that bog down the construction work.
The removal of utility service equipment such as telephone and electric poles takes time creating havoc on the job. According to some sources, some utility equipment even if installed against the master plan of the city, some owner institutions of the equipment show reluctance in removing the materials. Because of this, the work of the project will be prolonged. This in turn impose additional operation cost on the government. Additional public money will be spent to accomplish the projects.
The other thing, which contributes for the delay is settling the dispute with the third party arises in the process of the removal of residential houses. Residents that live in the kebele houses easily move to the alternate residential places with minimum time. However, addressing the issue with regard to private houses takes too much time.
Particularly compensating owners prove a bit complicated and evaluating the value of the house by engineers and getting the restitution money further prolong the matter worse. If the case goes to court, waiting until the issue is resolved takes time. As a result, the additional money being spent for the completion of the construction further drains the government coffer.
Thus, for the speedy accomplishment of the projects the courts should diligently do their business by shortening the adjourning procedure. The other thing that the construction work should pay attention to is considering the durability of roads. As it is known, the city is located at an elevated topographical landscape with various rugged places. This makes the city to be vulnerable to torrential rain falls and floods particularly during the rainy season.
This has its own impact on the infrastructures more and more on roads. If construction is carried out regardless of this, it can be easily demolish and maintaining the damage again will consume time and money.
By now observing damaged roads, which affect vehicle’s functioning is not uncommon. According to some sources, the substandard construction of the roads shorten the life span of the roads. The huge traffic flow as well has its own impact on the road’s durability. And considering all these, it is vital to enhance the contribution of the sector to the nation Growth Domestic Production.
Summing up, expanding roads has various positive outcome which support economic progress. Strengthening the sector is essential and to that end all stakeholders must support the scheme.
The Portfolio Committee on Transport is concerned to hear that Gautrain will receive a subsidy three times bigger than that received by the Passanger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa).
The Chairperson of the Committee, Ms Dikeledi Magadzi, said she failed to understand how Gautrain will get the largest subsidy when it transported the least number of people. She wanted to know if the National Treasury had been consulted on this issue.
“You should be able to tell the Committee the things you require so that the Committee can assist you. This (subsidy issue) is the elephant in the room. What do we do?” Ms Magadzi asked. She also wanted to know if Gautrain still has plans to expand into Soweto.
Prasa board member Mr Williams Steenkamp told the Committee that Prasa was also perplexed by the subsidy allocations. “Prasa in the Western Cape enjoys around 60 to 67% of the market share and yet the subsidy allocation is skewed towards the bus service. The subsidy allocation compared to the ratio of consumers is grossly unfair,” Mr Steenkamp said.
He indicated that a meeting with Gautrain and another with the Gauteng MEC for transport regarding expansion towards Soweto had taken place. “We made it clear to Gautrain that we do not see why they want to service an area that Prasa is currently servicing. If they are getting the money for that they should pass that to us,” Mr Khena said.
Ms Magadzi wanted to know if vandalism and criminality on trains are having an effect on commuter numbers. She also asked if there is a relationship with the bus rapid transport systems and the taxi industry. “We cannot talk about an integrated transport system if rail is not involved and talking to other role players. The road role players should be feeders to the trains. That would make your work easy,” she said.
In Africa and by Africans is the central concept behind plans to set up a new facility to spur climate resilient investment planning on the continent.
The proposed establishment of the Africa Facility for Climate-Resilient Investment is the brainchild of the World Bank, the African Union Commission and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).
And it’s an integral part of the World Bank’s US$16 billion Africa Climate Business Plan that was officially unveiled at the climate conference, COP 21, in Paris – which will see the Bank put in about one third of the needed funds through its arm for the poorest countries, IDA, the International Development Association.” To sustain Africa’s growth, and speed up efforts to end extreme poverty, investment in infrastructure is fundamental. Africa needs about US$100 billion a year for the next decade to fill its infrastructure gap. ” Raffaello Cervigni said.
For Cervigni, the need for the Africa Facility for Climate-Resilient Investment is obvious. Africa has extensive infrastructure needs – and it’s also a continent that’s already feeling the impacts of climate change. Failure to combine the two, he says, could mean significant losses in revenue for governments and higher costs for people.
“Quite frankly, failure to integrate climate change into the planning and design of the infrastructure could lead to major negative development impacts, such as crop losses, traffic disruptions and significantly higher energy costs,” he says.
A recent World Bank/UNECA study shows that incorporating climate change considerations into the design and planning of infrastructure can considerably reduce future climate impacts to the physical and economic performance of hydropower and irrigation investments.
Furthermore, the analysis indicates that failure to integrate climate change in the planning and design of power and water infrastructure could entail, in the driest climate scenarios, losses of hydropower revenues of between 5 and 60 percent (depending on the basin); and increases in consumer expenditure for energy up to 3 times the corresponding baseline values. In the wettest climate scenarios, business-as-usual infrastructure development could lead to foregone revenues in the range of 15 to 130 percent of the baseline, if the larger volume of precipitation is not used to expand the production of hydropower.
“Although it will add significant costs to our development goals, climate-proofing infrastructure provides a cost effective opportunity in the long run,” adds Elham M.A. Ibrahim, the African Union’s Commissioner for Energy and Infrastructure.
Getting right the design and planning of long-lived infrastructure like power stations, roads and canals will be the focus of the Africa-based center of technical competence and excellence. Its aims is to assist governments, planners and developers in Africa to integrate climate change in project planning and design, thereby attracting climate finance from the Green Climate Funds and other sources.
The World Bank’s Senior Regional Advisor for the African Region, Jamal Saghir, promises it will be a knowledge hub for decision makers and “a different way for us at the World Bank to do financing.” With a fundraising target of US $50 million by 2020, the new facility hopes to spur more climate-smart investments and lead the way to a more climate-resilient future for this continent that is home to more than one billion people.
Mauritania’s Minister of Environment, Amedi Camara, is optimistic that the new institution will help his country to design a roadmap for future urban development, particularly on its coastlines.
“This technical Facility will help our countries plan for climate impact, especially in planning for impacts on our most vulnerable people by preserving the natural resources they rely on,” he notes.
The Facility’s activities will include: creating an open data platform; developing guidelines on how to integrate climate risks in key climate-sensitive sectors, such as water, energy and transport; providing advisory services on climate-smart investment planning and design; and conducting training and capacity building in the region. Collaborators will include CR4D, Future Climate for Africa and other related initiatives in addition to the World Bank Group, African Union and UNECA.
The Department of Transport, under the leadership of Minister Dipuo Peters and Deputy Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga will bring together women from across South Africa to engage in robust deliberations and formulate a solid strategy, plan and time frames regarding tangible economic transformation and empowerment opportunities for women in the transport sector during a three-day Summit that will be held in Gauteng from 20 to 22 August 2015. The Summit will take place under the theme: “Transport Sector, Moving Women Empowerment and Transformation Forward”
It will bring together professional women from across the economic and social landscape, women in rural areas who are beneficiaries and who are going to benefit from transport programmes and women from various formations across the country to engage on this critical initiative.
The delegates will deliberate and engage on women empowerment opportunities in the various modes of transport: rail, roads, aviation, maritime and public transport.
The Ministries of Women, Small Business Development, Communication, Telecommunications and MECs for Roads and Transport and Police and Community Safety and Liaison from all provinces will be among some of the dignitaries attending the Summit.
Department of Transport
Johannesburg – There is an old Chinese saying: “When you want to make the lives of the community better, build a road.” Building of roads and public transport infrastructure therefore goes beyond asphalt and bitumen.
Most importantly for us who have lived under a system of separate development, the government now has an opportunity to re-fashion apartheid geography and to spatially reconfigure the Gauteng city region along the five development corridors as identified by the provincial government.
Over the next couple of years, the work of the Gauteng Department of Roads and Transport will focus on a number of high-impact transport projects.
These include the Aerotropolis around OR Tambo International Airport, the extension of the Gautrain, the development of a new freight and logistics hub known as the Tambo-Springs Inland Port, the roll-out of the bus rapid transit systems in Joburg (Rea Vaya), Tshwane (A Re Yeng) and Ekurhuleni (Harambi), and last, the revitalisation of Metrorail.
Cumulatively, these projects will create over half a million jobs during and after the construction phases.
They will stimulate economic growth, particularly in Ekurhuleni, whose manufacturing sector has been slumping.
The Aerotropolis and the Tambo-Springs Freight and Logistics Hub will greatly boost intra-African trade. According to the UN Conference on Trade and Development Report 2013, the average share of intra-African exports of merchandise was 11 percent compared to 50 percent in developing Asia, 21 percent in Latin America and the Caribbean and 70 percent in Europe. We believe the Aerotropolis and the Tambo-Springs Freight and Logistics Hub will greatly impact on our export figures.
Metrorail remains the primary mode of mass transit for a million commuters in Gauteng who use its trains daily. To improve their daily commute, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa is modernising this mode of transport through the acquisition of new coaches. We are also integrating our rail system with the bus systems and Gautrain so that commuters can travel faster and with ease. As part of this, we hope to expand the Gautrain to link Tembisa with Lanseria Airport.
Transport developments should be seen against the backdrop of the new human settlements which are being spearheaded by the private sector and supported by the government. New housing developments such as Steyn City, Waterfall City, River City and Savannah City will grow the population of our province, while transforming our municipalities.
We are working with road and transport officials in different spheres of the government to ensure appropriate road and transport networks are in place to accommodate the additional users.
The public transport and road infrastructure deficit in sub-Saharan Africa remains a challenge as this leads to higher production costs and undermines competitiveness. We have to overcome this deficit progressively as it acts as a constraint on economic growth. This also means that we will continue to maintain the existing road network as we build new roads.
Hence, we are investing heavily in the upgrade of the N12 and N14 freeways, the completion of William Nicol Drive and the R511 from Erasmia to Diepsloot/N14.
In addition, we will rehabilitate and upgrade arterial roads such as the K46 from Fourways to Randburg, the R82 between Eikenhof and Walkerville, and Cedar Road between Runnymead Road and Witkoppen Road.
Annually, the provincial department processes over 250 000 driving licence booking slots. This front-line service as provided by Driver Licence Testing Centres remains a critical meeting point between the department and residents. We aim for this service to be of a good quality and also free of corruption.
To achieve this, the department has implemented 24 computerised learner licence testing centres, which diminishes the role of examiners in conducting learners’ licence tests. In addition, the provincial department with key stakeholders also launched an anti-corruption campaign in Diepkloof, Soweto, in March.
Also, we are expanding our capacity especially to historically disadvantaged communities. During this financial year, we will build two new driving licence testing centres in Kagiso and Sebokeng.
In recognition that a driving licence still remains a key aspiration for many South Africans, in particular our youth, we are partnering with the Gauteng Department of Education to assist grade 11 and 12 pupils to register for learners’ licences.
All spheres of government have made significant investments toward safer, more reliable, affordable, accessible transport systems of the highest standard.
Through the 25-year Integrated Transport Master Plan, we hope to encourage commuters of all socio-economic categories to switch to public transport. Let us move Gauteng forward by using public transport.
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Johannesburg – Gauteng’s population is projected to double over the next 25 years, placing increased pressure on public transport, Roads and Transport MEC Ismail Vadi has said.
“Gauteng’s population has doubled in the last 20 years. We got our 25-year plan – the integrated master plan,” Vadi told News24.
“They’ve forecasted that, and we’re predicting that, again, in the next 25 years the population will double. I think that trend, at this stage, we can say that’s the trend.
“Stats SA did a census in October 2011. Gauteng’s figure was 12.3 million. 2011, 2012, 2013, we are now on to either 12.9 or 13 million already.”The department had a ballpark figure of around 20 000 people coming into Gauteng every month from across the country, Southern Africa, and overseas.
Pressure on government
“It puts a lot of pressure on government because you then have to provide schooling, health facilities, housing, so it’s not just roads and transport,” Vadi says.
“I know the education department, every year it struggles. They’ve got an upfront student enrolment programme and they start I think now already, but come the first day of school next year parents will be waiting at the school gate, wanting admission.”
“Where do they come from? Where were they for the last nine months when schools were doing enrolments and those kinds of things.”
It was a symptom of the migration, and in terms of transport, it pressurised the province’s road network and public transport.
“Many of those who are coming into the province are not necessarily economically productive. They are in search of employment and therefore they rely on a cheap and affordable and reliable public transport system, and we’re trying to play catch up and trying to build that public transport system,” Vadi says.
“I think we got the core elements, but it’s not fully integrated. It’s not extensive enough, it doesn’t allow for seamless movement from one point to the other, and therefore the very, very heavy reliance on the taxi industry.”
The province’s approach to public transport was three-fold, with Vadi believing the biggest initiative from national, provincial and local government was the bus rapid transit (BRT) system.
Bus rapid transit
“Joburg is leading with that, they’ve got two phases rolled out in the Rea Vaya. Tshwane has started now with A Re Yeng. The first phase is ready, they’re busy extending the first phase, and then hopefully by April next year, Ekurhuleni will have the first phase up and running also,” Vadi says.
“This is a five-year programme for all of the metropolitan municipalities. If we complete all of these projects on time, as planned, we would have probably about 700km to 800km of BRT network running into the all the metropolitan municipalities.”
He said the role of the province was to connect the different systems, which are confined within the boundaries of the different metros.
“One needs to create some kind of interconnectivity between these systems, so we are identifying intermodal points where you can say hop off Rea Vaya and then hop onto A Re Yeng, so that you can have movement from here to Pretoria,” Vadi says.
The second element of public transport was the Gautrain, with the project’s first phase having been completed.
“I think all the signs are that it is a very successful project. Ridership on average is growing at 2% every month. The latest figures we’ve got is 55 000 passengers daily, about 1.3 million every month. We are now busy with the planning for the second phase of the Gautrain which is an extension, a completely new development,” the MEC says.
“The pre-feasibility study says there is a basis for that. We are busy with the feasibility study which should be ready by the middle of next year and based on that report, we can then go to National Treasury, get some funding from the provincial treasury then approach the market for major investment.”
The second phase of Gautrain’s development would be a 10-year project. While Vadi wished it could be easier, when it came to multi-term projects, especially large ones like the Gautrain, rolling out public transport infrastructure took time.
The third element towards getting public transport right in Gauteng was Metrorail.
“Metrorail moves about a million people daily. It’s an old, rickety system, and I think we really, really have to put a lot of energy rebuilding that system, revitalising it,” Vadi says.
“Hopefully the first signs of that will materialise later this year. Round about November, we’re expecting the first 20 coaches to come, 20 trains. Their’s, I think, will be a 10 or 15-year programme. In total they’ll be getting about 6 000 to 8 000 new coaches. For Gauteng, we should be getting about 2 800 new coaches over the next decade.”
Coupled with the new coaches was the modernisation of the signalling system, which Vadi says at present was an old cable network which was manually operated.
“Everything is done manually and that’s why you have these accidents. They busy setting up a new control centre,” he says.
“It should be ready by October this year; fibre-optic cabling, with a very modern control room signalling system. The technology has to change, the rail technology has to change, so that’s the new coaches.”
It was not a quick fix, with the turn-around time being around 10 years, but Vadi said the National Treasury had made a commitment to finance and fund these developments.
“The horizon looks good, but I wish it would’ve been done yesterday,” Vadi says.
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