The National Land Transport Bill establishes a land transport regulator and a national public transport licensing control system through all layers of national, provincial and local government.

According to the bill, which was discussed yesterday by the national assembly transport portfolio committee, the regulator will oversee fares charged for public transport throughout the country. Provincial regulators will be formed to decide on applications for transport operating licences, including registering minibus taxi associations.

Under the bill, the transport minister must establish a national land transport fund, to be paid money appropriated by parliament and a percentage of the fuel levy.

From this fund, the minister can allocate to provinces and municipal transport authorities – which could embrace one or more municipality. All transport authorities must submit to provincial ministers integrated five-year transport plans on the first day of the financial year determined by the minister.

At present, provincial, national and local governments have a plethora of laws governing public transport. The bill aims to provide a framework for the entire country.

ANC MP and transport portfolio committee chairman Jeremy Cronin expressed the hope that the legislation would be ready for enactment before elections expected early next year.

The government believes intermodal networks need to be established, allowing consumers to use rail and road transport.

In a written submission to the committee, Eric Cornelius, the executive manager of the Southern African Bus Operators’ Association, warned that negotiations on bus services – including suggested subsidised services – would be complex.

The Tourism Business Council of SA noted that the bill introduced “the radical concept” of accrediting tourism operators and linking them to their vehicles, rather than accrediting just the vehicle as in the past. “A thorough discussion” was needed on how this would increase administrative burdens.

PUBLICATION: Business Report
AUTHOR: Donwald Pressly
DATED: 30th July 2008