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R69 Billion Investment in Public Transport

by Central News Reporter
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Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga has officially handed over 455 bicycles in Mpumalanga to schoolchildren as part of the Shova Kalula Bicycle Programme.

Centurion – Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga announced that the government has invested a cumulative total of R69 billion in public transport infrastructure and operations. This investment is part of an ambitious plan to boost accessibility and mobility across the nation.

Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga has officially handed over 455 bicycles in Mpumalanga to schoolchildren as part of the Shova Kalula Bicycle Programme.
Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga has officially handed over 455 bicycles in Mpumalanga to schoolchildren as part of the Shova Kalula Bicycle Programme.

A Decade of Progress

Speaking at a media briefing on the state of the transport sector, Chikunga revealed that a substantial R55 billion was channelled into 13 cities between 2006 and 2024. This funding has facilitated significant developments, including:

  • 131 stations built
  • 253 kilometres of dedicated and bidirectional trunk routes
  • 302 kilometres of mixed traffic bidirectional trunk routes
  • 260 kilometres of two-way cycling, pedestrian, and non-motorised transport facilities
  • 2,628 bus stops constructed
  • 11 new depots established
  • 44 million passengers carried annually as of the 2023/24 financial year
  • Integrated Public Transport Networks (IPTNs) operating 14-20 hours daily with approximately 1,020 vehicles

Expanding Infrastructure

Eight cities are now seeing the implementation of initial phases and plans to expand IPTNs. These urban centres include Cape Town, Johannesburg, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, George, Polokwane, Nelson Mandela Bay, and Rustenburg.

Chikunga emphasised the importance of the 14 Vehicle Operating Companies that have been established and contracted by municipalities to provide public transport services. “The most significant benefit has been the formalisation of informal taxi operators and their economic empowerment in the IPTN. The majority of these Vehicle Operating Companies are run by taxi operators,” she said.

Taxi Industry Reforms

The government has been actively reforming the taxi industry. Chikunga reported that 83,713 old taxi vehicles have been scrapped, out of a target of 135,894, through the Taxi Recapitalisation Programme (TRP), with approximately R5.9 billion paid to taxi operators.

In a significant commercial project, the Department of Transport has committed to a Taxi Broad-Based Ownership Structure. The taxi industry now owns 60% of the taxi scrapping entity, with the remaining 40% owned by a technical partner. A Memorandum of Agreement has been signed to formalise this arrangement.

Economic Regulation of Transport Bill

In a legislative milestone, Chikunga announced that the President has signed the Economic Regulation of Transport Bill into law. This bill aims to:

  • Promote the development of a competitive, efficient, and viable South African transport industry
  • Consolidate the economic regulation of transport into a unified framework
  • Enhance transparency and performance standards in transport management and operations
  • Support the consistent economic regulation of transport facilities and services

“The bill will significantly contribute to economic growth and development and promote an integrated system for the transportation of passengers and goods,” Chikunga highlighted.

National Public Transport Subsidy Policy

Last year, the Department of Transport tabled the Draft National Public Transport Subsidy Policy at Cabinet. Chikunga explained that the policy aims to establish a subsidy that is user-targeted, equitable, and sustainable in the medium to long term. “Despite our challenges, we have made significant progress in public transport, positively affecting the lives of ordinary South Africans,” she stated.

Learner Transport Programme

Turning to education, Chikunga spoke about the National Learner Transport Programme, which aims to provide safe transportation for learners. “We have implemented this in 4,204 schools nationally, with a budget allocation of R4.7 billion, offering a free service to learners,” she said.

Additionally, the National Bicycle Programme, Shova Kalula, has distributed 122,307 bicycles to learners who don’t qualify for scholar transport, targeting underprivileged and rural areas.

Under the sixth administration, 32,307 bicycles were distributed across all provinces, significantly enhancing the mobility of rural learners.

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