Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, hon members, ladies and gentlemen, comrades and compatriots, good evening.
Re lot?hit?e. [Good day.]
One of the immediate priorities of the ANC-led government when it came into power in 1994 was to redress the imbalances of the past and, in particular, to improve the quality of life of the poor. The Department of Transport has thus been given a clear mandate to provide safe, reliable, effective, efficient and fully integrated transport operations that best meet the needs of all passengers. The department is also mandated to provide infrastructure and services that are efficient and affordable. In order for the department to be equal to this mandate, it needs an efficient administration.
In transforming the department, compliance in employment equity becomes the key element. Indeed, there is compliance with the requirements of equity in almost all areas. Out of a total of 613 filled posts, 44,5% are males, 55,5% are females and 1,8% are people with disabilities. By the way, the target is 2%. We are getting there. However, out of 150 senior management positions filled, 61% are males and 38% are females. We are appealing to the department to work hard in redressing this situation. At present, vacant posts are at 25,4%. For the department to be effective, all vacant posts should be filled with immediate effect, especially the post of director-general. Personnel should also be continuously capacitated to ensure efficiency.
Of the total budget of the Department of Transport, 96% is in the form of transfers to provinces, local government and entities. We thus need adequate and efficiently skilled human resources in the department and entities. This will ensure that the transfers are done timeously and the department will be in the position to closely monitor and evaluate their use. The department should also monitor whether funding allocations are used for the intention they are allocated for. At present, 20,8% was transferred during the first quarter. This indicates that the department is on track in moving South Africa forward.
The department is spending 1,2% on employees and we want to take this opportunity to commend them as this will ensure that service delivery is taken care of.
In his reply during the debate on the state of the nation address, the President indicated that there was a need for Batho Pele principles to be revitalised. This is indeed key to the department in its interaction with provinces, local government, entities and many other stakeholders.
Expenditure on the use of consultants and professional services has declined by 30,7%. In order to limit the use of consultants, it is important for the administration to have personnel that is equal to the task. The administration should therefore provide leadership, strategic management and administrative support in line with appropriate legislation. We are going to monitor the use of consultants by the department, and where consultants have been used, we will ascertain whether there has been value for money and, importantly, if there has been any transfer of skill to the department's employees. [Applause.]
I am from a rural village or a rural community. People are talking about rural transport but they have never been there. During the apartheid regime, we used to have one bus that would take us to town at eight o'clock and we would have to wait for the same bus to take us back home at three o' clock. Even those who came very early by train from Gauteng province to Limpopo would have to wait and hang around until three o'clock for them to go back home. So, a lot has been done since then. [Applause.]
The department has to target the local municipalities as the strategic sphere of government that implements a lot of projects but in most cases lacks capacity to ensure capacity building.
In conclusion, the ANC supports the Budget Vote of the Department of Transport, because it will indeed assist in moving South Africa forward. I thank you. [Applause.]