Address by Minister Jeff Radebe to the National Assembly,
20 May 2008
Madam Speaker and Honourable Members
In the previous budget speeches we have highlighted, the importance of transport in the economy of South Africa, more recently we have restated our vision of; ‘Transport - The Heartbeat of South Africa’s Economy’. The movement of people and goods through our infrastructure essentially is akin to that of blood through veins and arteries in the human body and our transport system, the heart that determines the pulse and tempo of economic growth and activity. Globally, the increase in oil prices has led to the escalating transport costs resulting in spiralling food costs. Naturally this places the greatest burden on the poorest of the poor. This is the global context around which we present this Budget Vote..
For our people, transport is a basic need which enables access to employment and economic opportunities. As the ANC government, we have over the past five years increased the transport budget to over R 20.5 billion within a short period of time. In fact, such massive public investment in transport has enabled a major transport infrastructure development programme never before. As we all know the multiplier effect of such investment in terms of employment creation is fourfold. The representation of our People’s aspirations for a better future investment in infrastructure remains a key to sustainable growth and development.
Allow me, Madame Speaker, to remind the house of the three specific priorities that we set ourselves after the 3rd Democratic Elections in 2004. Firstly, we said we will focus our energies to improve our public transport system to benefit the rural and urban poor in our country. Secondly, we committed ourselves to accelerate infrastructure development both as an instrument of growth and as an employment driver. Finally, we firmly committed ourselves to improve on safety and security within the transport sector. Madame Speaker, these are commitments that the ANC government has made to our people, as re-affirmed by the ANC National Conference in Polokwane, as a basis to meet the needs of our people and achieve a better life for all.
The most immediate focus has been on the 2010 FIFA World Cup which is to serve as a catalyst for transport transformation. To this end, 2010 is providing the platform for the development of much-needed transport, social and economic infrastructure in our country. The creation of a lasting legacy in the transformation of the existing commuter transport to integrated public transport networks, remain our key objective.