Gauteng govt sets near-term road building commitments

18TH JUNE 2021 BY: MARLENY ARNOLDI CREAMER MEDIA ONLINE WRITER


The Gauteng provincial government has identified 18 high-capacity roads, or arterial roads, that could serve as a lever to support the province’s plans around special economic zone (SEZ) development.


Transport MEC Jacob Mamabolo, during the budget tabling for the province on June 18, said roads infrastructure is at the core of SEZs.


To this end, the transport department of Gauteng has introduced the Transport Infrastructure House as the virtual in-house capacity to ensure effective and efficient delivery of roads infrastructure.


“We are leveraging the use of drones to monitor construction. We will be unveiling this programme formally and demonstrating its results in July,” Mamabolo said. He added that Gauteng’s transport department was working with 12 private property developers to support their multibillion-rand projects to propel the economy.


The provincial government will, in two weeks’ time, start with visits to and roadshows of the 18 arterial roads to share information about future plans.


Mamabolo said government would be rolling out the single integrated automated smart project templates that seek to transform and turn around the project management environment.


“We seek to ensure that our service providers and stakeholders and the officials move in one step, sing and read from the same hymn book on project management discipline. We seek to have a single source of the truth on project management. This will help us improve the project procurement environment and just like in car manufacturing, ensure that we build a proper linear pipeline. The Transport Infrastructure House remains seized with this matter,” Mamabolo said.


The department is also building roads to support the Aerotropolis programme of the Airports Company South Africa.


Meanwhile, the provincial government had conducted a detailed and comprehensive transport household survey, which indicates that the cost of travel in Gauteng is hard hitting on the working class and the victims of the legacy of Apartheid spatial planning in particular.


This is without a doubt worsened by the cost imposed on Gauteng households by the e-toll system, noted Mamabolo, calling for the complete scrapping of the e-tolling system. Mamabolo also mentioned that the department would soon finalise the procurement process for the appointment of a contractor to work on William Nicol road and enhance smart mobility along the Diepsloot and Steyn City area. The contractor will take to site in mid-July.


The department further plans on delivering the Vereeniging taxi rank and handing it over to the Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) to implement, as well as concluding R173-million worth of roadworks in Emfuleni, comprising 21 revamped and improved roads.


Further, in the provincial government’s Growing Gauteng Together Through Smart Mobility:2030 roadmap, five core pillars are highlighted as focus areas, including building strong institutions, transport as a catalyst for economic growth, data-centric mobility and Gauteng as a freight and logistics hub. These remain the department’s focus for the new financial year.


As part of its mobility strategy, Gauteng has appointed a board for the Transport Authority of Gauteng to lead integrated transport planning in cooperation with municipalities. A first “strategic session” to discuss the way forward in this endeavour will be hosted in September.


Mamabolo confirmed that the GMA remains well run and stable, with best practices on governance, leadership and ethical management. The agency will soon start expanding Gautrain into townships, to drive its emission mitigation strategy and get more people to park their cars and ride the Gautrain.


He also confirmed that the repositioning of the transport department within the provincial government is progressing with its Constructing Tomorrow Today internal capacity building exercise, to drive smart mobility and grow the Gauteng economy.


The provincial transport department has committed to improving driving licence testing centres, including through the appointment of a forensic investigating team to identify corrupt practices with the online booking system.


In the medium term, the department is expanding the rollout of its smart queue management solution at all the testing centres to track real live performance of personnel at any given moment, as well as equipment and machinery.


In the longer term, the department will work with the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research to devise solutions for leveraging smart technologies in curbing corrupt behaviour.


Moreover, the transport department is building a smart mobility data centre, which will deliver a commuter e-ticketing system that integrates all modes of public transport. The department has committed to finalising a business case by the end of July for submission to the provincial treasury.


The Gauteng transport team remains committed to commercialising the taxi industry, in order to root out taxi violence, as well as assist them to fight the spread of Covid-19


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