South Africa News

Government reveals plans to control all transport under one economic regulator

The government is planning to consolidate all economic regulation of transport within a single entity and framework policy.

If the Department of Transport (DOT) has its way, the plan could be realized within the next five years.

The Economic Regulation of Transport Bill, which details the framework for the envisaged regulator, is currently before Parliament.

On Wednesday, officials briefed the legislature’s committee on transport on the progress made with the structure of the regulator’s framework – one of several key implications of the Bill.

Moeketsi Sikhudo, project manager at the DOT, said there was a need to minimize disruption to existing regulatory systems.

“There must be a mechanism to challenge decisions by the Regulator. The Regulator should be an independent organ of state.

“The review of the entity must be separate from and independent of the Regulator. The ‘board governance’ model should be adopted, separate from the technical and administrative expertise of the CEO and staff of the regulator,” he said.

The Bill seeks to promote the development of a competitive, efficient and viable transport industry that contributes to economic growth.

Entities like the Ports Regulator of SA, the Cross Border Road Transport Agency, and the National Public Transport Regulator would fall under the proposed regulator.

The Bill aims to promote the development of an integrated system of economic regulation of all passenger and goods transport and improve efficiency in line with international standards and local requirements.

Sikhudo said there were three development phases for the project.

The first phase, Sikhudo said, included seeking approval for the legislation and business case.

He said the necessary procedures and regulations, needed to resource and establish the regulator and Transport Economic Council (TEC), must be concluded.

The TEC would act as a tribunal with four to seven members.

Three years after the effective date, all the functions of the existing transport economic regulators would have been absorbed.

The development of capacity and procedures needed to achieve full scope would have been achieved, he said.

Within the next five years, all modes should be regulated under the new regulator.

DA MP Chris Hunsinger said: “I see so many entities, but nowhere is Transnet or the railway safety regulator. Do we expect regulators to become involved in procurement processes. We still don’t know how this will happen and be implemented at a practical level.”

Sikhudo said once the regulator was fully operational, all existing staff of the current regulators would be absorbed.

MPs were expected to deliberate on the matter next week.

-The Citizen

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