The Department of Transport says it will, over the next financial year, focus its energy on investing in developing the road, rail, maritime and aviation infrastructure networks in order to help unlock the full potential of the economy.
Addressing the Select Committee on Economic and Business Development in Parliament on Wednesday, Deputy Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga also said integrating all forms of transport was key to economic growth.
“We believe that we are part of the economic development infrastructure departments and we believe that our road infrastructure networks have the potential to unlock the economic potential [of the country] in the rural areas in particular, but in South Africa generally,” she said.
The deputy minister also said the department tabled the National Transport Master Plan at the end of the second quarter of the 2013/14 financial year, which Cabinet has since referred to the Inter-Ministerial Committee for consultations with the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC).
The deputy minister said the master plan seeks to integrate different modes of transport, with the aim of bolstering economic activity and eventually growth.
She said in line with President Jacob Zuma’s pronouncement during his State of the Nation Address last month, her department would also create a space for the private sector to participate and be part of every decision that the department will make going forward.
The deputy minister also spoke of the special attention to be focused on public transport, particularly the taxi industry, as it contributes to growth and job creation annually.
“We believe that through road transport, we also need to unlock the potential of the taxi industry as it contributes R40 billion to the GDP per annum, and about R300 000 to jobs,” she said. “We believe that this is an industry that needs attention and needs to be developed and formalised.”
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