Transport budget set to increase by R15 billion over next three years

Transport budget set to increase by R15 billion over next three years

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Cape Town – TRANSPORT Minister says the budget for his department would increase by R15 billion over the next three years.

“In our 2021/22 budget, expenditure is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 8.1%, from R57.3bn in 2020/21 to R72.5bn in 2023/24,” Mbalula said when tabling his budget vote in Parliament on Friday.

He said the substantial share of the expenditure was directed towards rail infrastructure, maintenance, operations and inventories.

The balance of the budget, the minister said, was reserved for the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) for the upgrading and maintenance of the national road network as well as provinces and municipalities for the construction, operations and maintenance of transport infrastructure and services.

However, the salary bill would decrease from the R536.8 million allocation in 2020/21 to R531.5m in 2023/24.

“Spending on goods and services is expected to increase at an average annual rate of 2.3% from R849m in 2020/21 to R909.7m in 2023/24,” he said.

Mbalula also said the allocations to the civil aviation programme was expected to decrease from R2.7bn to R319.2m due to the capitalisation of Airports Company South Africa, which needed support due to travel restrictions arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said transfers to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) amounted to R57bn.

However, delays in the rolling stock fleet renewal programme along with poor spending on rail infrastructure and the effects of the pandemic, specifically lockdown restrictions have necessitated the reprioritisation of funds to support other transport sector entities.

“The reprioritisation included a R2.3bn capitalisation of Acsa and the R1.1bn once-off gratuity to the taxi industry in 2020/21.

“Over the medium term, capital transfers to Prasa are expected to increase at an average annual rate at 164.3%, from R700m in 2020/21 to R12.9bn in 2023/24.”

Mbalula said operational transfers were temporarily increased in 2020/21 to offset revenue loss during the Covid-19 lockdown.

“However, as they normalise over the medium term, operational transfers to Prasa are expected to decrease at an average annual rate of 5%, from R8.8bn in 2020/21 to R7.5bn in 2023/24.”

He also said with an allocation of R104.1bn over the period ahead, the department facilitated activities related to the maintenance of the road network.

“Transfers to the agency account for 31% of the department’s budget and 62.2% of the department’s budget for road transport specifically.

“A core focus over the medium term is the upgrade of the R573, popularly known as the Moloto Road, with an allocation of R2.7bn.”

Mbalula said transfers to fund reduced tariffs for the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) amounted to R2bn over the medium term, while 53.6% or R34.8bn of allocations to the agency were to maintain the national network of non-toll roads.

“The maintenance of provincial roads is largely funded through the provincial roads maintenance grant, with an allocation of R37.5bn over the medium term.

“Funds from the grant are expected to be used for resealing 17 842 lane kilometres, rehabilitating 6 806 lane kilometres, and blacktop-patching 4.5 million square kilometres.”

The minister said a special allocation of R630m within the provincial roads maintenance grant for the maintenance of rural roads was made.

“Through this programme, provinces have already reported the creation of estimated 13 691 job opportunities to date, with a target of 37 000 jobs over medium term.”

Mbalula said the allocations made to cities through the public transport network grant were expected to increase over the medium term from R4.4bn in 2020/21 to R6.8bn in 2023/24.

The grant provides funding for infrastructure and indirect costs of operating bus rapid transit systems in Joburg, Tshwane, Cape Town, George, Nelson Mandela Bay and Ekurhuleni.

“In these cities, funding from the grant is expected to lead to a combined increase in the number of BRT weekday passenger trips from 154 799 in 2020/21 to 323 323 in 2023/24,” he said.

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