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Public transport scores R3bn boost for 2010


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Old 31-07-2006, 05:50 PM   #1
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Public transport scores R3bn boost for 2010

Public transport scores R3bn boost for 2010


July 31, 2006

By Linda Daniels

A R3 billion cash injection for the improvement of the public transport system, preparations for the 2010 World Cup and the creation of a pool of land for housing were just a few of the key decisions taken at the cabinet lekgotla over the weekend.

President Thabo Mbeki briefed the media on some of the decisions reached during the strategy session yesterday. The session was attended by ministers, deputy ministers, provincial premiers
and department directors general.

Mbeki said: "We also have to look at the issue of public transport in all its elements - roads, rail, taxis, air - and the Department of Transport is in the process of completing a comprehensive presentation on this matter. But in the medium-term, we have allocated R3bn for transport to address this matter of improvement of the public transport system."

The presidency would also meet every month with the view of tracking the preparations for 2010.

Mbeki confirmed that the upgrading of infrastructure had already begun and a public transport fund had been set up in the Department of Transport to focus primarily on 2010 initiatives.

Other decisions taken at the mid-year lekgotla included the establishment of a special purpose vehicle to acquire and transfer land to speed up the delivery of houses.

Mbeki said the hold-up in housing delivery had to do with the availability of urban land.

The president said the Department of Housing was leading a process within the government to look at collecting a "pool of land that was known and owned commonly" for the purposes of housing delivery.

The president attributed the ever-growing housing backlog to the migration of rural people to urban centres and also the fact that families were getting smaller.


The lekgotla also endorsed a proposal to appoint consultants and contract workers to finalise outstanding applications for environmental impact assessments.

"They are necessary because all the developments that take place have to take into account the impact on the environment and therefore the environmental impact assessments are critical," said the president.

"But if you don't have the capacity to do them, they then delay development."

Mbeki said this intervention was agreed to since provinces did not have the capacity to respond "quickly and properly" to applications for environmental impact assessments.

In a bid to address the current skills shortage in the country, Mbeki said the Department of Home Affairs had been tasked with completing an immigrant "scarce skills list" by next month.

A national health information system is also on the cards to help people who move around the country to easily access their medical files from any hospital.

"Currently, only 20% of the 440 hospitals and only 5% of clinics have computerised health systems," said Mbeki.

The president said that a blueprint for the system would be available by November.

The current Middle East crisis, which has seen Hezbollah in Lebanon and Israel engaged in a bloody conflict, also received attention at the weekend lekgotla.

Mbeki said the government would support the efforts of the secretary-general of the United Nations to achieve an immediate ceasefire "and the establishment of an international peacekeeping force".
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