Fikile Mbalula. Picture: GCIS
Fikile Mbalula. Picture: GCIS

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula on Wednesday announced the appointment of Alec Moemi as the new director-general of the transport department.

Moemi is the first permanent, full-time director-general at the transport department since 2011. He held the same post at the sports & recreation department since 2011. He takes office from August 1.

Mbalula said Moemi had vast management experience in government and had achieved a track record of clean audits in his previous post. He would bring energy and drive to a new, people-centred service delivery model. 

Moemi said the transport portfolio was  broad and there were huge challenges in a sector critical to the economy. Security was also a key issue.

The minister said Moemi’s priorities included filling critical vacancies, especially 21 senior management posts which included six deputy directors-general.

Other urgent priorities were the appointment of boards and CEOs of entities to ensure stronger governance and stability. 

"An immediate priority is the urgent implementation of interventions aimed at addressing challenges at Prasa (Passenger Rail Agency of SA)," Mbalula said. Its operational performance had to be improved.

A steering committee and ministerial war room would have oversight of Prasa’s turnaround strategy. This would involve rolling stock and infrastructure availability and reliability, as well as train performance. Other objectives were safety management and modernisation.

"This entails urgently creating capacity for Prasa to manage capital projects and spend its capital budget to achieve effective sequencing of critical infrastructure that will enable the deployment of the new trains in targeted corridors," Mbalula said.

Moemi would also be responsible for formulating a national policy on safety and security in public transport as a matter of urgency. Mbalula said this exercise "must lead to direct insourcing of at least 80% of security personnel by Prasa, (and) these security officers must receive their basic training from the SAPS."

The department was focused on funding the first phase of the Gauteng Improvement Project  as well as the e-tolls issue  and was confident it would meet the end-August deadline. Debt obligations would be balanced with calls to reduce the burden on road users.

Finance minister Tito Mboweni, Mbalula and the Gauteng government were dealing with the issue and would engage with stakeholders about it.