The Acting Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Transport, Mr Lisa Mangcu, has expressed concern over the continuous breakdowns of the licence-producing machine that is used by the Driving Licence Card Account.

He said the breakdowns caused unnecessary panic among South Africans and should be attended to urgently.

This comes after reports that the machine was broken down for two weeks, with warnings from political parties that this could lead to a backlog in processing the cards.

The Department of Transport on Thursday issued a statement denying that the machine was out of service – but acknowledged that it was temporarily offline due to load shedding, maintenance and other technical glitches.

“The machine is old, but that should not be an excuse,” Mangcu said. “The transport portfolio should not at any stage be found wanting given its critical role not only on service delivery but driving the economy to new heights.”

The portfolio committee had concluded its engagements on annual reports and financial statements with all entities in the portfolio. The Budget Reviews and Recommendations Reports process is in alignment with statutory requirements where the government needed to update Parliament on its mid-term performance on expenditure.

Mangcu said the committee has noted the performance and that an indication is that good work is being realised in the portfolio.

“Obviously, not all entities will record the same level of achievements and expenditure. We implore those entities that are lagging behind to pull and improve,” he said.

“It became evident that the committee needs to play a monitorial role on the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), and that patience is required with the entity. In achieving infrastructural revival, Prasa ought to contribute immensely to the creation of jobs in the country.”

Although the committee was satisfied with all the entities, it raised concerns about the pending matter of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP) and the likely negative impact it may have on the financial sustainability of Sanral.

Mangcu said the expenditure, as reported, needs to translate into tangible performance and that there need to be consequences for poor performance.

He also implored the aviation sector to set the bar even higher and keep SA as the safest airspace with grounded professionalism that is internationally recognised.

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