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Single transport regulator will enhance powers for enforcement
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Single transport regulator will enhance powers for enforcement

ERT Bill will establish a single transport regulator

SOUTH AFRICA: Speaking about the implementation of the Economic Regulation of Transport (ERT) Bill which will see the establishment of a single economic transport regulator, CEO of the Ports Regulator of South Africa on Tuesday highlighted that the new entity would have enhanced powers to enforce compliance and decisions.

Joining a panel of speakers to discuss the country’s maritime game plan for 2024, Jowie Mulaudzi, explained the current status of the Ports Regulator as well as how it would transition into the single transport regulator.

The ERT Bill is currently back before the National Assembly and, once it has been it approved, it will be sent to the president for signing and come into law.

“It is important to note that the single transport economic regulator expands the regulation beyond infrastructure. Secondly, we will not only be regulating in terms of pricing, but also access to infrastructure, services and facilities,” she said explaining that this will expand the current mandate of the regulator.

Mulaudzi also confirmed that, under the new legislation, the regulator will have more power to enforce. “The single economic transport regulator will be given the powers to investigate complaints as well as enforce its decisions,” she told the webinar audience.

The ERT Bill also provides for the establishment of both a regulator as well as a council whereas the Ports Regulator currently acts as a council to table complaints from port users.

Noting that the timeline associated with the Bill was set to see it become reality by 31 March this year, Mulaudzi, acknowledged that there was no clear indication that this will be the case.

“My guess is as good as yours in terms of whether the president will sign it into law this year,” she said.

The Bill was officially introduced to the National Assembly on 30 January 2020 and, after significant deliberations that included public participation, it was passed by the National Assembly and submitted to the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on 27 September 2022.

Further deliberations took place throughout 2023 until it was passed and amended by the NCOP on 7 December last year.

The Parliamentary Committee for Transport met on 6 February this year to discuss the NCOP amendments which sought to refine the Bill’s language as well as to include aspects of climate change in relation to the transport sector.

Subsequent to this, the Department of Transport has issued a request for quotations which will close at the end of this month that seeks to appoint a service provider to review the legal reforms of the economic regulator as outlined in the ERT Bill.

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