By Qhawekazi Memani – 02 December 2020
Professor John Maluleke
The Department of Logistics and Supply Chain Management at the Vaal University of Technology (VUT), hosted a webinar public lecture entitled: South African Integrated Transport Planning approach: A precursor for efficient transport systems in the African Continent. The public lecture was intended to discuss why ITP is essential for developing countries in Africa, with SA being a case in point. The public lecture was held on 25 November 2020, and the presenter was Professor (Prof) John Maluleke.
Prof John Maluleke is a renowned transport economist who has over 44 years of experience in logistics and transportation. Among other qualifications, Prof Maluleke is a holder of a D. Com degree in Transport Economics from UNISA. His vast experience includes working for in the rail industry for 27 years and being involved with numerous projects within both the private and public sectors in South Africa. In 2015, an Honorary Professorship in Logistics was conferred on Dr Maluleke by the Department of Business Management at the University of Pretoria. The Ms Koleka Rangaza from the Department of Logistics and Supply Chain Management was the program director for the event.
Before introducing his topic, Prof Maluleke remarked that the idea for holding the public lecture was conceived when Prof Chengedzai Mafini approached him at the UNISA main campus during the launch of the Institute for Supply Chain Research in 2019, after which he then agreed to share his knowledge with the academic community. He was also excited to notice that Prof Roy Dhurup, Executive Dean: Faculty of Management Sciences was part of the audience. He further said, “this occasion needs the support of faculty management so that decisions at a strategic level could be made based on what was presented”.
Prof Maluleke mentioned that his research is based on current practices in the South African transport sector, and what has been achieved so far. He further indicated that he had been involved in all sorts of transportation plans at the national, provincial, and municipal government levels. He felt that the information he imparted is quite useful and can enable higher education institutions to determine whether transport planning should be introduced as a curriculum in higher education, which ensures that by the time they get into various industries, graduates would recognise the relevance of what they would have learnt during their studies. The possibilities of exporting the knowledge held to the country’s neighbours can also be pursued.
In discussing the ITP approach, Prof Maluleke noted that “Contemporary society is entirely dependent on the reliable, efficient and effective transport system. It needs to be accepted that the system’s interaction with the macro-environment causes several negative externalities. Often, such a system’s externalities precipitate serious health and environmental problems. The operation of transport often results in the emissions of poisonous gases and ultimately, becomes a health hazard to human life. In circumventing the complexities in the transport operating space, SA continues to make great strides in the integrated transport Planning environment. The South African National Department of Transport has crafted ‘Authentic Planning Guidelines and the execution of such plans will certainly yield positive outcomes that are more than the negative externalities.”
Prof Maluleke also highlighted other notable ITP related challenges that still have to be addressed. These include dealing with the complex categories of ITP in SA, the relationship between ITP and other statutory plans, creating enabling legislation and regulatory committees, the interaction between transport and cross-border road transport, and developing a unified transportation agenda for the entire African continent.
Participants were provided with an opportunity to ask questions, which were then attended to by the speaker. The public lecture closed with acknowledgements from Mr Tebogo Mofokeng, an nGAP lecturer from the Department of Logistics and Supply Chain Management.