Ms Londeka Ngubane, of the School of Applied Human Sciences, was recently appointed by the Minister of Transport Dr Blade Nzimande to serve on a Panel of Experts in relation to a new transport system that he will be launching soon.

Said Nzimande: ‘I am pleased about the expertise Londeka brings to this think tank to tackle grave challenges at a time when the digital revolution is presenting us with excellent opportunities to find solutions. Among others, she will be providing direction and guidance to ensure integration and seamlessness within the transport sector while charting ways to modernise the transport system.’

Being part of this panel is a humbling experience for Ngubane. She believes that transportation is an essential part of the development of any country and in South Africa, the public transport industry comprises three main modes of transport.

‘Despite the available modes of transportation, South African transport is still plagued by several challenges. The relationships between transportation and the economy are very complex and poorly understood. Transportation is a massive enterprise with substantial direct and indirect effects on economic productivity and economic growth,’ she said.

Ngubane believes that the panel is important as it will be a driving tool in ensuring that there is proper co-ordination between the available modes, its users and the governments on local, national or regional levels.

‘The transport system involves multiple modes across space and thus affects a multiplicity of areas, users and governments on local, national or regional levels

‘Lack of co-ordination among the many actors involved results in inefficiencies and poor use of resources. The need for institutional co-ordination across space and function is critical to developing an integrated and comprehensive transport system,’ she added.

Ngubane is a young upcoming academic with years of research experience specialising in qualitative research methods. Her niche area is safety promotion with the focus on conflict and violence prevention.

She is currently doing research on the state of public transportation in South Africa.

Words and photograph: Melissa Mungroo