In recent decades, South African transport policy – as in many other countries – has given priority almost exclusively to the expansion of the road network, which in turn has promoted private transport in the cities as well. The expansion of public transport and infrastructure for non-motorised transport, such as cycling or walking, has been neglected in the cities. About 80% of South Africans rely on public transport, which is usually available, but often only in the form of private minibuses. These are sometimes overcrowded and too expensive for many residents of townships and outlying areas. Transportation costs for residents of poorly integrated townships can represent a high percentage (30% or more) of monthly expenses and thus represent a major burden.
Walking and bicycling are touted as healthy and cost-effective alternatives, but the barriers associated with this mode of transportation relate to safety and the provision of adequate infrastructure.
The Minister of Environment works with other ministries to promote social, economic, and environmental development. And implementing programmes like the NMT initiative is one way to address these issues. In recent years, the Integrated Public Transportation Network (IPTN) system has been increasingly promoted by the Minister of Transport, along with other public transportation solutions. The goal is to overcome the urban legacy of the apartheid regime by connecting townships to central business districts through improved public transportation.