R750bn for transport 'master plan'

2010-05-04 15:04

A three quarters of a trillion rand transport master plan, which includes linking Johannesburg to Durban and Polokwane via rapid train networks, was presented to Parliament by the transport department on Tuesday.

The plan's project manager, Lanfranc Situma, told the portfolio committee for transport, that the department needed urgent approval  from MPs so that the Cabinet-initiated National Transport Master Plan (Natmap) could "get moving".

"We are not saying we are going to build a train tomorrow. We are saying we want to have to prepare a project document that will be able complete for funding," Situma said.

Natmap transport planning consultant Paul Lombard recommended to the committee that studies be done on whether it was feasible to extend the Gautrain project to the Durban-Johannesburg and Pretoria-Polokwane lines.

R750bn projected

"We must ask if can we afford it and how affordable will it be to passengers and the government," Lombard said.

He recommended the immediate institution of a rail infrastructure-owning entity, similar to Acsa, that would "eventually absorb" the country's entire network and "allow existing freight and passenger agencies to operate on the network".

The plan, which includes expanding the port of Saldhana, doubling the Huguenot tunnel outside Paarl and expanding the port of Cape Town as other vital projects, would cost roughly R750 billion should it be launched today, financial project manager, Themba September, told Sapa.

He said part of the plan was to form partnerships with the private sector to help fund the project and lower the burden to taxpayers.

"Overall, between now and 2050, the cost of the project will be around R750 billion," he said.

"We would hope to fund a large part of the project through private public partnerships. We would like to find the right ratio of ownership between the private and public sector."

Start date unknown

September could not speculate on a start date for the project, but said it was important that South Africa "wasn't caught napping".

"Someone at some point has to make a hard, cold decision on this," he said.

Situma told the MPs that South Africa could qualify for foreign funding for the rail project as it had voluntarily agreed to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 46%.

"If you build a railway or a train, you are going to be cutting down the emissions from the road because there will be less vehicles emitting carbon on the roads.

"Because of that, we will qualify for funding which other people are getting. That money is readily available."

The Natmap was initiated by Cabinet in 2007 to develop and establish a multimodal, transportation system to meet South Africa's transport needs up to 2050.

It was drawn up through the transport department by consulting engineering company SSI Engineering and environmental consultants Africon and Ingerop South Africa. It cost R64 million.

Is this just another get-rich-quick scheme for "tenderpreneurs"? Share your thoughts here


  • M3 - 2010-05-04 15:10

    starting fixing the potholed roads first you are putting the lives of ordinary south africans at risk.

  • parliment - 2010-05-04 16:19

    eish we cannot even raise enough funds to make the jhb and pta brt wrk properly

  • The Stig - 2010-05-04 16:29

    The current long distance transporation is not bad as local (taxis) so i see no need for this tender exercise when we have Greyhound and co. Remember the objective is to get rid of wild wild west taxis industry.

  • solarGuy - 2010-05-04 17:25

    NO! It is not a get rich quick scheme. For one reason only: Its important. The roads in Limpopo (Sorry Limpopo'ans )are not; that is why Juju's companies got tenders, no-one was looking. Imagine if something like the Gautrain project was treated like the roads in Limpopo... R750bn is not small change, I think they'll be careful.

  • Jakes - 2010-05-04 18:10

    Hmmmmm shouldnt they be concentrating on current issues.....uhm like the state of our roads as it is?

  • Jacques - 2010-05-05 08:31

    So, the Eskom funding is not enough for the ANC cadres!!!

  • KG - 2010-05-05 09:01

    Try traveling to Limpopo during Easter time then you would know it's no joke. We need an alternative. First world countries have systems like these in place already. From one city to another lightning fast ... Imagine getting to Polokwane in 1,5 hours or Durban in 3 hours. That will push the Airlines once more to reduce their rates to try and compete. I would give this project a go ahead ... This current ( Zuma team) will have ONE thing they changed since coming into power.

  • Ru - 2010-05-05 09:17

    Agreed on the general consent. Mmmm get current roadworks done first! And get Gautrain running. Pipe dreams.....

  • JR - 2010-05-05 10:16

    We need high speed trains to get buses and long distance truck off the roads. That way we do not have to spend so much money on trying to maintain the road system as the traffic would be so much less. If you want to send freight via rail today, it will take two days to get from JHB to CPT. A truck is between 12 and 14 hours. If we can get trains that does it in 8 - 10hours, wouldn't that be great. And there are trains like that in Europe and Asia. Our cities need to start charging people to go into certain areas if there is only one person in the car, that would help too.

  • Miguel - 2010-05-05 10:53

    750 Billion? The project will of course end up costing double it's initial estimates as more billionaires are made in South Africa. The poor, already seriously over taxed public will end up funding this project. If this pipe dream goes ahead, how will the rail network be maintained? If it's maintained as well as the road network, I won't be catching any trains.

  • Gusheshe - 2010-05-05 11:35

    Good Plan but premature, Taxi recap, Reavaya Bus system and Gautrain first then Sbu Ndebele can start commit his mind to this great plan.

  • Gerhard - 2010-05-05 13:14

    September could not speculate on a start date for the project, but said it was important that South Africa "wasn't caught napping"... DUH!!! Ever been to a first world country?? SA was caught napping, this should have been done AGES ago.

  • B - 2010-05-05 16:54

    JR - If you get all trucks off the road how will the goods reach the stores from the stations ?

  • Lucious Sepoo - 2010-05-06 10:42

    Please don't miss use the money because is a great opputunity. The transport is not going to help. Transport without no road is not going to work for us. Everywhere in the freeways contractors are busy BUT no different. Its worse. Police MUST kill people who disrupt Bus Rapid Transport.

  • john - 2010-10-27 10:33

    i thought that was the Gautrain was for?

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