Billions for transport projects

14 February 2008

South Africa’s transport and logistics infrastructure projects are progressing well, Public Enterprises Minister Alec Erwin told journalists in Cape Town on Monday, detailing the government’s plans for road maintenance, rail upgrades, taxi recapitalisation and the development of mass transit public transport networks.

Erwin said the efficient and timely rollout of the country’s various infrastructure programmes was crucial to ensure that the government met its economic growth and poverty alleviation goals.

He said the government had allocated R7.7-billion for the rollout of the taxi recapitalisation programme that aims to improve safety and help formalise South Africa’s taxi industry, with the target of scrapping and replacing 80% of the old taxi fleet by 2010.

“The scrapping of taxis commenced in 2006 and to date more than 13 261 old taxi vehicles have been scrapped, amounting to payments of over R663-million,” he said.

South Africa also plans to rehabilitate, maintain and preserve road infrastructure with the help of a budget allocation that has been raised from R600-million to R2.2-billion.

Rail transport
In addition, the South African Rail Commuter Corporation is working towards ensuring that rail services support the integrated transport plans developed by the government.

“Metrorail express services will be deployed effectively as part of our transport operation plans for both the Confederations Cup in 2009 and ultimately the 2010 Fifa World Cup,” Erwin said. “We have committed almost R10-billion to upgrade both rolling stock and infrastructure over the next three years.”

In another programme, over 1 700 rail police have been deployed countrywide a further 5 000 officers are to be deployed by 2010.

A further investment in rail infrastructure to the value of R16-billion is expected for the refurbishment and overhaul of coaches as the rail safety management system is implemented.

South Africa has also developed a strategy to revitalise non-core rail lines to ensure the economic sustainability of small towns and rural communities, the minister said.

Integrated, rapid public transport
Regarding the public transport strategy, Erwin said the Cabinet had approved key projects aimed at achieving the goal of mass transit public transport networks.

An essential feature of the strategy deals with a phased extension of the mode-based vehicle recapitalisation into integrated rapid public transport networks, which comprises rapid rail and bus rapid transit (BRT) priority corridors especially in major cities.

Erwin said the Public Transport Infrastructure and System Fund had been allocated an amount of R9.2-billion between now and 2010 to fund projects including the Khulani Corridor, the N1 and N2 toll highway, the Rea Vaya BRT system in Johannesburg, the Sani Pass Road between South Africa and Lesotho and the BRT network in Pretoira.

Airports Company South Africa, meanwhile, is developing the country’s airport infrastructure in line with passenger growth through its R19.3-billion capital expenditure programme, with passenger numbers expected to increase to 31-million by 2012.

Smaller provincial airports are also being upgraded to meet growth demands, Erwin said.

Source: BuaNews