I am excited that a project that I was part of , first while at Namela Projects (now called Namela Consultants) and secondly while here at Ingerop South Africa is about to be implemented - The National Transport Master Plan (NATMAP) 2050 project commissioned by the National Department of Transport. The first thing that was announced which was part of the NATMAP 2050 is the high speed rail line between Johannesburg and Durban (which I think is unnecessary). Secondly, it was announced yesterday that passenger rail lines will be refurbished in the next 20 years.
Besides the Moloto Rail Line which has been moving in a slow pace, what seems to be an urgent project to the Department is the Joburg - Durban high speed train;
The "concept framework" for the Johannesburg-Durban speed rail would be completed by the end of the current financial year, March 2011.
Besides the project being unnecessary, I ask the merit of starting with the project when we still don't have a complete rail policy and an independent rail regulator. Are we not putting the cart before the horse? Shouldn't we first know how we want our rail system to be like before we build high speed rails which may become white elephants because of vested interests? And what about the National Planning Commission's input, seeing that they have to plan for the country? Such a commission can be a good guardian against vested interests as we saw with the Gautrain, especially when it is independent.
And what about Mr. Setuma's statement when he said;
“The biggest cost of the Gautrain was property reclamation. That does not apply to this project,”
The Mail and Guardian quotes him well;
Situma claimed the largest costs of building the Gautrain were land acquisition and tunnelling. Neither would be a factor in developing the rail service
This is contrast to what the President of the South African Road Freight Federation (SARF), Mutshutshu Nxumalo who said the folllowing;
Now, you may ask yourself who is talking the truth but we can only know once the feasibilities studies are done. But for now, the news coming from the conference is that many people are against the project.
Picture: Courtesy of positiverealestateprofessionals.com