Minister condemns City of Cape Town

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Transport Minister Blade Nzimande has refuted the City of Cape Town's appointment of Rail experts to assist with the takeover plan for passenger rail in Cape Town.

“The intention by the City of Cape Town is dishonest, opportunistic and absolute political maneuvering that seeks to undermine the enormous efforts by the … government to change the rail landscape of South Africa, which has been characterised by decades of disinvestment by the apartheid regime,” Nzimande said.

In terms of the Legal Succession to the South African Transport Service Act, the Department of Transport is the only legitimate transport authority to ensure that rail commuter services are provided within, to and from the Republic in the public interest.

“For the City of Cape Town to reinvent the wheel and interfere with the mandate of another sphere of government will not be able to assist rail commuters to have an improved, accessible, reliable and cost-effective public transport,” the Minister said.

In dealing with the legacy of disinvestment in rail, the government has invested billions in resuscitating this important mass based mode of public transportation which is used by the majority of South Africans, blacks in particular.

“Our immediate and urgent task is to stabilize and provide a predictable Metrorail service within current capacity, measured by increased ridership, customer satisfaction and efficiency,” the Minister said.

The Department of Transport said government has progressively restored operational stability in Western Cape Metrorail.

“With the Cape Town Corridor requiring about 110 full train sets, in the 2019/2020 financial, we have commenced to operate 88 fully configured trains.

“PRASA is also undertaking extensive infrastructure work focusing on, amongst others, fixing of perways and signalling,” the department said.

The Minister has appointed a stakeholder relations managers from my office based here in Cape Town, Gauteng, eThekwini, and East London (where Metrorail has operations) to act as a direct link between my office and various stakeholders, including commuter and community organisations.

In the Western Cape, the Minister has established the Metrorail Security Enforcement Team working together with the very same municipality and the provincial government.

“Critical as well is for us to ensure that we provide our demand driven services according to customer travel needs, coupled with predictability and reliable information dissemination,” the Minister said.

Minister Nzimande is currently in the process of meeting the Board and Labour Unions to find common solutions to the operational challenges facing PRASA.

These engagements will culminate in the Minister making announcements on the interventions from government to stabilise PRASA. –