The Department of Transport will, in July, launch a full-scale, nationwide project to rid the country’s roads of potholes.

Minister Fikile Mbalula says the project would entail close cooperation with provincial governments and municipalities to fix potholes as soon as they are reported.

He says damaged roads directly contribute to a downturn in economic activity, and drives away much-needed investment.

Mbalula says the project is starting to show results in other provinces.

He paid the North West province a visit last week to gauge the progress being made in Wolmaranstad, to fix potholes on the N12.

Mbalula says the project would soon be rolled out to other provinces.

Watch the full interview with the minister here.

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Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis says he has written to Minister Fikile Mbalula asking that a Working Committee be set up to spearhead and manage the rail devolution process.

Hill-Lewis says the task team would be comprised of officials from the City of Cape Town, the Department of Transport, and PRASA.

The Mayor says the Committee would be tasked with setting in action the details of the rail devolution process, which was outlined in the National Rail Policy White Paper gazetted by Mbalula in April this year.

Read Hill-Lewis’ complete statement here.

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Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula says managers at different sections of rail-network agencies will be held accountable for the failure of services that end up affecting commuters.

The Minister last week paid the Mother City a visit to gauge the progress that is being made to repair and recover the Central Line service which runs between the CBD and Pinelands.

Mbalula says infrastructure, that has now been repaired and replaced, should also be better protected.

He says it is not only the government’s responsibility to care for and protect the rail infrastructure.

Mbalula says those, employed in senior positions at the province’s rail agencies, should take more pride in their work and be more proactive in the upkeep and protection of this national asset.

He says the government has a limited budget and can’t keep on repairing damaged and vandalized rail infrastructure.

The City of Cape Town has confirmed the date for the start of the feasibility study to take over the train services in the city.

The study will commence on 1 July 2022 and the municipality says it will take place  “with stipulated deadlines, deliverables, regular feedback and reporting to the City on the progress of the work.”

Mayor Geordin-Hill Lewis says: “The study will focus on an approach that is feasible, incremental, and structured. Taking over passenger rail from the National Government is a huge undertaking.”

“We must fully understand what this entails, especially when it comes to the costs as passenger rail in Cape Town has imploded to a level where it is barely functioning. The whole system – from the planning to the operations and management – will need to be overhauled so that it can be the backbone of public transport and the study will assist us in how to approach this takeover,” he adds.

The City of Cape Town says the state of the rail network in the city is dire: ” The Passenger Rail Agency of SA (PRASA) has neglected passenger rail for decades. A lack of investment, maintenance, vandalism and crime have led to a loss of assets, illegal occupation of rail reserves, and a collapse of most services. In 1995 the network of 270km was served by 95 train sets, by December 2019 there were 44 sets in operation. The central line, the most popular and needed line serving the metro-south east, is not operating.”

More detail about the study has also been given. The feasibility study aims to:

  • Develop a feasible, incremental and structured approach for an improved passenger rail service in terms of planning, operations, and management.
  • Identify and evaluate financing mechanisms for the provision of operations and capital investment.
  • Determine the financial implications for the restoration and sustainability of passenger rail services.
  • The team undertaking the study consists of experts in rail operations and rail engineering; project management; transport planning; strategists in the rail business, facilities and asset management; a transport economist; a legal specialist, and a rail safety and security specialist.

Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Mobility, Councillor Rob Quintas says: “A critical component is the financial viability of the City taking over passenger rail, and our ability to afford and maintain the system. Budget allocation and subsidisation will require detailed and ongoing engagement with the National Department of Transport and the Treasury.”

In a statement Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said he will have the final say as to who operates the train service in Cape Town if not PRASA. “The White Paper on National Rail Policy, recently approved by Cabinet acknowledges the importance of devolving public transport functions to the lowest level of government. To this end, the Policy requires the development and approval of a Devolution Strategy for Commuter Rail to guide the assignment of the commuter rail function at municipal level,” said Mbalula.

He added: “The National Land Transport Act of 2009 (NLTA) provides for service level planning by municipalities for passenger rail service on a corridor basis. The law imposes a number of obligations on a municipality in integrating passenger rail planning in its integrated public transport networks.”

 

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has commended South African motorists for adhering to the rules of the road this Easter long weekend.
He released the 2022 Easter Road death statistics this week and said there has been a marked decrease in the number of transgressions recorded on the country’s roads.
Mbalula said this improved behaviour contributed to a decrease in the number of road accidents and fatalities.

162 people died on SA roads this Easter while, over the same period last year, 235 perished in vehicle accidents.

Motorists, whose license cards expired during the hard lockdown, have only one week left, in which to renew their licences.

Mbalula yesterday said the deadline, for those whose licence cards expired between 26 March 2020 and 31 August 2021, will not be extended again.

He says the country currently has a backlog of 1.3-million expired licence cards that have yet to be renewed.

Driver’s licence offices will, for the next few days, be open for an extra two hours per day to allow motorists to renew their licences before the 5th of May cut-off date.

The minister says several measures have been implemented at traffic offices to assist motorists with renewing their licence cards in time.

Mbalula says offices will also be open on weekends, on both Saturdays and Sundays.

Read his full statement here.

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