Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis has written to the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality offering Cape Town’s assistance to help that city weather the threat of Day Zero.

He says the assistance would be made available in the form of technical support and advice.

The Mayor says the memories of Cape Town’s own Day Zero are still fresh in residents’ memories.

Read Hill-Lewis’ full statement here.

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Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis has announced that the City has started fast-tracking social housing projects to provide urgent much-need housing opportunities to Mother City residents.

As part of this drive up to 6,500 social housing units are being built which would soon be made available in central Cape Town, the Voortrekker Road Corridor, and Pine Road and Dillion Lane in Woodstock.

Hill-Lewis says these different housing developments are in various stages of completion.

Read Hill-Lewis’ complete statement 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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Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis has invited international businesses, attending this year’s Mining Indaba, to set up offices here in the Mother City.

He says businesses can then use Cape Town as their base from which to interact and engage with their global partners.

Hill-Lewis officially opened the investment gathering at the CTICC this week where he welcomed more than 6,000 visitors to the City.

He says Cape Town already plays home to hundreds of other international companies and has the necessary workforce, infrastructure, and skills.

Hill-Lewis told delegates that South Africa needs serious and urgent economic reform to grow the economy, create jobs and get people out of poverty.

He says in Cape Town, the local government is showing what can be achieved with a capable state and taking bold steps towards becoming the best place in Africa to do business.

He adds that the City is ramping up our call for “functional federalism”.

This means that where other spheres of government can perform functions more effectively than the national government, those functions should be devolved.

He invited CEOs and executives of firms considering leaving South Africa for elsewhere on the continent or around the world, to not leave South Africa without finding out what Cape Town has to offer.

Read the Mayor’s complete statement here.

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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.”