Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis has announced the first steps in a bid to take over the management of the rail network in Cape Town.

He made the announcement during a speech during a full Council sitting this morning.

Hill Lewis says National Treasury has given the go ahead for a feasibility study to take place, to see how the Municipality can take over from PRASA to run the trains.

He says the National Government’s Rail service has reached crisis point in Cape Town, with just 33 operational train sets in 2020 compared to 95 trains sets in 1995.

What Hill Lewis announced:

  • City of Cape Town is now ready to proceed with a detailed feasibility study for the devolution of the metropolitan rail function to this metro.
  • The City has already issued the tender and the work will begin as soon as the new financial year begins on 1 July this year.
  • The Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Mobility,  Rob Quintas and his team will ensure not a second is wasted during this process.
  • Hill Lewis says in recent days there has been a sea-change in policy statements from the national government – they are now seeing regular and substantive verbal commitments to privatization in South Africa, from the national government itself.
  • A letter received from the Minister of Finance this week not only gives the City the green light to conduct the passenger rail feasibility study, but fully endorses the intended policy direction in favour of devolution of this critical function.
  • In the letter, Minister Godongwana expresses the view on behalf of the National Treasury that a study of this kind is essential and should be carried out by the City.
  • Furthermore, that a municipality should be assigned a function by agreement, and as long as there is adequate capacity at the municipal level to perform the function.
  • The Minister further added that the policy intent in the White Paper on Transport Policy and the draft White Paper on Rail Policy, is for public transport to be devolved to the lowest level.

This is a big deal, because up until now, the national government had tried to block the feasibility study. There is a new wind blowing, we hope.

I want to thank Minister Godongwana for the national government’s encouraging and supportive letter.