Department of transport ready to take high-speed rail to Cabinet
22 Feb 2011
Minister of Transport Sibusiso Ndebele is now ready to take the high-speed railway project planned for the Durban to Johannesburg route to Cabinet for approval. Last September Minister Ndebele announced that as part of the National Transport Master Plan (NATMAP) 2010-2050, the department planned to revitalise the commuter rail network between the two cities.
As far back as 2005, through NATMAP the department under Minister Jeff Radebe conceptualised high-speed rail for the following areas. There was a planned high-speed rail for the Johannesburg to Durban, Johannesburg to Musina, and the Moloto Corridor between Tshwane and the former KwaNdebele in Mpumalanga. Minister Ndebele says the time has now come for these projects to be rolled out.
Cabinet is yet to approve the Durban to Johannesburg high-speed rail project. Cabinet approval will then kick-start a process that includes a feasibility study on the viability of the Johannesburg to Durban rail link. The plan for South Africa's first long-distance high-speed rail has triggered major local and international interest.
Since our announcement last September we have received interest from France, Germany, China, the United States of America, Japan, Canada and South Korea among others. This indicates that there is a huge appetite for rail projects around the world. The project is part of the Department's plans to revitaliSe the rail industry in South Africa and to unlock the country's economic potential and create jobs in the process.
We have also noted recent media reports indicating that Duduzane Zuma, the son of President Jacob Zuma, Lazarus Zim, the Gupta Brothers together with their Chinese partners, were in line to win the rights to construct Africa's first high-speed rail project. We wish to state that the Department of Transport will only call for expressions of interest on the Durban-Johannesburg High Speed Rail route in July 2011.
In June 2011, we are also hosting an International Investors' Conference in Cape Town to consolidate the interests in our infrastructure projects including the Durban to Johannesburg High Speed Rail project. Once received all Expressions of Interest will be subject to a strict evaluation process and the preferred and winning bidders will be announced only following an inclusive and transparent process.
Taking this into consideration there is no way that any party including the media that is currently interested in the Durban to Johannesburg rail project, could know before we have even called for Expressions of Interest, that they will win the rights to construct this rail project. As the first country in Africa likely to have such a project, we owe it to the people of this country and the continent that our green field long-distance high-speed rail sets high procurement, transparency technical and safety standards for the rest of Africa. We call on all parties including the media to give the process an opportunity to guarantee its integrity and to safeguard the interests of government and the people of South Africa for whom this project will be constructed.
Cell: 083 326 1521
Issued by: Department of Transport
22 Feb 2011
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