Rail Ready to Roll
South Africa’s seven-year Transnet infrastructure programme has been declared ready for action.
The massive R300bn infrastructure programme has immediately raised hopes for the country’s unemployed millions but the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Public Enterprises, Mr Peter Maluleke, says this will only materialise if the best possible management is put in place.
“The programme demands proper and best management ethics if it is to translate into what it is meant for,” Mr Maluleke told Transnet’s acting Chief Financial Officer Mr Anoj Singh in Parliament this week.
“Put very strong controls in place to ensure prevention of mismanagement, fraud and corruption,” Mr Maluleke stressed.
The acting CFO should take the Committee along each step of the way in implementing the programme, to ensure that it succeeded. “Don’t come to the Committee and say you have done this and that, take the Committee along,” he said.
The Committee told Mr Singh to ensure maximum involvement of all Transnet’s stakeholders and the private sector in the programme and to ensure that the programme impacts on rural communities. “The R300bn programme is not a minor affair. It is a huge programme, and we are expecting to see a remarkable difference, especially in terms of job creation,” the Members agreed.
Transnet appeared before the Committee on Tuesday to brief the Committee on the progress of the project, which will hopefully deliver job creation, skills development, empowerment, transformation opportunities and other benefits. Mr Singh told the Committee that it would expand the region’s rail, port and pipeline infrastructure. It would also reduce the cost of doing business and help curb carbon emissions.
The impact of the infrastructure development would be felt nation wide. “Together with current operations Transnet is expected to create employment for 588 000 people at its peak, with a large focus on skills and capacity development,” Mr Singh said.
The Committee sought clarity on the proposed Swaziland Rail Link which according to Mr Singh would present an alternative route from Ermelo to either Richards Bay or Maputo. He said the link would divert general freight traffic from the coal line and would provide additional capacity for general freight exports through the ports of Richards Bay and Maputo. It would also benefit Swaziland, in line with Southern African Development Community (SADC) objectives
There had already been some major achievements in executing the programme, such as the launch of the detailed seven-year Market Development Strategy, Mr Singh said.