Durban rapid-rail project gets green light

2013-02-28 13:13

Government will go ahead with the long-awaited Durban to Pietermaritzburg high-speed rail link for business use, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize announced today.

Delivering his state of the province address in Pietermartizburg, Mkhize said that a customised business train had been built at a cost of R60 million.

He said following the transfer of the route from Metrorail to the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa), trial runs had been carried out for the service, which will see the use of four such trains by the end of the 2013/14 financial year.

Mkhize said his government wanted to promote public transport over private car use and was encouraging a shift by car users to more affordable, safe, convenient and faster public transport services.

The Pietermaritzburg station, he said, would be upgraded by Prasa.

Further new rail links were being investigated for linking Durban by fast train with the King Shaka Airport.

The bulk of Mkhize’s speech focused on the role of his administration in implementing national government’s National Development Plan (NDP).

Mkhize said for the country to create 11 million new jobs by 2030, 2.1 million would have to be created by KwaZulu-Natal, requiring economic growth of at least 4% yearly between now and 2030. Present growth, he said, had been reduced from 2.1% to 1.8%.

Of the 18 Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPS) in his state of the nation address, 15 involved KwaZulu-Natal, Mkhize said.

He said the province had created 89 455 full-time jobs and nearly 325 000 part-time jobs through the expanded public works programme.

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