Red tape holds up Moloto project - DA

2013-11-18 23:08
A wrecked bus is loaded onto a flat bed truck near Kwaggafontein, after a fatal bus crash. (AP)

A wrecked bus is loaded onto a flat bed truck near Kwaggafontein, after a fatal bus crash. (AP)

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Bus driver innocent in Moloto Road accident

2013-11-14 10:03

The Road Traffic Management Corporation's interim on the deadly Moloto Road accident has cleared the bus driver. Watch.WATCH

Mbombela - Bureaucracy has stalled a rail project aimed at making the notorious R573 Moloto Road in Mpumalanga safer, the DA said on Monday.

"The Moloto railway project was approved [years ago] but because of bureaucratic red tape they still have not implemented it while our people are dying," DA Mpumalanga MPL James Masango said, a Sapa correspondent reported.

"They prioritise infrastructure that is not life threatening because it makes money for a few politicians."

The project was initiated six years ago. More than 50 000 people commute to work along the narrow and potholed road using 600 buses daily.

Nearly 100 people had been killed and over 200 injured on the stretch of road between Siyabuswa and Pretoria since 2007.

This includes the 30 people killed in last Monday's accident in which a truck drove into the back of a tipper truck, before colliding with a Putco bus and a bakkie near Kwaggafontein.

The Moloto Rail Development Corridor programme, a 140km rail link, was one of the "Big Five" flagship programmes approved by the provincial executive in 2006 to grow the regional economy.


In December 2007, the Mpumalanga roads and transport department announced that the Moloto programme would begin in January 2008.

At the time, spokesperson David Nkambule said the provincial executive council had approved the findings of an R11m feasibility study to develop both a road and rail link stretching from Mamelodi in Pretoria to Siyabuswa.

In March 2008, former head of national government communications Themba Maseko told Parliament the roads department was ready to start the project.

Jackson Mthembu, who was Mpumalanga roads and transport MEC at the time, said while presenting his 2008/09 budget to the legislature, that the first phase of the Moloto Rail Development Corridor was ready to be implemented.

"The primary section of the Moloto Rail Development Corridor is feasible in all respects and will be implemented as soon as possible. National Cabinet has approved the implementation of the project.

"The process of resettlement of the affected communities and the environmental impact assessment is expected to commence in the current financial year," Mthembu said at the time.

Ongoing issue

In June this year, the national transport department said in a report: "The feasibility study on the Moloto Corridor was still noted as an ongoing issue and the rail policy would be developed with an interim rail economic regulator established."

Parliament's transport portfolio committee chair Ruth Bhengu said rail should be the backbone of transport in South Africa as it was a safer, more affordable, and faster option for transporting the public and goods.

On Sunday, hundreds of mourners, including Transport Minister Dipuo Peters, Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi, Mpumalanga Premier David Mabuza, and ANC deputy secretary general Jessie Duarte, attended a mass funeral service for those killed in last Monday's accident.

Siblings Thuli, 17, and Mduduzi Masango, 13, broke down as their mother’s coffin was lowered into the grave in Matshiding village.

Thuli described the death of their mother Meisie Masango as "the worst pain I ever felt in my life".

"You wouldn’t wish what happened to our family to happen to your worst enemy," said Thuli.

She said their mother had been the family's breadwinner. Four families decided not to participate in the mass funeral and buried their loved ones on Saturday.

Mabuza said the establishment of the Moloto railway line was long overdue but the national government would make an announcement soon.

Read more on:    da  |  putco  |  mbombela  |  accidents  |  service delivery

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