Kokstad trains to ‘get back on track’

2015-11-11 06:00

IN a major move that will revitalise the Kokstad railway system, the Greater Kokstad Municipality is to develop one of the most important economic developments in the area.

In a press briefing at council chambers­ on Wednesday Kokstad mayor Nosisa Jojozi said they are preparing­ to meet stakeholders such as farmers, Kokstad Chamber of Commerce­ and the Railway Safety Regulator of South Africa to ensure that trains are back on track in Kokstad.

The area around the Kokstad railway line, including those of Franklin going to Kokstad, Franklin to Matatiele­, Port Shepstone to Harding, Ixopo to Donnybrook and Ixopo to Highflats, was abandoned a few years ago.

Now Greater Kokstad Municipality aims to boost intra-industrial trade through railway system.

“As municipality we are of the view that if the railway line is revived it will decrease heavy-load trucks on the road and will be a cheaper mode of transport.
“Kokstad is one of the areas in South Africa that produces maize, milk, red meat and other products,” said Jojozi.

She said she believes that the railway will provide an efficient and cost-effective mode of moving goods and commodities from point of origin to local areas and deepen regional market integration.

The revitalisation of the railway line will encourage industrial production, create new job and new entrepreneurial opportunities. It will also redress challenges facing transport.

Kokstad resident, Zolile Ndamase, welcomed the initiative by Greater Kokstad Municipality, saying said he supports the idea.

“As a resident of Kokstad I believe the revival of railway line will create more job opportunities.
“Our area is a tourist destination and it will also help the Sisonke train which usually transports tourists in Harry Gwala.”

He said the revitalised line will assist the Sisonke Stimela to Kokstad, Franklin and other areas of Harry Gwala with tourists.

Ndamase said the area is known as one of the best areas for timber and it will be easier to transport timber by train than on the road.
“It will be easy to transport fertiliser and construction material to other areas­ and I believe it will have a huge impact on our economy,” said Ndamase.

Kokstad Chamber of Commerce PR officer Margi Flemming said they welcome the discussion concerning the revitalisation of the railway line as it will preserve the roads.

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