The newly-appointed minister issued a statement on Tuesday on the developments in the Moloto Development Corridor.
The R573 Moloto Road, which is one of South Africa’s busiest and essential economic routes connecting the three provinces of Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo, is used by approximately 50 000 commuters daily; including buses, taxis and heavy trucks.
Over the five-year period of the upgrade an estimated total of 12 500 jobs will be created and the road will not be tolled, said the statement.
The Mpumalanga and Limpopo Moloto Road sections were incorporated into the South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (Sanral) network in 2015. The road agency has since then started with a wide range of interventions in terms of road maintenance that include, the repair of dangerous wash-aways in the Moteti area in Limpopo, opening and clearing of storm water pipes/culverts, repairing gravel shoulders and repairing road signs and markings.
Maswanganyi said that the Moloto Road project forms part of the programme coordinated by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission, which identified 18 strategic infrastructure projects (SIPs) being undertaken to rejuvenate the South African economy.
“It is part of SIP1, which is designed to unlock the northern mineral belt with the Waterberg as the catalyst. It will include the development of a logistics corridor to connect Gauteng with Mpumalanga and Limpopo."
Maswanganyi said that apart from boosting the Waterberg mineral belt, SIP1 will also boost local economies along the Moloto Road - notably the Sekhukhune District in Limpopo and Dr J S Moroka and Thembisile Hani municipalities in the Nkangala District Municipality in Mpumalanga.
On the road construction side, Sanral has advertised and appointed two construction companies on the Limpopo and Mpumalanga sides of the road construction, whilst the road Gauteng province is yet to appoint a company with Sanral as an implementing agency.
On the current construction contracts, 20% of the contract value is set aside for SMMEs of CIDB grading 1 to 6. These SMMEs will be procured during the construction period.
The Moloto Development Corridor will also include investment in passenger rail services so as to offer commuters a safer, faster and more accessible connection between these three provinces.
Rail system will form the backbone of both the public transport system and the corridor development process. The rail stations and transfer facilities will become the centre points for nodal developments. All commuters and the non-commuting public will use the rail facilities around the station and the node in general as the basis and position for all commercial and other economic activities along the corridor.
The aim is that commuters must support local trade to uplift the local economy.
Maswanganyi also indicated the rail development corridor will also facilitate the creation of new local production and services and therefore the creation of local employment opportunities.
“Aim is also to reduce the relative number of people that will travel long distances for work and other purposes because this development will create an opportunity for a higher percentage of people that will find employment locally,” said the minister.
Given the scale of the proposed changes, an intergovernmental structure will be established to coordinate the process between national, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo provinces and Tshwane municipality.