Treasury, Gautrain planned rail expansion to link Soweto and Johannesburg

0:00
play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
(supplied)
(supplied)
  • A proposal for the venture is awaiting sign-off by the National Treasury, according to the Gautrain Company CEO William Dachs. 
  • Investment and loans are expected come from a mix of private investors and state institutions.
  • Government is expected to spend R100 billion on various projects, with the aim of attracting 10 times as much private investment within four years.


South Africa's only high-speed rail network is drawing up a multibillion rand plan to expand outside Johannesburg and Pretoria, joining a potential bonanza of infrastructure projects the government says are key to reviving the economy.

A proposal for the venture is awaiting sign-off by the National Treasury, William Dachs, chief executive officer of the Gautrain company, said in an interview. Investment and loans would come from a mix of private investors and state institutions such as the Development Bank of Southern Africa, he said.

"Cities that do not plan around public transport suffer great financial and economic consequences," said Dachs.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has placed infrastructure at the heart of his plan to revive an economy devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, under-investment and corruption. He sees the government spending R100 billion on various projects, with the aim of attracting 10 times as much private investment within four years.

His plans include the privatization of some older railway systems and routes, which have struggled with years of mismanagement, vandalism and theft.

The Gautrain expansion would add a further 150 kilometers of track to the existing 80-kilometer network, connecting more remote destinations such as Soweto, which has a population of about 2 million people.

The township was separated from Johannesburg during the apartheid era, when the White-minority government created settlements for Black people away from major cities and places of employment, while failing to provide adequate public transport.

Ramaphosa's infrastructure initiatives - including the Gautrain expansion - would help to ease South Africa's chronic unemployment problem. The number of people with jobs in South Africa fell to the lowest in nine years in the second quarter, while more than 20 million people are classed as economically inactive.

The Gautrain, whose operator has shareholders including French rail group RATP Dev, was built as part of South Africa's preparations to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The transport system has an excellent punctuality record and minimal security incidents, according to Dachs. Every rand the government has invested in the group has made a return of at least double, he said.

The rail company is named after Gauteng province and the name translates as "golden train", a reference to Johannesburg's 19th century origins as a gold-mining town.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
ZAR/USD
15.23
(+0.30)
ZAR/GBP
20.50
(-0.34)
ZAR/EUR
18.51
(+0.01)
ZAR/AUD
11.33
(+0.01)
ZAR/JPY
0.15
(-0.24)
Gold
1832.09
(+0.12)
Silver
23.82
(-0.80)
Platinum
1026.00
(+1.98)
Brent Crude
47.96
(+1.75)
Palladium
2398.50
(+0.25)
All Share
58978.61
(+1.20)
Top 40
54210.15
(+1.36)
Financial 15
11350.23
(+0.38)
Industrial 25
79546.32
(+0.61)
Resource 10
56916.92
(+2.60)
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes morningstar logo
Company Snapshot
Voting Booth
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, and I've gotten it.
21% - 373 votes
No, I did not.
52% - 914 votes
My landlord refused
27% - 487 votes
Vote