Rail 'the future of SA public transport'

65 per cent of fleet needs urgent upgrade

Of Shosholoza Meyl's current locomotive stock of 124, about 65 per cent (about 80 locomotives) should have been replaced by 2010 and a further 20 per cent (about 26 locomotives) should be replaced by 2024 on account of age.

Of the passenger coach fleet, eight per cent (about 103) of the coaches would have to be replaced in 10 years' time and a further 14 per cent (about 182) should be replaced in 15 years' time.

It was quite clear that infrastructure across the cluster required massive investment.

There were generally three sources of funding for transport infrastructure: the treasury, private investment, and the user-pays principle.

"As a country, we have accepted that to sustain investments we need a combination of the three," Ndebele said.

"Our initial estimate for the roads sector alone is R75-bn just to deal with the maintenance backlog – for commuter rail services R93-bn; Shosholoza Meyl requires investment ranging from R260 to R300-bn. These are staggering figures by all standards."


Nations queuing to supply credit

Some countries, including France, Germany, China, the United States, Canada and South Korea, were ready to finance South Africa's rail expansion.

"Our ultimate goal is to have an appropriate modal split across modes – commuters moving mainly through rail, appropriate goods on rail and road, and using our maritime and aviation transport to move people and goods without stressing one mode through inappropriate cargo or congestion. We must ensure that the projects are funded through an equitable split between private users and funders," Ndebele said.



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