Hansard: NCOP: Unrevised hansard

House: National Council of Provinces

Date of Meeting: 08 Sep 2022


No summary available.



Watch: Plenary

The Council met at 14:02.

The Chairperson took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.

Hon members allow me to remind you that the Rules and processes do apply in relation to this sitting. The Chairperson announced that the hybrid sitting constituted a sitting of the National Council of Provinces. Delegates in the hybrid sitting enjoy the same powers and privileges that apply in a sitting of the National Council of Provinces. For the purpose of the quorum, all delegates who are logged on to the virtual platform shall be considered present, that delegates must switch on their videos if they want to speak, delegates should ensure that the microphones on their gadgets are muted and must remain muted unless they want to speak. All delegates in the Chamber must connect to the virtual platform as well as insert their cards to register on the Chamber system.

Delegates who are physically in the Chamber must use the floor microphones and should switch their microphones when they need to address the Chairperson. All the delegates may participate in the discussion through the Chairperson. The interpretation facility is active. Permanent delegates, members of the executive, special delegates and the Salga representatives on the virtual platform are requested to ensure that the interpretation facility on their gadgets are properly activated to facilitate access to the interpretation services. Permanent delegates and the executive members in the Chamber should use the interpretation gadgets on their desks to access the interpretation facilities.



The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: I would like to announce that we have received a letter of resignation from hon S Zandamela. Hon Zandamela has resigned with immediate effect. I am informed that he is not lost in the legislative sector. We wish to thank hon Zandamela for his fruitful contribution to the National Council of Provinces and wish him well in his future endeavours. Hon Zandamela’successor will be sworn in in due course. I have just heard from reliable sources that it does seem as if hon Zandamela may emerge as a serving member in the Mpumalanga provincial legislature.

(Subject for Discussion)

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT: Thank you, Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, hon Amos Masondo, chairperson of the Select Committee on Public Works and Infrastructure, Transport and Public Service and Administration, Mr Kenny Mmoeimang, hon members of the National Council of Provinces, and provincial delegates to the National Council of Provinces, rail has been an integral part of South Africa’s transport system for more than a century and a chequered past that was not always positive for the majority of our people. It became an instrument of segregation, while relegating others to migrant labourers in the mines. Today it is a mode that brings our people together, from all walks of life and divergent racial and ethnic backgrounds.

From Soweto to Mitchell’s Plain, from Mdantsane to KwaMashu, from Simon’s Town to Gqeberha; as the cheapest mode of transport, it has played a major role in getting millions of South Africans to work, to centres of learning and access to social amenities.

Challenges in the railway sector over time weakened the efficiency of the system and limited its contribution to economic growth and effective community connections.

The De Villiers Report of 1986 advocated against new rail investments but rather sweating existing assets and deregulating the road sectors. This led to deferred maintenance of rail assets, particularly passenger rail, which resulted in the decline of commuters and deterioration of commuter rail infrastructure over many decades.

Despite the many challenges brought about by deferred maintenance of passenger rail assets, commuter rail evolved to become the most affordable mode of transport. The poorest of the poor relied on this service week in, week out, whether as hawkers who found a captive market or as job seekers.

The 1996 White Paper on National Transport Policy laid down the policy framework to position passenger rail as the backbone of affordable, efficient, effective, safe public transport system.

The National Land Transport Strategic Framework that guides public transport planning at all spheres of government requires the development of rail as a high volume backbone of the integrated public transport networks.

Commuter rail is a mass-mover that has been able to leverage government subsidy, its capacity and dedicated network to remain the most affordable mode of transport.

The system is broken. We are the first ones to admit that. It has been broken by years of deferred maintenance in the 1980s, by years of corruption that was laid bare by the Zondo Commission, by years of ineffective boards that failed to steady the ship and guide it through turbulent waters. We have been working hard to rebuild our passenger rail system to one that has the requisite capacity to deliver on its mandate to provide an affordable, safe, and efficient public transport.

The ANC government took tangible steps to position rail as a backbone of the public transport system by investing
R173 billion into the Rolling Stock Fleet Renewal Programme. This was the first time in half a century that the state had made such a significant investment in commuter rail.

ANC policy advocates the provision of economic infrastructure aimed at lowering the costs of doing business in South Africa.
High levels of infrastructure investment particularly in transport, roads, telecommunication, energy, and rail, create a competitive edge for the South African economy, and make it more efficient, lowering the cost of production and therefore improving the environment for investment and job creation.

In order to maximise economic impact, we have our focus on ensuring that infrastructure supports economic growth sectors, input sectors in the economy and provides for basic needs in marginalized areas.

The ANC policy is emphatic in that infrastructure should be focused in growth areas, development corridors, and spatial development initiatives, Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Programme and Urban Renewal Programme Nodal areas. A labour intensive roll out programme in identified priority areas of the country for the maintenance of infrastructure, where lack of further maintenance would mean the loss of that asset is necessary.

The White Paper on National Rail Policy approved by Cabinet in March 2022, and tabled in Parliament, seeks to give practical expression to the ANC policy trajectory.

The National Rail Policy enables us to implement the ambitious policy choices we have made which include radical structural reforms that not only seek to bring about competitiveness of our railway system, but also enable private sector participation through concessions. These choices will enable us to bring about the rail renaissance. The Rail Policy is geared to dramatically transform rail infrastructure planning and intends to give further impetus in positioning rail as the backbone of both freight transportation and urban commuter mobility.

This policy, identifies concerns regarding the country’s rail infrastructure planning quality, which becomes a perverse incentive for fragmentation and inefficiencies in the system.

The National Rail Policy therefore sets out a dedicated phased approach to revitalise the country’s railway sector by investing substantially to establish a high-performance rail sector that will position rail to make a meaningful contribution.

The rail renaissance envisaged by the National Rail Policy is a long-term undertaking by government requiring focused support for both wide-ranging institutional reforms and substantial financial commitment.

The major policy thrusts of the National Rail Policy include investment programs, private sector participation, introduction of economic regulation and third party access, amongst others.

The interventions will usher a railway renaissance in the country through investments in high speed, heavy haul, heavy intermodal as well as contemporary urban and regional rapid transit.

The rail policy directs that strategic rail network planning and oversight is a centralised strategic function that Department of Transport must undertake.

The Rail Planning Component will be mandated to develop and maintain a high-level strategic vision. It will further publish a National Rail Master Plan.

The lack of security in corridors remains a major risk with the recovery of infrastructure, and the deployment of additional security personnel will undoubtedly make a telling difference. Our integrated security plan brings together collective capacity of law enforcement authorities which includes the rail police, intelligence services reinforced by deployment of technology interventions.

In recognising the centrality of providing affordable, safe and reliable public transport services, capital transfers to the Passenger Rail Agency of SA, Prasa, stand at R12,6 billion in 2022-23 and these will increase to R13,5 billion in 2024- 25.

These funds will be channelled towards the refurbishment of coaches, rolling stock fleet renewal, signalling and other capital projects which include security of the rail infrastructure.

The Gibela factory, and integral part of the Rolling Stock Fleet Renewal Programme, delivered eight additional new trains during the first quarter of this financial year. This brings the number of new trains delivered to Prasa to 103 as at the end of May 2022. We recently celebrated train number 100.

These trains have yet to be fully deployed, but a number of them are parked at Wolmerton due to delays in infrastructure upgrades. Progress in the recovery of commuter rail will enable us to accelerate the deployment of these trains. The factory currently employs 1 061 people in the manufacturing and maintenance activities. This number is expected to increase to 1 500 once the factory achieves its full operational capacity. Thirty-seven percent of the work force are local employees who reside in the East Rand area; 439 are women, 841 youths and 16 are people with disabilities.

The Prasa has identified 10 priority commuter rail corridors earmarked for service recovery this financial year based on the volume of commuters using rail services in these corridors. With the rebuilding of the corridors and the modernisation of the infrastructure, the Prasa will be able to provide improved service levels in these priority corridors.

Corridor Recovery Programme is spread over three regions. In the Gauteng region, five corridors have a target for service resumption of October 2022. Pienaarspoort to Pretoria corridor resumption is planned for end of September 2022. The service is expected to run using 12 stations. Eight of these are operational and four are undergoing refurbishment. Leralla to Johannesburg corridor is expected to resume limited services in October 2022. Eleven stations will be rehabilitated.

Pretoria to Kaalfontein corridor will be ready to resume services in October. Naledi to Johannesburg will be ready to resume services in October. The corridor has 15 stations in total. Nine are operational and six are being rehabilitated.

In KwaZulu-Natal, two corridors are earmarked for recovery and limited service is expected to resume by end of September 2022. KwaMashu to Durban corridor is expected to resume limited service by the end of September. Ten stations are being rehabilitated in preparation for service resumption. The Umlazi to Durban corridor is expected to resume service with the old trains at the end of September. Six stations are being rehabilitated.

In the Western Cape, the central line has 21 stations. One station is operational and 10 stations are being rehabilitated for services. This is in respect of Phase 1, which includes Cape Town to Langa via Pinelands; Langa to Bellville via Serepta and Langa to Nyanga.

Phase 2 rehabilitation of the central line include Nyanga to Chris Hani and Nyanga to Kapteinsklip, service resumption is expected in December 2022 using the new trains. Eleven stations are on rehabilitation. We just came back from the signing of a compact between government and the people who have occupied the areas. We are moving the first batch of these people in November, followed by the moving of people from areas of Philippi and Khayelitsha and that brings us to completion. We have secured land and we have been able to demonstrate this. We have co-operation from all around.
Limited service is running as we speak.


We are well on track to build and strengthen local manufacturing capacity to capitalise on the successes of Gautrain and Gibela projects to position South Africa as an industrialised hub, the local production of steel and supplies of rolling stock to improve connectivity with the Southern African Development Community, SADC, region and take advantage


of opportunities provided for by African Continental Free Trade Area, AfCFTA.


We are making progress through collaboration with our international partners towards the conducting of a detailed feasibility study for the Pretoria–Johannesburg to Durban High-Speed Rail project.


In December 2019, the African Union developed a High-Speed Rail Master Plan 2033 and beyond, that identified 74 High- Speed Rail links ranked through a Project Prioritisation Framework to assess the technical, financial and economic viability. The High-Speed Rail link between Johannesburg and Durban is ranked 3rd highest priority in the African Integrated High-Speed Rail Network.


South Africa finds itself in a situation where the current funding sources available are proving inadequate to allow Transnet Freight Rail to meet the level of service and infrastructure investment required to address rail-friendly


freight out there, thus giving impetus to moving 10% of cargo from road to rail.


The concessioning of branch lines and the access of branch line operators to the mainline will form a critical part of the Rail Private Sector Participation Framework. This Framework will cover different forms of participation.


In recognising the potential role that private sector participation can play in bridging the investment gap and improving operational and managerial efficiency, we have executed an Implementation Protocol with the Department of Public Enterprises. In this instance, agricultural exports from South Africa have been the shining star in the last decade with continuous annual growth in both volumes and revenue generated for South Africa.

The significant growth of the industry and especially the fruit producing and fruit export business requires focused attention on the revitalisation of branch lines.


Economic regulation is critical in ensuring that the playing field is level for equitable access in the rail network. The Economic Regulation of Transport Bill is currently before Parliament. The passage of this Bill will create a new institutional arrangement to strengthen economic regulation of the sector. Rail is an important sector where economic regulation will have major spin-offs that will encourage private investment.


The rail policy provides that in the transition to the Transport Economic Regulator, the interim capacity will serve as an interim arrangement for economic regulation. The interim capacity includes representation from the Departments of Transport, Public Enterprises and National Treasury working in collaboration with key stakeholders such as Transnet Freight Rail, TFR, Prasa, Railway Safety Regulator, RSR, and industry bodies representing the private sector. We have also invited independent experts in the fields of transport.


In conclusion, we are well on track to delivering a rail system that is efficient, affordable, safe and reliable. The infrastructure upgrades and the deployment of new rolling


stock will enable us to make commuter rail responsive to the needs of the vast majority of our people. I thank you.

Mr X MALAMLELA (Eastern Cape): Thank you very much hon Chairperson of the NCOP, greetings to hon members of the NCOP, hon Members of Parliament, Members of executive Council, MECs, from other provinces ... [Interjection.]

The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Of course hon Malamlela we will prefer that you show yourself, so that it should minus the x, not unless there’s a real compelling reason. Hon Malamlela?

Mr X MALAMLELA (Eastern Cape): ... I thought I have shown it honourable.

The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Please proceed.

Mr X MALAMLELA (Eastern Cape): Can you be able to see me now? Can you be able to see me now, hon Chair?


Mr X MALAMLELA (Eastern Cape): Yes, I was greeting you.



The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Yes, please proceed.

Mr X MALAMLELA (Eastern Cape): Yes, I was greeting you and the hon members of the NCOP. And was saying on behalf of the Home of Legends, I wish to convey greetings to everyone in the plenary of the National Council of Provinces. It is our singular honour to partake in this important debate on ‘restoration and modernisation of rail infrastructure.’

Hon Chair, this debate is important in the context of rebuilding our economy and the people’s livelihoods, and the aftermath of the disastrous coronavirus. Like the global economic crisis that broke out in 2008, the end of the global mineral commodity super cycle in 2011, and the other global shocks, the aftermath of the global COVID-19 pandemic has worsened what were already crisis-high levels of unemployment, poverty, inequality, and the associated crisis of social reproduction.

The rail infrastructure since inception is of strategic importance in the day to day functioning of our economy. Many studies have revealed Chair, that the demand for transport is


growing fast. Given present trends, the passenger and freight activity will more than double by the year 2050. Such growth is a token of social and economic progress, but it carries with it greater energy demand and increased carbon dioxide emissions and atmospheric pollutants.

Hon Chair and hon members, our point is that the rail sector

can provide substantial benefits for the energy sector as well as

for the environment. By diversifying energy sources and providing more efficient mobility, rail can lower transport energy use and
reduce carbon dioxide and local pollutant emission.


A greater reliance on rail Chair, has the potential to cut that growth. In a world becoming ever more urbanised, rail
travel is well matched to urban needs. High speed rail can

serve as an alternative to short distance air travel, and conventional and freight rail can complement other transport
modes to provide efficient mobility.

The rail transport is often neglected Chair, in all the topical pertinent issues in the public discourse about the possible and important future transport systems. Maybe this is because the rail transport dates back centuries and helped


fuel the industrial revolution, and yet, despite the advent of cars and airplanes, rail of all types has continued to evolve and thrive.

In modern cities, metropoles and light rail offer reliable, affordable and fast alternatives to road transport, reducing congestion in the internal traffic management systems as well as local pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions. High speed
trains provides a high quality Chair, substitute for short distance flights between urban centres. Freight rail offers a low emissions and low cost linkage in freight supply chains.

From an energy point of view or perspective, rail is also among the most energy-efficient and lowest-emitting transport modes. Despite the traffic it carries, rail consumes very less of the total transport energy demand. Rail is also the transport sector that is most electrified. Three quarters of passenger movements and half of freight rely on electricity, Chairperson.

Urbanisation and digitalisation, among other megatrends, may redefine how energy is used in transport in the future, Chair. Rail has the opportunity to play an important role if it can


leverage its unmatched advantages in moving people and goods along heavily utilised, high demand routes.

In doing so, it can provide substantial benefits for energy and the environment, by diversifying energy sources and providing more efficient mobility, rail can lower transport energy use and reduce carbon dioxide and local pollutant emissions. Rail’s benefits extend to economic and social realms, if well designed and operated, in the right contexts rail systems can be very competitive on the most important mobility service metrics: speed, convenience, reliability and price, hon Chair.

Hon Chair, considering the advent of migrant labour in our country and underdevelopment in some rural provinces like ours, which is the Eastern Cape, due to the colonial spatial planning, the rail modernised rail infrastructure can play a critical role in both economic revitalisation and intra city and intra provincial travel with less congestion and accidents on the national roads.

Conventional rail covers medium to long distance journeys with a maximum speed under 250 km/h and suburban train journeys.


Most conventional rail networks today are located in North America, Europe, China, Russia, India, and Japan. These regions make up about 90% of global passenger movements on conventional rail with India leading at 39%, hon Chair.
However conventional rail has shown little change across these regions over the past decades.

Today as we gather here hon Chair, it is perhaps an opportune time to assess our progress once again about how far we have gone on the journey we undertook in building and modernising the rail infrastructure for both travel and freight to stimulate economic activities. The key question today is whether our state has a sufficient capacity to achieve its mission of building in this regard.

South Africa adopted a National Development Plan Vision 2030, which constitutes a broad framework around which development must be undertaken. According to the National Development Plan:

The national plan must attack the blight of poverty and exclusion, and nurture economic growth at the same time creating ... [Interjection.]



The CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: As you conclude hon member.

Mr X MALAMLELA (Eastern Cape): ... thank you, hon Chair,

... creating a virtuous cycle of expanding opportunities, building capabilities, reducing poverty, involving communities in their own development, all leading to rising living standards.

As I conclude Chair, for us to realize the economic recovery, will require bold steps Chairperson, in rebuilding and revitalization of our economy, this cannot happen outside properly connected country and its people through diversified transportation, hence the importance of restoration and modernization of rail infrastructure. Thank you very much, hon Chairperson.

Mr T J BRAUTESETH: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, hon members, fellow South Africans, allow me to sketch a scenario, close your eyes if you will, the year is 2010 and we are standing on one of Jozi's famous mine dumps. In the distance, we can see the magnificent FNB stadium that will soon host the Fifa World


Cup final. In the foreground is an elegantly arched concrete bridge carrying the shining rails, masts and overhead cables of the new 14 kilometres rail link between central Johannesburg and Nasrec. After 18 months of construction at a cost of R130 million in today's money, the new line is ready to ferry more than 20 000 peak-hour passengers.

Then fast forward to 2022 with me, the Nasrec Station is closed. The steel of the rails is rusting; the overhead electrical equipment has vanished, apart from a few lengths of cable drooping uselessly from the masts; and the pillars of the concrete bridge are covered with graffiti and litter. This disturbing image is emblematic of the current South African railway network — once regarded as one of the world's finest. A network bedevilled by years of mismanagement and failing corporate governance. In fact, in January 2020, the Minister called it a broken organisation. At the time, before the COVID-19 lockdown, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Prasa, announced it was experiencing unprecedented levels of vandalism and theft across all the regional Metrorail and Shosholoza services resulting in massive disruption to commuter services with vast sections being closed down. The Transnet Freight Rail, TFR, fared no better. In March 2020,


Transnet reported that it was cancelling about 170 goods trades a month because of the spike in 2019 over the theft of overhead cables.

The COVID-19 lockdown made it even worse. In one situation in September 2020, more than six kilometres of cable was stolen in 24 hours. So how did we get here? Allow me to explain. And the reality is unfortunately that both the National Party government and the ANC have a part to play in this demise. Up to the mid-1970s, nearly all goods were transferred by rail, but as the economy grew, obviously the competition came from road transport. In 1977, the National Party government then opened up policy and allowed road transport to compete for the first time unrestricted with rail. In 1981, the SA Railways and Harbours was renamed the SA Transport Services. An avalanche of consultants was recruited and basically disrupted the service without providing anything new.

In April 1990, SA Transport Services became Transnet Limited. At this time, the penny had dropped and the old Nats realised that there was only one way forward and that was by way of privatisation. This concept was widely accepted by the ANC in 1994 under President Tata Mandela. But unfortunately, policy


dithering and indecision took to play. And this was pushed to the back under President Thabo Mbeki. The next step was fatal. The rail services were split. All suburban train services were withdrawn to the Department of Transport and all freight services were placed under Transnet and a different Ministry. Had all rail remained under the Department of Transport at the time, it had been obvious that it was vital to keep freight on the rail as opposed to the road.

But now Transnet could allow the rail to fail and roads to crumble. Why? Simply because it was not their problem. The reality in South Africa is that the national roads are well maintained because they are sustained by toll revenue.
Provincial roads are worse off, over 40% of provincial roads are now regarded as poor. At the same time, the number of commercial vehicles on South African roads increased between five to 10% per year. In 1993, about 400 million tons of goods were transported by road and 175 million tons by rail. By 2009, 16 years later, road traffic has increased by 242% to 1,37 billion tons by road and only 205 tons by rail.

And that divergence has increased as recurring. To make matters worse, the rail system has become increasingly unsafe.


and unsecured. The problem, once again, has its origins back with the old Nats. In the 1980s, they decided to close down the railway police, maybe to shore up their position at the time. But what that did was just like when the ANC governments included the Scorpions into the SA Police Service, SAPS, it was a field day for criminals who saw the rich pickings of the rail environment. It was also under the management of rail under the ANC where there was a preference for self-interest as opposed to effective safety management systems. There is no better example than Prasa CEO, Lucky Montana, who made the disastrous appointment of a fake engineer who purchased locomotives too big for our rail system
Said Montana, at the time, said Mthimkulu was a genius of an engineer. It is really unfortunate that South Africans equate academic qualifications with competence to do the job. It would be funny if it was not so sad and pathetic. So what is to be done? The government must accept in principle that the only way forward with rail is in terms of privatisation, and public-private partnerships. Our recent trip to the Northern Cape, Transnet there confirmed that sections of that corridor have to be built with public-private partnerships. Secondly, all railway operations should be placed under the Department of Transport where policy is made and monitoring can happen


effectively. Thirdly, rail services must be devolved to capable provinces and municipalities who are able to run these services effectively, again in private-public partnerships.
Minister, you have made lots of great promises today, which of course we welcome. But unless the government get the strategy, the policy and the governance structures right, and appoint women and men of integrity and competence who can execute a realistic, sensible strategy, the writing will be on the wall. There is no time to lose. Let us get back on track. I thank you.

Mr T APLENI: Thank you very much, House Chairperson. A well- established rail network is of strategic importance to any country as it provides a cost-effective and efficient means of transport. Railway as a transportation system plays a major role in the economy development of a country as it serves transport network for industrialisation and economic development. As such, a condition of the rail network should be of highly importance and priority to government. Yet, this is not the case in our country as the state of South Africa’s rail infrastructure is on the verge of collapse. Transnet and Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa were once vibrant railway systems, but today they’re in a state of despair as a


result of years of neglect and underfunding. There exists an underinvestment in infrastructure and as such, we are facing an infrastructural gap.

Most of our railway systems are not functioning as they should. More so, over the coronavirus disease 2019, Covid-19, period where we have witnessed an increasing trend of theft and vandalism, criminals are targeting rail infrastructure across all provinces in place such as Gauteng and in some instances have ... [Inaudible.] ... cables and other items are being taken with repeated cases of vandalism being reported which have forced Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Prasa, to resort to diesel locomotives. Thieves and vandals have been left their own devices. Government has also failed to prevent the continued vandalism and theft of cables and theft from goods containers. Crime against Prasa, Transnet, Freight Rail Gauteng and commuters are prevalent, and the victims are being exposed to serious damage emanating from criminal activities. Our people are no longer safe in their homes and in the public space where they board trains every day to and from work.


A decision taken in 2019 to do away with security made train stations even more vulnerable over the lockdown periods with network over 30 000 of tracks, South Africa has the most advanced railway system on the continent. However, it has been continuously neglected making it an alternative means of transport for our people. Metrorail services the poor of the poor of South Africa and low-income earners. Therefore, House Chairperson, it is not surprising to find that under the ANC- led government not much attention is being paid to it. In fact, the ANC government is working to deliberately collapse state-owned enterprises such as Transnet and all related infrastructure so as to sell them to private sector at a fraction of their value. We know this to be true as just last year as part of his economic recovery plan Mr Cyril Ramaphosa made announcement to allow private freight rail operators to operate along Transnet.

This being one of the many attempts at privatisation of these state-owned enterprises which will in the end ultimately destroy Transnet. As this currently stands, almost all of South Africa’s key state-owned companies are in a depressing state, characterised by growing debts and dysfunctional management. Again here, House Chairperson, the problem is the


leadership. Key issues on procurement and contract management and lack of consequence management in the institution are matters of key concern. All these is an indicative of a deep problem of political incompetence on the part of the ruling elites who are at least concerned about running the country and growing its economy, but are more concerned about looting the limited state resources. Just recently, the Hawks arrested four Transnet executives including chief executive officer, CEO, Brian Molefe in connection with R93 million corruption and fraud cases linked to the procurement of more than 1 000 locomotives in 2015.

House Chairperson, in spite of poor and declining performance of rail services over the past 28 years, there’s an urgent needs for revival and expansion. The poor infrastructure and unreliable services are damaging to the economy. In order for South Africa to truly restore modernised rail infrastructure, we need to empower and safeguard our state-owned entities. We need to ensure that they are well-functioning with internal stability to ensure that they work with the purpose of making profit rather than working along government departments as an enabling units. We need to build state-owned construction company that will ensure that state has the ability to develop


a clear strategic ... [Inaudible.] ... to implement and monitor progress. We need to get rid of the tendering system and empower the state to do its work without consultants and corrupt tendering system.

As such, Prasa needs to follow true with its recruitment drive to permanently employ security guards to protect rail infrastructure or what is left of it. The insourcing of security guards will create a safer railway. Let’s return and expand the state-owned of central Transnet and logistic modes such as Transnet and Prasa so as to drive developmental objectives, industrialisation job creation and skills development. The current political leadership in the country is woefully out of its death and can never revolutionise our rail services for efficient transportation. It is only and only through the EFF who have such goals can be realised.
Thank you very much, House Chairperson.


Mr K M MMOIEMANG: Thank you House Chair, Ngwenya, and greetings to members of this House and special greetings to the Minister and our special delegates. Allow me to rise on behalf of the ANC and to also participate in this debate on


the social and economic importance of the restoration and modernisation of the rail infrastructure. The proposition that one wants to put forth is that all modes of transport and its efficient operation are critical and central for the functioning of any modern economy, which explains why as a country South Africa has a fairly developed transport network in aviation, road and rail.

The importance of this is that as a country we have a relatively vast geography which is from south to north. And this vastness is equivalent to flying from Istanbul to London and passing many countries in Europe. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that the country has an efficient and integrated transport system to ensure the movement of goods, freight and people. The country also has economic concentration due to the development of its political economy which is primarily based on mining and agriculture and therefore the importance of road and rail to link the inland market to the coast for the import and export of goods and freight.

In many modes of transport such as aviation and rail, the country has an excellent safety record. Our standards for


regulation and legislation are based on the best international practice, which explains why the country’s rail and road network is the envy of many. However, there is much work to be done and much still to be achieved to ensure that the transport sector positively contributes to the economic reconstruction and recovery plan.

Over the recent past the infrastructure has in a number of sectors needed to be addressed, particularly with regards to road and rail. We however take comfort in the fact that the current economic plan is also based on infrastructure development and this provides opportunities for the next level of development of the transport sector. On 22 July, as a committee responsible for transport we received a briefing as a committee form Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa.

As a committee, we noted the update on the status of the rehabilitation of the rail network which also reflected on the challenges that Prasa face in relation to the securing and protection of their assets, reconstruction of corridors and resumption of train services to the level that meet required standard. Therefore, on this note, we appreciate the leadership role that the ANC-led government is doing in terms


of the restoration and modernisation of our rail. This is so important because the briefing and update on progress was centred around the modernisation programme. It was the rehabilitation of the passenger rail network and the funding that is required.

It is therefore timely that the restoration and modernisation of the rail network has commenced as announced by the President in Sona of 2020 for the restoration of the Mabopane line in Gauteng and the central line in Cape Town. This was also captured in the input by the Minister and we appreciate the leadership role he has.

Since then, government has funded the Department of Transport for Prasa to execute these projects. This ANC-led government clearly take heed of the importance of the rail system.
Following that, the Minister has released the Draft White Paper on National Rail Policy for comment. This is an indication of work in progress and therefore the ANC’s commitment to move from rail infrastructure which faced many negative challenges to restoration and modernisation.


Rail transport of people and goods in South Africa is one of the most important elements of the country’s transport logistics infrastructure. All major cities in the country are connected by rail. The rail infrastructure is an integrated network and services the movement of passengers through short distance and long distance as well as freight logistics at the same time.

Indeed, South Africa has around 25 000 km of railway lines and of that Prasa owns 2 280 km exclusively in Gauteng, eThekwini and Cape Town. Transnet operates the remainder. This is not a small infrastructure global standards. Therefore, rail is an efficient, cheap and safe mode of transport in comparison to road transport and therefore it is imperative that there is a restoration and modernisation of the rail infrastructure in this country.

Therefore, we appreciate the work that the Minister is doing in this respect. Of course we know that there are challenges as raised by Prasa and the Department of Transport when they engaged with us. It was indeed raised at Prasa has experienced many challenges over the last number of years with the integrity of the rail network. For a few years there has been


much media focus on the damage inflicted on the rail infrastructure and of recent this has been acute in a number of provinces given the incidences of damage on the rail infrastructure by anti-social and criminal elements. But of course we note and take comfort in the assurance that the Minister has given us even in this debate.

This damage to the infrastructure negatively impacts on the lives of the most vulnerable working class and poor commuters who depend on rail transport for earn their livelihood. The ANC-led government remains resolutely opposed to the damage of the rail infrastructure and will take action to the full might of the law against such destruction which is intended to sabotage the critical economic infrastructure of the country and negatively affect the lives of working class and poor communities.

However, of recent the law enforcement agencies have made many arrests of those involved in the theft and vandalism of rail infrastructure as well as those scrap steel dealers who purchase stolen cables and processed steel and therefore participate in such crime. While government is combatting this crime it is important that the country is able to move towards


the restoration and modernisation of rail infrastructure. We appreciate the fact that the White Paper on Rail is an enabler which provides policy certainty on the future development of rail infrastructure.

The restoration and modernisation of the rail infrastructure as based on the White Paper on Rail needs to ensure that it is an enabler and catalyst of transformation. Because rail is an important mode of transport for the working class and poor who due to apartheid spatial planning reside far from workplaces. Again, we agree that indeed this has to be prioritised for rail is cheaper than public road transport and more efficient. Therefore, in order for working class and poor communities to save money on transport costs, rail is the preferred option.

However, over a number of years the deterioration of rail services through vandalism has taken place. The white paper seeks to correct the recommendations of the De Villiers Report of 1986, that murderous state, which advocated against new rail investments and the sweating of existing assets and the deregulation of the road sector. This was not a policy which was geared towards economic development and transformation, but was rooted in market fundamentalism. The White Paper on


Rail as presented by the Minister is attempting to create policy certainty and ensure the further development of the rail infrastructure which has been neglected since 1988 does forge ahead.

Whilst the Draft White Paper On Rail contains much technical detail which is both relevant and important, it is geared towards ensuring the development of an important economic input which links production to the market and further means that people have access. This is a plan for economic expansion through connecting the country through an efficient mode of transport, namely, rail transport.

Whilst expanding the base for the restoration and modernisation of rail infrastructure through private and public sector partnerships, the efficiency of the service must improve and there must be a sound business case to ensure that funding can be raised in capital markets to effect the plan.
Both Prasa and Transnet Rail must operate on sound developmental and economic principles.

It is important to also note that the new policy is developed for freight rail, passenger rail and rail infrastructure


development as the country is stuck politically in the recent past with narratives of state capture and destruction of infrastructure rather than focussing on the real needs of the people which is inclusive economic development, economic growth and job creation. This is certainly an antidote to the quadruple challenges of poverty, unemployment, inequality and historical economic exclusion of the majority from the formal economy.

In conclusion, it is imperative that the current plans as espoused in the draft White Paper on Rail and the programme for rail infrastructure development are implemented as part of the economic reconstruction and recovery plan and that an efficient and integrated transport sector is created through rail for the movement of freight, goods and people. Challenges present opportunities and it is to that arena that we seek to travel to ensure that the opportunities are turned into positive economic reality. This development as envisioned in the draft White Paper on Rail will ensure that local production and beneficiation as raised by the Minister is enhanced and it can occur as rail infrastructure restoration and development ensures that product can be efficiently brought to the market.



The White Paper on Rail will act as catalyst for the success of the economic reconstruction and recovery plan as it will ensure that local industrial development, beneficiation can occur. This will make the District Development Model a reality as rail will provide the critical link with other modes of transport. The development of an implementation plan for the White Paper on Rail is critical for it brings a vision into reality. The country requires such concrete and positive leadership as espoused by the ANC-led government. I thank you, Chair.

Mr M NHANHA: Hon House Chairperson, Minister Mbalula, hon Members of the NCOP. Colleagues allow me to remind this Council that yesterday 07 September 2022, marked exactly 30 years since the Bisho Massacre in which unarmed, peaceful and defenceless, pro-democracy protesters were mercilessly gunned down by the Ciskeian Defence Force led by Brigadier Joshua Gqozo, leaving 29 people dead and scores injured. Some of us in this House witnessed this cold-blooded, unprovoked murder. The wounds are still fresh and the deep scars are still showing.


This should be a stark reminder to all of us that many sacrificed their lives, others lost limbs, families lost breadwinners, youth lost youthful days, students lost out on education. Colleagues, freedom was not free. We owe it to those selfless heroes and heroines who made an immense contribution for us today to live and enjoy civil liberties as enshrined in our Bill of Rights.

Hon members, it is well and good to have these kinds of debates because this gives hope to South Africans that, you know ...


... nja yam, kuza kulunga.


However, it is a problem when you don’t have a plan to realise your hope and instead make your hope a plan. I have listened to Minister Mbalula ...


... uJola ...



... making these input this afternoon. He spoke at length about the policy regime and very little about a plan.
Colleagues as a basic, plan has but not limited to six simple and basic characteristics and I’m the first one to concede that in his presentation, he did touch on some of the of these characteristics. A plan has to be pervasive. A plan has to be futuristic and looking ahead. A plan must involve choices and decision-making. A plan has to be continuous. A plan is an important function of management. And finally, it is an intellectual process rather than a behaviour. If I had time I would unpack each and every one of these characteristics mentioned above to this House.

The theme of this debate and I quote:

Restoration and modernisation of rail infrastructure in South Africa. Revolutionising our rail services for efficient transportation.

... could not have come at a more appropriate time.



Athi amaXhosa, kumnandi ukuthetha, kunzima ukwenza. Igugu lingalikhulu, umbombo uyaqhosha.


The theory of modernisation suggests that, traditional societies will develop as they adopt more modern practices. Proponents of modernisation theory claim that modern states are wealthier and more powerful, and that their citizens are freer to enjoy a high standard of living. If the above theory is anything to go by, as a country we are well off the mark. Before we talk about modernisation, we must firstly unshackle ourselves from the political dogma of socialism and other backward isms. For our rail infrastructure to be modernised, we must embrace technology, new ideas and open it up for competition and investment. By so doing, we will be adopting the modern practices, our country will be a lot more wealthier and powerful and its citizens will enjoy a higher standard of living in

South Africa has a rail network of 30 400 kilometres with the exception of a total of 80 kilometres standard gauge of the Gautrain, the rest is narrow gauge. One of the first steps towards modernisation of our rail infrastructure, is to


replace the narrow gauge with the standard gauge because that will allow the high axial loading, double stacking of containers, high economies of scale and improve the economics in our country.

In simple terms hon members, with the standard gauge goods will move faster, cheaper, in large volumes and to the benefit of the country’s economy. Otherwise, let us be at peace with more freight and trucks on our roads. Thank you very much.


Mr N M HADEBE: Thank you House Chair, hon Minister, hon members. South Africa has a vast railway network with over
30 000 kilometres of rail connectivity. We are perfectly positioned to be a leader in rail infrastructure in South Africa. This optimism is driven by the fact that, we know that South Africans want a safe and reliable rail service. We are living at a time when fuel is extremely expensive, and there are high living costs, and affordable means of transport would greatly help commuters and growing businesses. Travel by train is considered one of the safest modes of transport when compared to road fatalities. Rail accidents do occur but are often not as fatal.



We have to invest in our citizens’ safety by offering a better alternative to persons driving long distance trips. Many South Africans drive the distance from Johannesburg to the coastal cities and various towns and cities inland. The roads that go from Gauteng to Durban, or Johannesburg to Kimberley are key corridors for goods and travel. Yet, we are relying on old locomotives and ageing rail infrastructure. We have ports that work but our goods are sometimes delayed because they have to be transported by trucks. The rest of the world is many steps ahead of us. Not only have some states maintained ... [Inaudible] ... resorting existing infrastructure, but they have woven in new trends and introduced new technologies.

We live in a time when trains have become extremely fast and reliable. We should be investing in our rail infrastructure. We are at a critical time in our development. All government can talk about is the Fourth Industrial Revolution, yet we are still stuck on the Third Industrial Revolution, as we do not have reliable power supply nor reliable modern transport system. Can we charge phones or other devices on our trains?
Is there Wi-Fi on our trains? All productivity stops once all


your devices have no power or you are unable to connect to the internet while en route to your destination.

South Africa is reliant on tourism to contribute to the GDP. Tourism is the industry that is quickly recovering and almost returned to pre-COVID levels. However, we are missing on our key streams of income and this is due to a lack of infrastructure. We need to connect our semirural towns and holiday towns to the big economic hubs for both tourism and employment opportunities. The fact that Garden Route and the coastal holiday towns are not better linked to Cape Town, or Gqeberha, is a huge loss for the tourism sector and other industries that benefit from the sector. The corridor between Johannesburg and Durban is crucial for goods but also for tourism. We have to invest in this important corridor, it drives billions into our economy.

The linking of rural towns to cities is part of job creation and ensuring that there is not a mass exodus and rural abandoning. Modern and well maintained infrastructure means that we can move goods faster from inland to the coast. Mining companies lose income when our rail services do not work and


are unreliable, as we are aware mining is a big employer and contributor to the South African economy.

In 2014, government announced R173 billion investment towards the modernization of SA Railway System and just recently, the Minister of Finance announced that over the next three years, the government will spend R812 billion on public sector infrastructure. We seem to be acutely aware of the great need to modernise our rail infrastructure, but we have failed to maintain the infrastructure we do have. We need to put our words into action, we have fallen far behind. Thank you Chair.


Ms M LATCHMINARAIN (Mpumalanga): Thank you, Chairperson of National Council of Provinces, hon A Masondo, the Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, hon S Lucas, hon Minister of Transport, Mr Fikile Mbalula, premiers from all provinces, permanent delegates of the National Council of Provinces, special delegates from provinces to the NCOP and the SA Local Government Association representatives

Hon Chairperson, in the foreword of the White Paper on National Rail Policy no. 2077, the Minister of Transport, hon Fikile


Mbalula makes this point: “South Africa’s Constitution categorises public transport as a functional area of concurrent national and provincial legislative competence, while municipal public transport is an exclusive local government competence” We are therefore proud as special delegates from of Mpumalanga province to be here and contribute to the debate on restoration and modernisation of rail infrastructure in South Africa.
Hon Chairperson, our starting point is that we supported the three pillars of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Prasa, modernisation programme namely, rolling stock general overhaul, rolling stock fleet renewal programme, and signalling and communications. Our understanding is that the refurbishing rolling stock has the capacity of creating 2 000 jobs of a period of five years.


The rolling stock fleet will deliver 96 new trains which will results in a huge impact on economic spinoffs. Whiles signalling and communications would increase efficiency and safety of rail transport.


Hon Chairperson, we note the negative impact the COVID-19 had on the effective running of the trains, the 10Km of stolen track


and the delay caused by human settlements in the rail reserves. All this does not deter Prasa from its committed of delivering an efficient and reliable rail for South Africans.


The report of a proposed freight and passenger road-to-rail strategy for South Africa state that: “State-owned enterprises and agencies in a developmental state have the mandate of supporting the fulfilment of the country’s developmental goals”.


Whereas the intentions of the White Paper on Rail is to place rail on a sound footing to play a meaningful role as a backbone of seamlessly integrated transport value chain able to make a meaningful contribution to the economy.


The government, working closely with the agency henceforth should intensify its broad consultation of relevant stakeholders including the public in the process of restoration of rail. This is because in most countries rail is the most effective mode of public transport with high benefits for growth and stability of society. For instance, the community of Nkangala was to benefit a great deal should the Moloto Rail Corridor project given


necessary funding. The Moloto Rail Corridor project was to go a long way in reducing fatal road accidents we have witnessed throughout the years from the R573 Road. The Passenger Rail is the permanent solution to the lack of economic beneficiation for this community and it is a project that would not be overlooked.


Hon Chairperson, our country is bordered by four countries, which include Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Mozambique. Therefore, for economic leverage with an effective rail that will also ensure free delay of distribution of goods and services between the countries I have mentioned.


Of particular importance the reduction of heavy vehicles on our roads will mean less spending on road maintenance and the government can use these resources for other needs. Road carnages which are draining the fiscal will be a thing of the past. There is a light at the end of the tunnel if we work together. Thank you, hon Chairperson.


Mr G O MOLAPISI (North West): Hon House Chair, Chairperson of the NCOP hon Masondo, hon Minister of Transport hon Mbalula,


Chief Whip, hon members present, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Let me appreciate this opportunity and thank this august House to speak on the restoration and modernisation of the rail infrastructure in South Africa. Parliament has previously pondered on the theme: Building reliable and safe passenger rail transport. The budget was allocated towards that investment - the rehabilitation and modernisation of the South African railway system. The refurbishment of the existing fleet, depots, modernisation and the signal renewal programme which are in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape provinces need to be welcome. We however need to pay attention to other provinces, in particular rural provinces in our country. I must indicate that in the North West province we do not have passenger rail and this need to be corrected.
We need to develop one that will be part of the provincial growth and development strategy and increase the socioeconomic status of the province. The current infrastructure on goods infrastructure is either not functional or need serious rehabilitation and this is work in progress. Roads infrastructure is a means for transportation of goods and services in the provinces. Across the province it has aged and is dilapidating at a faster rate. The province is an agricultural and mining province and goods are mainly


transported on roads. Over and above this fact, the number of vehicles including public transportation have increase as commuters and motorists also utilise these modes of transports
- road transportations. This in turn increases the volume of traffic in our provincial roads and therefore increases the strain on the already overburdened and stretched road infrastructure.

During my budget speech address I did mention that we are far outstretched in terms of financial resources to upgrade our roads, not to mention the backlog of about 16 000km that we still must abate from surface standard to tar. Without belabouring this fact, it therefore becomes critical to ensure that we reduce the burden on our roads to other modes of transport and rail becomes our most desirable option. The resuscitation of the rail network will only ensure less burden on our roads. It will also respond to the resuscitation of our economy as small, medium and micro enterprises, SMMEs, will begin to trade when we have passenger rail. This would, hon members, [Recording stopped.] without doubt entrepreneurs will be realised as before.


I must mention that the Fifth administration had already expressed itself on the need to resuscitate the rail infrastructure and what it means for the province. We are not here to reinvent the wheel, but to emphasise an align ourselves with what has already been started. The Fifth administration has indicated through the executive council that it should forward the revised strategy to the House for the purpose of continuation. A reliable and safe passenger rail is a critical aspect of any society and growth of its economy.

There is a case study which was done on the reliability of Metrorail operations and the aging fleet of trains which some of them have been operating since the 1950s. They need rehabilitation or even to be modernised. We witnessed criminal activities within that space which says to us as government that we need to upgrade the infrastructure. Rail fatality over the years is a cause for concern and once there is upgrading they could be eliminated. One of government’s priorities is to address the challenges that workers and commuters who depend on our passenger rail transport have been complaining about for several years, the lack of stability and safety of trains.


According to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Prasa, the modernisation and rehabilitation of passenger rail network has three pillars with 10 priority areas, namely, rolling stock general overhaul programme, rolling stock fleet renewal programme and signal and communications. In one of the reports to the NCOP, Prasa expressed the ongoing challenges to the rehabilitation of network which includes lack of scarce skills, security, tender hijacking, effects of climate change including the floods in KwaZulu-Natal and the Cape Flats and sourcing of material. Security is a fundamental requirement without which all Prasa rebuilding efforts might be undermined. It would cost Prasa over R1 billion over the next three years. It should not be regarded as Prasa’s problem alone, but as a national problem. The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa was requesting permission to transfer funds from its capital expenditure budget to operational expenditure to address its current operational challenges. The status of the rehabilitation of the passenger rail network includes the challenges that Prasa faces such as securing and protection of their assets, reconstruction of corridors and the resumption of train services to the level that is required.


One of the biggest challenges Prasa faces is the operational funding to sustain its mandate. The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa reported that 18 out of 40 corridors nationally are functional except for KwaZulu-Natal where only three are functional due to the recent floods. The policy on public- private partnership and devolution of [Recording stopped.] responsibility to provinces, job creation and interdepartmental collaboration to solve the problem of human settlement on the central line in Cape Town, amongst others, are critical.

Once again as I said, the passenger rail as a mode of transport play a critical role in socioeconomic development and therefore needs to be prioritised. We must welcome the initiatives and moves taken by the Minister and the department to pay a special attention to this area of work and note the good work that is being done. Those who are saying that the ANC government is doing nothing ...


... ....ke baloi ba eleng gore ba tlhoka tumelo. Re a leboga.


Mr D G MITCHELL (Western Cape): House Chairperson of the NCOP, hon members, delegates from provinces, hon Minister of Transport, extinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is indeed a great honour for me to represent the Western Cape provincial parliament as the Western Cape Minister of Mobility today in the NCOP during this very important debate. I think we can all agree that passenger rail in Cape Town is in crisis. What was once the backbone of transport system, carrying over 600 000 passengers per day, is now transporting a small fraction of this number, estimated to be fewer than
50 000 passengers a day.

Today passengers avoid using rails because it has become so unreliable. The service would be operating one day, and the next day it would be absent. Passengers cannot rely on rail. While the system was already in crisis prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, the situation deteriorated further during this period with rampant vandalism and theft of freight rail assets, including the unprecedented stripping of stations.
This left the rail service in its worst state to date.

I want ... [Inaudible.] ... restoring some of the services, including the recent, partial reintroduction of services on


the central line. It is imperative that all necessary action is taken to fully restore rail services to their position as the backbone of transport and to improve the quality of the services with time. The Western Cape government stands ready to work with the national government, Prasa, City of Cape Town, and other stakeholders to support what should be a collective and urgent effort. We urge the national government to make sufficient resources available to expedite the full restoration of the central line and to broader the network. So that it can once again provide affordable, access to our communities, for the people of Khayelitsha and Mitchelle’s Plain.

A functional and effective rail service is critical if we are serious about providing reliable, affordable, safe and dignified public transport for our people. A good rail service is critical for a number of reasons, not the least of which is because it is key in addressing the challenges of economic growth, for job creation, to ultimately improve the lives of the people. People need real options to go about their lives. Every day that the province goes without such a service, it is costing us millions in missed opportunities and constrains


economic projects and job creation. The situation cannot continue and something must change.

The dire state of infrastructure presents an unprecedented opportunity to rebuild a way which modernises a network, leveraging the latest technologies with feasible to do so. The damage to infrastructure is so profound that nearly fixing what is there will be throwing good money after bad. Society, technology and the economy has moved on during this time and we must be critical about how we design and implement the restoration project. I call for grand rebuilding effort, bringing together all relevant stakeholders and pulling resources to achieve the impossible.

Please allow me the opportunity to move on to the White Paper. I welcome the recent publication of the White paper on National Rail Policy. It has been in development for many years, and I am happy that it is finally being released and it is bringing much needed direction and clarity to the sector. I am pleased that evolution was confirmed as National Policy in the White Paper. I strongly support the need to devolve the responsibility for rail to sub national governments.


Devolution is in line with international best practice and it is key to integrating improving public transport.

Given the state of rail, it is critical for devolution to proceed as quickly as possible. Therefore, I want to use this opportunity to call on the national Minister and the national Department of Transport, to expedite the finalisation of the devolution strategy described in the White Paper so that devolution can proceed. I also support the White Paper’s Policy on sector participation, in the provision of passenger rail services, including the statement that:

The introduction of competition for services rendered by Prasa must be considered.

I want to move on to freight rail. An efficient freight rail system is critical for our economy. As the national Minister of Finance has articulated, Transnet operations are experiencing significant challenges as a result of security issues, inadequate investment, equipment, procurement processes that were tainted by state capture and poor operational performance .... [Inaudible.] ... We need to fix


Transnet and get freight rail right. Our economy depends on it.

The ... [Inaudible.] ... the White Paper Policy to increase the private sector participation in freight rail. This is long overdue. The steps taken by Transnet to allow for private third party access on selected rail corridors are to be welcomed, and I look forward to such opportunities being extended to the Western Cape for both freight and passenger rail. In conclusion, if the policies articulated in the White Paper are successfully implemented, they have the potential to fundamentally reshape the rail sector in South Africa. This includes the proposed institutional restructuring to create separate infrastructure owners, infrastructure managers and train operators in line with international based practice.

The role and participation of the Presidency’s Operation Vulindlela in driving freight rail reform are to be commended. And I would urge this unit to turn its attention to urban passenger rail. For all interventions, we need to act urgently. To speed up reform investments and restoration. At a fundamental level, many of the challenges faced in the rail sector were and are caused by government’s challenges at both


Prasa and Transnet, as was confirmed by the reports used by the Zondo Commission. Therefore, the top priority must be to fix government ... [Inaudible.] ... institutions. As this solid foundation is needed if we are to successfully address the serious rail challenges we both face here in the Western Cape and across South Africa.

Without sound, consistent and clear management, the restoration of rail is unlikely to see the light of day and many of these grand plans will come to nought. We cannot allow that to happen. Minister Mbalula, we need to fix rail transport. And as always, I will continue to work with you to do so in the interest of the citizens who depends on us to end the transport ... [Inaudible.] ... I thank you.


Ms M L MOSHODI: Thank you, House Chairperson, hon Minister and hon members. Hon Chairperson, the ANC has long recognised and consistently advocated for the necessity of the efficient functioning of commuter rail, as it is the cheapest and fastest most efficient mode of transport. The over dependent of the country on the use of the road is not suitable as it is


in this time, and calls for the movement of the people and the goods. It also increases road maintenance costs.

However, over a number of years, the rail infrastructure was subjected to theft and vandalism, which has been opposed by the government, and law enforcement agency has taken action against many perpetrators on this crime. Hon Chairperson, the policy of the ANC government has consistently been to protect and optimise the user of the current rail infrastructure and to protect it from theft and vandalism. The country has a single national rail infrastructure network which is utilised for both the movement of goods and people. Therefore, it is serviced as two-sided purpose. It is therefore a strategic economic asset.

Hon Chairperson, since the state of the nation address of 2020, the President focused on the restoration of the rail infrastructure through commencing instant redevelopment of the Central Line in the Western Cape and the Mabopane line in Gauteng. The focus of the President when motivating for the restoration and modernisation of the rail system, was to ensure that, the development of an efficient rail commuter service for enhancing the economy lives of the poor,


marginalised communities who depend on the rail as an important form of transport.

Providing such service to marginalised and historically disadvantaged is a core principle of access to, and contributing into inclusion in the economy. Therefore, resisting poverty, inequality and unemployment for the vast majority as commuter rail is an enabler for job creation. Hon Chairperson, the funding for this process of restoring the commuter rail has been made available to the national Department of Transport in this budget, making financial transfer to Passenger Rail Agency of SA, Prasa, for the restoration and modernisation of the rail infrastructure.

Reserving and protecting the current asset base is the first step for further investment in upgrading modernisation of the rail infrastructure. Hon Chairperson, it is therefore critical that, while the restoration of the rail infrastructure is occurring, that the rail infrastructure asset base is protected and maintained at the same time. The government can still afford making the same investment twice in a capital scare environment. Antisocial and criminal behaviour through theft and vandalism damage the rail infrastructure and


negatively affects the functioning of the rail as a mode of transport.

Therefore, this should be deeply combated by Prasa and the law enforcement agency, and the perpetrators should face the full might of the law. Undocumented foreign nationals who are involved in crime, should also face the full might of the law. Also, the legislation should be reviewed in relation to their deportation. No government in the world could ever tolerate the theft and vandalism of public infrastructure which is developed for the benefit of citizens and the country.
Hon House Chair, the impact of the poorest and most vulnerable, who are dependent on the funding of the cheapest form of transport are negatively affected without an efficient commuter rail transport system. Rail has traditionally being the cheapest form of accommodation for the working class and the poor. Lack of the rail transport means that, working class and poor families have to utilise an expensive mode of transport. This means that, working people spends much time on the road, and this form of transport, increases the cost of living as it reduces this possible income for working class and poor families in the context of rising living costs.


Hon House Chairperson, an efficient rail commuter service in the country through restoration and modernisation of the rail infrastructure from provides marginalised community, with the ability to access educational institutions and enable young people to gain employment. Therefore, there is economic importance to ensure that there is efficient and affordable commuter rail service, as part of restoration and modernisation of the rail infrastructure.

Part of the transformation of the people’s lives is to ensure that, there is a practical meaning to create a better life for all. Hon House Chairperson, South Africa is a geographical, fast and beautiful country, and the country has traditionally had an efficient long distance train services. It is pleasing to record that, some of these services are going to resume shortly through Transnet Rail.

However, the restoration and modernisation of the rail infrastructure should also ensure that, this long distance commuter rail service, resume even through high speed rail development. This also has economic importance, as this will enhance the internal long distance travel, which is cheaper than air travel and quicker than road travel. The long


distance community rail service must be utilised to enhance the tourism industry in the country. This is critical for the economy and road development.

Hon House Chairperson, the release of the White Paper on the Rail, comes at a critical conjuncture, as the ministry and the Department of Transport has commenced through Prasa, with the restoration of the rail infrastructure through the Mabopane project in Gauteng and the Central Line in the Western Cape.
The Draft White Paper on the Rail is comprehensive, and it deals with all aspects of the rail infrastructure. It is also efficiently functioning to create policy certainty and the development of an implementation plan.

The comprehensive nature of the White Paper on Rail, highlights the importance of the mode of transport and the necessity to shift to the mode of transport. This is not withstanding that, the focus on this input to the debate is on the benefit for all the provinces on the restoration and modernisation of the rail infrastructure. Hon House Chair, the White Paper correctly recognises the problem of passenger rail service which is operated by Prasa. The issue of insufficient


capacity to meet the demands, is due to an urging trend which is due to the inadequate funding.

In addition, hon House Chair, Prasa will have to regain its lost market to other mode expensive and time consuming mode of transport. Hon House Chairperson, the entity needs to increase its revenue base, and cannot solely depend on government funding. Any funding must have a coherence business case which is also becoming financial viable and profitable to fund development projects. The issue of modernising passenger rail service through private and public partnership needs to be explored if necessary, in the urban centres.
However, this option will be more attractive on tourism road and long distance road. For the private sector, it is pleasing to see the analysis of the White Paper on Rail, on the economic opportunity which are possible for rail tourism in the country like South Africa. Hon House Chair, this means that, as part of restoration and modernisation of the rail infrastructure that, the issue of security of passenger train and rail infrastructure, is dealt with as a user of mode of transport is also dependent on people feeling safe.


Hon House Chair, Prasa under its new volt, is certainly overcoming the previous period which created instability in the functioning of the entity, and saw a decline in its service and revenue. It has also faced numerous security challenge in the recent past. The Prasa has developed a turnaround strategy which is still implemented, and has made plan to improve security of the rail infrastructure. Hon House Chairperson, the Prasa at its construction site still faced criminality as recently at the Nasrec Station, which Prasa is refurbishing.

Workers had to leave the site due to threats from criminals and thugs. This required to be dealt with by the law enforcement agency, as it is against to attempting to implement a good plan for the restoration of the rail infrastructure. Provisional structure of Prasa has become more responsive to the need of its customers, and ensures that it has a plan to improve commuter rail efficiently. Hon House Chair, restoring and modernising passenger rail and its infrastructure, both in the Metro and long distance passenger rail service.


Also, it is critical to ensuring development and transformation, through improving the quality of life for the people. This has also added benefit of ensuring the success of movement free and good from road to rail. Hon House Chair, while it is important to ensure policy certainty through the Draft White Paper on the Rail, to ensure that the restoration and modernisation of the rail infrastructure is equally important, to ensure that the government develops and implements plans, to implement a policy in its main fence through both the Prasa and Transnet Rail.

Lastly, hon Chairperson, let me apologise you, House Chair, for being absent from the House today, it is because two of my family members have passed away. I had to fly back home to attend the funeral. Thank you very much.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms W Ngwenya): Thank you very much, hon member. Hon members, I would like to make an announcement that there is tea outside. If I can allow you to take a break, you are going to take more time. Can we continue? But I am allowing you to go and grab some tea and then you can come back. Please don’t bring your tea inside the Chamber. Okay,


thanks very much, hon members, the next speaker is hon S F Du Toit.


Mnr S F DU TOIT: Agb Voorsitter, ...



Did the preverbal gravy train run out of gravy or only out of track? Is the South African rail system synonym to the demise of the ANC - too much plundered, too little invested, too much greed and too little foresight?


The South African rail service, be it Transnet or Prasa just can’t be revolutionised! To be revolutionised, something means to change something radically or fundamentally. There needs to be something to change. At the moment, there is very little left.


It is sad to say that the rail infrastructure in South Africa has been neglected and plundered to such an extent, that most


of it needs to be replaced and reinstalled and not just upgraded.


Recently, Mr Simon Norton, the manager of International Zink Association, said that, and I quote: “Metrorail trains seldom run on the five Cape Peninsula rail links which, it may be noted, ran uninterruptedly through two world wars and successfully from 1868 until 1994!”



Dit het die ANC 28 jaar geneem om ’n spoorstelsel, wat oor 126 jaar opgebou is, tot so mate te vernietig, dat Egipte, volgens IndexMundi, tans ’n beter spoorstelsel as Suid-Afrika het. Hoe kan ’n regering toelaat dat die lewensaar van ’n land, ’n ekonomie, ten gronde gaan en letterlik meter vir meter opgekap en weggedra word? Miljarde rande word spandeer sonder resultate.





In 2021 the financials released by Transnet, it indicated that they targeted to replace 250km of rail, but only managed to replace 46,6km! The Daily Maverick correctly indicated that, and I quote:


The cumulative result of failing to effectively implement the entire rail program is a systematic destruction of the railway industry. This has led to unreliability of service, or no service at all, which affects freight customers, who rely on rail to transport their products.


Transnet entered into a contract where it was supposed to build and deliver 1 064 locomotives between 2014 and 2021. Only 500 was built. In addition, it was projected that 340 wagons would be built, none of them has been built.



Tussen 2017 en 2019 het struktureele plundering, diefstal en vandalisme, Prasa, nee, die belastingbetaler, sowat R1 miljard gekos.


Die regering het met hul onvermoë om te lei en die land sonder korrupsie te bestuur toegelaat dat ons spoorstelsel, wat veronderstel is om sowat 2,5 miljoen treinpassasiers per dag te laat pendel, slegs sowat 800 000 pendelaars per dag in 2019 vervoer.



We all remember President Ramaphosa’s 45-minute train trip that ended up to be a three-hour delay. The situation has not improved much since.



Prasa se eie data dui aan dat daar tot aanvanklik 590 werkende treinstasies in Suid-Afrika was, waarvan slegs 129 tans opperasioneel is. Die vraag is, wat het van die personeel geword wat by hierdie 461 stasies gewerk het? Volgens hierdie Prasa-veslag het passasiersgetalle van 500 miljoen per jaar, na slegs 17 miljoen per jaar gesak. Volgens Andishwa Manka, woordvoerder van Prasa, word R1 miljard per jaar vir die volgende drie jaar vir veiligheid en sekuriteit begroot.



Minster Mbalula, don’t blame the 1980’s for the deterioration of the rail system. The ANC got a lucrative and working system. The ANC is solely to blame for the demise. Take responsibility for your failures, Minister. Yes, billions of rands were availed for infrastructure maintenance, but what do you have to show? Prasa and Transnet are just another two of the ANC’s statues of failure!

In closing, it is important that to remember that Transnet and Prasa are state-owned enterprises with cadres that were deployed. Between 2011 and 2014, Transnet awarded CRRC three contracts worth R25,4 billion to supply it with 554 locomotives. The total locomotive contract was eventually worth R54 billion and yet, Transnet often still complains it cannot meet commercial rail freight requirements.

The solution to the problem is privatisation. There are too many foxes in the chicken pen. Taxpayers’ money is the only thing that keeps this gravy train slowly steaming on what is left of the tracks. I thank you.


Cllr K CARLS (Salga): Hon Chairperson of the NCOP, hon Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, hon Minister of Transport, MECs and hon members, the access to motorised transport, which is fundamental for mobility is a basic human right. Transport is indispensable to the exercise of some of the basic rights like health, education, economic activity, etc. Without it, you cannot exercise the right.


In the context of South Africa with its skewed income levels, public transport becomes an important element of the exercise of these rights. Historically, the rail mode has been a bigger part of the commuting public transport. As a result, its underplaying and some element of shunning have continued to affect the discharge of these basic human rights for many South Africans. So important is the rail mode that its modernisation should be a continuous process.


Salga supports the commitment to restore the rail infrastructure. The restoration of the infrastructure should not just be on the areas that the service offered, but be also transformed into a service that supports other government initiatives, such as spatial transformation, better


integration of transport and land use, better use of the current funding mechanism, economic growth, dealing with unemployment, especially amongst the youth and women.


The current approach by Prasa seems determined only to restore the services as they were before the difficulties. The idea of modernisation must not be limited to technology but also incorporate ideas, as promoted in the Integrated Urban Development Framework, IUDF, which includes making our cities better places to live in. The restoration and modernisation project must also be used as an opportunity to implement some of the projects that were intended to improve the service, prior to the recent challenges.


The National Rail Policy does not deal with the restoration of urban rail infrastructure but assumes it. The problem statement does not include any of the recent challenges, which have resulted into the following: only 18 of the 40 corridors are operational; in Gauteng, for example, seven of the 17 corridors are operational; in KwaZulu-Natal, three of the nine corridors are operational and that was before the floods.


The paying passenger numbers for both Metrorail and Mainline Passenger Services must have dwindled further for the 2020-21 and 21-22 fiscal years, due to covid-19, floods and further vandalism. This highlights the importance and urgency of the restoration and modernisation project.


Salga notes the important pronouncement of devolution of urban rail functions to local government. This is welcomed and should be done in a manner that allows an improvement of the general urban transport system through integrated planning and implementation by metros of all key transport modes, which include rail. Salga is participating in the process of developing a framework for devolution of these functions. This framework must consider the status quo on restoration and modernisation. Ideally, the devolution should occur after Prasa has managed to restore the services to their levels before these current challenges.


Otherwise, local government will inherit difficulties, which will not be easy to resolve. Salga notes current challenges such as Transnet Debt, which must be resolved by Prasa, the DoT and more importantly, National Treasury before the


devolution can occur. The agreements between Prasa and Transnet must be renegotiated for a more equitable responsibility between the two entities and with the spirit of co-operative governance.


The Draft Public Transport Subsidy Policy must also consider the funding and the delay that has necessitated the restoration and modernisation project of Prasa. A significant component of both the capital and operational subsidy is being used to restore services instead of modernising the service.


The combination with low paying passenger numbers has put an acute pressure on the size of the subsidy available to rail. The decline on revenue for Prasa has been at a higher rate than the government increases operational subsidy. Ticket prices were last increased in 2015, which further exacerbates the challenge.


The poor performance for rail has also created unnecessary complications, as commuters have migrated to the minibus taxi industry, thus increasing its overall modal share. This has


increased the voices of an operational subsidy for minibus- taxis. This is based more on the failure of the rail mode than any standalone argument. The sooner rail services get back to their levels, the better and clearer the argument for the public transport subsidy policy.


The possible introduction of an economic regulator in the rail sector is important to ensure better use of the current subsidies. The current approach leads to operational complacency. The Economic Regulation of Transport Bill is serving before the Portfolio Committee on Transport and when passed should assist to address this challenge.


Currently, Prasa faces the following three challenges, other than those that have already been mentioned: security; restoration; funding. It is acknowledged that these problems are also interrelated. There are opportunities of collaboration on all fronts between Prasa and local government, to assist the processes of returning the rail mode as the backbone of urban commuter transport. Metropolitan municipalities that have police force can be engaged on how they can assist in securing the rail reserve, especially on


areas where Prasa has just completed restoration and is continuing with restoration.


Salga can engage with the Department of Transport to present a consolidated view on the Prevention of Unlawful Entry Bill.
This can be combined with dealing with difficulties on the Prevention of Illegal Eviction Act. The proposed Railway Safety Bill can be utilised to broaden the definition of safety to include security of assets, including access to the rail reserve. Salga supports the restoration project such that the devolution occurs under better conditions. Salga supports an optimum use of existing funding as a basis for increased funding for rail.


In conclusion, the importance of rail mode as an integral part of improving the quality of lives for many urban South Africans cannot be overemphasised. Under no circumstances should we, as a country, find ourselves again having to deal with restoring infrastructure for rail. Modernisation should be a continuous process as the state strives to make lives better. I thank you.



Mr T S MTSHALI (KwaZulu-Natal): Hon House Chairperson, greetings to the Minister, and all the hon members who are part of this sitting. Indeed, we are here to debate on the restoration and the modernisation of the railway lines.


USIHLALO WENDLU (Nk W Ngwenya): Sicela ukukubona baba uMtshali. Sicela ukukubona.


USIHLALO WENDLU (Nk W Ngwenya): Vela sikubone.

Mnu T S MTSHALI (KwaZulu-Natal): Hhayi! Mina ngiyivulile ividiyo, Sihlalo. [Ubuwelewele.]

USIHLALO WENDLU (Nk W Ngwenya): Ehe! Nibongena kusenesikhathi sizokwazi ukukala izithombe zenu kahle.


Mr T S MTSHALI (KwaZulu-Natal): Is it still not sorted House Chairperson?



The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms W Ngwenya): Yes, hon Mtshali, you can continue.

Mr T S MTSHALI (KwaZulu-Natal): Hon House Chairperson, the railway transportation holds a significant and an esteemed role in the prosperity of KwaZulu-Natal’s economy. Presently corridor modernisation is in progress, though the focus at this point is on the service recovery and the restoration of the infrastructure.

However, hon House Chairperson, over the years and most recently, rail transport ...

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms W Ngwenya): Hon Mtshali.

Mr T S MTSHALI (KwaZulu-Natal): Yes, hon House Chairperson.


USIHLALO WENDLU (Nk W Ngwenya): Ngizocela ukuthi uma uzoba yisikhulumi ungene kusenesikhathi sizokwazi ukuthi sikukale isithombe sakho kahle. Asikuboni. Ngilimisile iwashi lami. Zilungise.



Mr T S MTSHALI (KwaZulu-Natal): Am I still not visible House Chairperson?


USIHLALO WENDLU (Nk W Ngwenya): Yebo, uyabonakala manje. Qhuba.


You can continue, hon member.

Mr T S MTSHALI (KwaZulu-Natal): Thank you, House Chairperson.

I was alluding to the fact that the modernisation that seeks to speak directly to the capacity and the new rebuilding of the infrastructure which assist in ensuring that the railway in particular in our province is able to be utilised by our people.

Hon House Chairperson, you will remember that I the past in particular the 2021 July unrest and the recent floods, resulted in the cost of about R3 billion which is required in the province of KwaZulu-Natal as estimated figures. While the


loss of fare revenue is estimated at about R50 million hindering the reinforcement of the passenger rail network as the backbone of the KwaZulu-Natal transport system.

The modernisation of rail infrastructure create the system that respond to the transport needs and it increases the number of train in the shorter frequency which will lead to transporting more people at their higher frequency through urban areas while linking the rail through the key economic hubs.

It must be noted that the majority of our people who uses railway transportation come from the poor background in particular the working class. As a result, they stand to benefit more from the modernisation of the rail infrastructure.

We would note that Passenger Rail Agency of SA, Prasa, rolling stock of fleet replacement programme is supported by the depo modernisation programme which includes the depo capacity upgrades, aligned with each phase of the rolling stock deployment. Amongst other areas the Springfield rolling stock depo in Durban yard have been identified in KwaZulu-Natal for


the depo modernisation programme to accommodate the requirements of the new incoming train fleet and the modern maintenance facilities as well as the improved standing yards.

The complete upgrade of the Durban yard and Springfield depo will take at least about three to six months to be completed. The projects are at a designed development state after there were a bit of delays due to court processes which took almost a year.

Through the [Inaudible.] investment via this programme in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, within the next five years it is anticipated that a high number of job opportunities will be created for our communities living around the areas. This is a great deal as we are crying and fighting for more job opportunities in particular for our youth.

All these by the way House Chairperson, is done by the ANC-led government which is the government of the people doing these for the people.

In March 2022 the Cabinet approved the White Paper on the national rail policy which considers a holistic view of the


trajectory in the rail development and introduces radical structural reforms within the sector which the hon Minister, we must say that this was a ground breaking policy in terms of being established by your department with an intend of inviting private sector in participation and ensure economic regulation that enables equitable access in the rail network. This will assist in opening up rail market to operators competing and improving operational efficiencies in freight movement within through the province to the destination of the interior both within and beyond the African borders which will see the economy boost for the province of KwaZulu-Natal.

We would note that amongst the areas in particular KwaMashu as well as eMlaza, they also stand to benefit with the modernisation of this infrastructure. This speaks to the amount they pay as part of the transportation, but also part of the modernisation speaks about bringing people closer to the economic hubs so that they spend less money in terms of travelling costs for they will be getting closer to facilities of work and employment which makes it easier for them to save.

As we have said this is designed to benefit our people in particular the working class. The main framework for this


programme it does indicate that it has to link our people directly to the working places. That is why among other things that speak to the modernisation is the high-level housing that has to be built closer to the port and closer to the depos which then allows our people to be able to travel closer.

However, amongst other things noting the N3 traffic close to grow on the basis of more of more vehicle utilising the modernisation and the restoration of the rail will assist in terms of the transportation of goods, but also the increased number that we are observing which then will allow other people including the business sector in particular to utilise different modes of transport as they are transporting their goods.

That being said, we must thank you, hon Minister for continued work, however we do call for a far greater working relationship within the Department of Transport in KwaZulu- Natal as we continue to advance this interest. Understanding that some of the areas have the national interest that they are having the authority over them. However, with the recent working good relations within the Department of Transport in KwaZulu-Natal as well as the national department, it does


bring grate results for the people of KwaZulu-Natal. That being said. I thank you, hon House Chairperson.

Mr J J LONDT: Thank you Chairperson, hon Minister, hon members, and fellow South Africans in general.

I do think it is important for me to start off by congratulating the Western Cape Whip on her birthday today and I am sure that with the accountability she holds, the Presiding Officers and other Whips will be lining up to give her lots of gifts on her birthday.

But to start with the speech hon Minister, as South Africans we often do not know whether we should laugh or cry when faced with a daily barrage of incompetence, bluster or more ANC sponsored corruption.

The most recent example where we didn’t know whether we should cry out in frustration or laugh at the charade was when our Phala Phala owner used taxpayers’ money to tar a pothole on a dusty gravel road.


The shameful actions of the comrades thinking nothing of stealing billions from the citizens and then tossing back crumbs hoping that the theft and destruction of our countries resources and assets should be ignored. That is just unacceptable.

So today we have a debate on the restoration and modernisation of rail infrastructure, a debate that is long overdue, but also wholly unnecessary. Because, a once functioning rail network was allowed to fall into total neglect.
That the ANC government has collapsed the public transport system is no longer in question, even today Minister Mbalula acknowledged that this mess was caused by the ANC.

However, he talks as if he was not there when he and his colleagues sold out our country to the highest bidder from Dubai. He acts as if he was not there in Cabinet when his colleagues, week in and week out stole from the citizens of the country.

We all know he was there but just chose to not act, to look the other way and the only train he successfully enabled to make any progress was the ANC gravy train.



I am however encouraged that hon Mbalula agreed that it must be fixed, and the easiest, quickest way to fix it is to ensure that those who have a proven track record of delivering get the mandate and the accompanying resources to look after commuters, the most vulnerable.

What is needed is the urgent devolvement of public transport management to capable municipalities and provinces. With the ever increasing fuel prices, adding to the unacceptably high cost of living it should be a top priority to provide economical, dependable and reliable rail network as a transport alternative. This will help low income households and save them from spending a high proportion of their monthly budget on transport and spending such a high percentage of their time commuting to work when they could be spending that in either getting resources or quality time with their families.

Hon Minister, we will hold you accountable when you say that central line will be up and running by December this year. My suspicion is that you will not meet the deadline and find a
101 excuses with the support of members in this House with hon


Dangor starting 1652 and ending with WMC, White Monopoly Capital but never taking any ownership for your lack of delivery.

Railways should be the main arteries that allow the easy movement of people and freight. In fixing our economy, this should be one of the top priorities and it cannot be business as usual trusting a corrupt cabal lead by the ANC to roll out such a critical project. It will only lead to tears.

Unfortunately, past actions usually predict future behaviour and there is little hope that the Ankola-led cabal will turn things around. It’s time to vote the liberation movement and liberate the country to reach its full potential on ensuring that our economy grows and that citizens are not dependent on handouts from government. But based on their own skills and capabilities, look after themselves and their families. I thank you.

Mr M DANGOR: Chairperson, the transport sector as a whole, and all modes of transport plays a critical economic role and a critical input into the economy for ensuring the movement of goods, freight and the people. It connects production in


different parts of the country with markets. It also ensures the efficient movement of people to engage in economic and other social activities. Therefore, the sound investment in transportation should lower the cost of moving people and goods and make the economy of the country efficient and attractive to both private and public sector investment.

An efficient transport system creates a more efficient division of production, leverage e geographical comparative advantage and provide the means to expand the economies of scale and scope in a country with a vast geography and the concentration of production in mining, manufacturing and agriculture in the provinces which constitute the best inland market.

It is critical therefore that an efficient rail infrastructure to transport goods to different parts of the country and to the coast for export. The transport sector currently makes an important contribution of 6,5% to the gross domestic product, GDP and employs directly and indirectly nearly 500 000 people.

In 2020, the South African transport, storage and communication sector contributed with an added value of


approximately R231,9 billion. This is no small economic contribution. It is therefore critical that there is a focus on the economic role of the restoration and the modernisation of the rail infrastructure, and must play a critical role in the implementation and the reconstruction of the recovery plan.

Turning to restoration and modernization of the rail infrastructure, though the most efficient mode of transport is rail. It is important at this juncture that we focus on the restoration and importantly, on the modernisation of the rail infrastructure.

In the recent past, the focus of this government has been and was on the theft and vandalism of rail infrastructure and that, as I said in the previously was an act of treason.
Ensuring that it be stopped and progress in that regard has been significant and much more needs to be done to improve security.

In the recent past, there has been much focus on the release of the White paper on our rails and now enables government to focus on the economic task of restoration and modernisation of


the rail infrastructure as well as rail services as an important mode of transport.

There are a number of challenges which currently face the transport of goods and freight in the country. The bulk of goods is currently transported through heavy duty trucks which have challenges themselves and is utilised for economic activities. This has a detrimental effect on the road infrastructure as it requires it to be resurfaced more often that is normally required. This also poses a safety problem on the roads.

We need to look at how we move goods from roads to rails. In this light, the government has adopted the policy of moving goods and freight from road transport to rail. However, there are a number of issues which require resolution prior to this policy becoming effective and implementable.

Transnet freight rail requires ensuring that the train sets required to ensure the efficient service for goods and freight for people. It is imperative that there is a restoration and modernisation of the rail infrastructure. Transnet freight requires redeveloping the current regulating systems in terms


of rail tariffs, ensures that road transport is more profitable and therefore encourages the usage of road transport for the Northern Cape by truck to ports in Richards Bay and in Durban for export. This does not do the industry economies of scale and the logistics for the movement of minerals and occurs as a negative.

Transnet rail should not price itself outside of the freight and goods formula that Transfreight can obtain the shortfall in revenue through the regulated margins rather than increasing revenue in the market through the optimization of the Transnet ... [Inaudible.] ... I have got a bit of croak in my throat, please excuse me.

South Africa is dependent economically on mining and agriculture. It is imperative that there is an efficient rail transport to ensure that minerals and agricultural products reach the coastal ports for export. During minerals movement it is important that there is important rail capacity for the transport of minerals from inland to the coast as it ensures optimum economic activity and increase revenue in the process. The same applies to Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Prasa, as a rail as traditionally had the most efficient and


cheapest form of transport for especially the working class in poor rural provinces. The network is important for ensuring that people are employed and able to seek employment.
Therefore, the restoration and modernisation of the rail infrastructure needs to ensure an improvement and become efficient. The draft White Paper is in fact very important.

The draft White Paper seeks to determine and create a policy certainty for the restoration and modernisation of the rail infrastructure. The finalization of the draft White Paper on rail and its implementation is critical to ensure a successful implementation of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, as it provides critical logistical links to various centres, enables local and industrial development beneficiation.


The economic model proposed by the draft White Paper on rail is to ensure the restoration and the modernization of rail infrastructure as well as to ensure that Transnet rail and Prasa are able to engage in the development of rail transport provide the more efficient service. However, the White Paper suggests that the economy optimization of the rail


infrastructure can also occur to public and private partnerships. This is also critical for the implementation as it is also geared towards ensuring the modernization of the rail infrastructure and including development of private- public sector partnerships not privatization in the rail infrastructure. But rather expanding the usage of the rail network for the national income gain to efficiently sweating the assets. This is the added advantage of moving freight goods and even people of the roads to rail.


The White Paper is timeous to ensure the restoration and the modernisation of rail and occurs as part of the rollout of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan. We need to look at the brighter future. The vision of a draft White Paper on rail is important as it the gets the country out of a backward looking narrative which is dominated by issues of corruption and destruction of infrastructure without looking at the inclusive economic development and economic growth. This backward looking narrative misses the point of ensuring that there is transformation in South Africa which deals with the challenges of poverty, inequality unemployment and economic exclusion.



If the current plan as contained in the draft White Paper on rail is implemented, it will mean an economic game-changer for the development of the country. A high performance rail network is critical for inclusive economic development in growth. The implementation of the plan for the restoration and the modernisation of the rail infrastructure will ensure that logistics at the cheapest possible cost is available to ensure the development of local industrialisation through the district development model which economic sense as the value chain is connected to the different market.


In conclusion, the ANC position is to ensure the restoration and the modernisation of rail infrastructure. But at the same time, it is important to fight for and defend the rail infrastructure as the destruction of the public infrastructure is part of our is part of our fight against lawlessness.
Criminality and the respect for the infrastructure that works for the public good is in the interest of the poor and vulnerable.


The security and infrastructure is critical. There is no point in making an investment that is not secure. The government has taken action through law enforcement agencies but more needs to be done. Communities need to be mobilised to ensure that they too guard their own infrastructure. `


Chairperson, let me say the following. Of course, hon Nhanha was positive in his criticism and offered some solutions, but hon du Toit and Londt wish that 1994 never happened. With that, I thank you, hon Chairperson and I conclude.


The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT: Hon House Chairperson and hon members, I am here today with the Chairperson of Prasa, Mr Leonard Ramatlakane and the Acting CEO of Prasa, Mr Hishaam Emeran. They have been here and also listening. Before we came here we started at Langa Train Station as part of the completion of our work on the revitalisation of the central line. We signed today the compact between communities who are on the tracks, ourselves, the local government of the DA-led City of Cape Town Metropolitan Municipality, the Department of Human Settlements and all the agencies involved.



I am deliberately mentioning the “DA-led municipality because when we deliver for our people we do not attach political affiliations. We do this to uplift our people, neither did we say that the mess that we see ourselves in there, it is the mess of any government’s sphere. It is a mess of Prasa because Prasa was mismanaged over the years and there was no proper governance. This is what we are correcting. Now, it is not history in the making but something we are doing as we speak.

Next week, together with the board of Prasa, I am going to make a big announcement around what we have done through Operation Ziveze, what we have discovered there and what we are going to do. We found that the corruption that is beyond your imagination of ghost workers which has cost Prasa billions of rands and that is what this board discovered and what we are doing.

I am telling you that before the end of the year, already all the 10 corridors are almost done. Before the end of the year, I will make an announcement around – not just an announcement, I am walking on the ground, inspecting that work myself.
Before the end of the year we will have a new CEO of Passenger


Rail Agency of South Africa, Prasa. Hopefully, this one will be better and forever. The board is hard at work in relation to that and I wish to thank Mr Hishaam Emeran for taking up stress of acting. We had to rotate because we cannot allow people to act in a position for more than six months. If you act in a position, then it becomes permanent you end up being a thief even if you did not intend to. Prasa is a capital intensive company. So, if your procurement is not right, you are not going to spend money. Our expenditure in terms of spending this year has improved. It shows you that there is some work that going right in that space. However, we have got approximately R14 billion plus money that has not been spent. As we recover these 10 corridors that the President announced in the state of the nation address, we are already recovering others.

Hon Brauteseth, Nasrec Train Station is indeed a new station that was built in the run-up to the Fifa Football World Cup. The extension of services to Nasrec Train Station is an integral part of Prasa’s work and that we are undertaking that. We agree with you. It is true that the country experienced unprecedented levels of theft and vandalism. That


is correct. There was decision taken by the previous board, the board that I replaced with the administrator.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: As you conclude, hon Minister.

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT: I was told that I have got nine minutes.

The CHIEF WHIP OF THE OF THE NCOP (Mr S J Mohai): There was four minutes saved when he was tabling the report in the opening of the debate. In terms of tradition we do allow some utilisation the few minutes from the opening statement. So, it is not like the nine minutes is not taken from me as the Chief Whip as I was explaining. Thank you, Chair.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Thank you, Chief Whip but in future you must let the Presiding Officer know about that.

The MINISTER OF TRANSPORT: So, that decision had an impact in relation to security contracts. We had security companies that were employed by Prasa but many things happened under their watch. The Public Protector together with the Auditor-General


felt that they were irregular contracts. So, the board took a decision without implementing contingency plans. Then Covid-19 lockdown regulations came and security was not there. When the security returned, the damaged was already caused. So, that is how I have explained this and I have explained that over and over again.

Hon Apleni, forgets that passenger rail system was not as glorious as he makes it out to be under the previous government. The reason government took a policy decision to separate passenger rail from freight was primarily because the passenger rail was playing second fiddle to freight rail. Only in South Africa where goods trains have priority on the network over passenger trains and that is our struggle today with Transnet.

You think that everything is Prasa but it is not. I regulate policy and Brauteseth has argued here on this platform that everything must go under transport to ensure alignment. I am not here to argue that but let me tell you, the lines that are used for Shosholoza Meyl belong to Transnet in this country and I have to pay Transnet for those lines. Whatever vandalism happening on those lines, those lines are maintained by


Transnet and not Prasa. I am only responsible for commuter rail. What you see around in Cape Town, Johannesburg and the rest belongs to Transnet.

So, whenever you think about trains or rail and everything, you think Mbalula. [Laughter.] So, yes, the correct position is that we need to align. It is like here, in this country there is energy somewhere and then - these things must be aligned so that we ensure effectiveness going forward. We do not have to be blamed for that because the ANC in terms of the policy conference has acknowledged that. That based on our experience when get in December, we need to adopt a policy of alignment. This will ensure that the Minister does not become the Minister of policy and then implementation is elsewhere.

Hon Nhanha, you are spot.


Jola ubethe kakuhle namhlanje. [Kwahlekwa.] Hayi ubusemcimbini.



Metrorail was meant to bring people to the cities as labourers. That is what he said and who had to return to the dormitory townships. Shosholoza Meyl was meant to transport mine workers from rural areas to the mines creating a generation of migrant workers that destroyed family units. I just want to respond to you by saying that the ANC policy has enabled significant inroads towards the transformation of our rail system to one that serves our people.
Hon Hadebe, we have made significant investment in our infrastructure. Hon Michalakis, I agree that Cape Town public transport users rely heavily on commuter rail. The devolution strategy articulated in the red policy will be aligned with the integrated urban development framework. Hon Du Toit, we are the first to admit the depths of the challenges confronting passenger rail but we are not sleeping on the job. We can tell you that. Things are changing every day and we are doing marvellous work with good people of goodwill. Those who are not of goodwill we will see them on the other side. Thank you very much.

The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon members and delegates, before I adjourn the House, I would like to remind you that the briefing on the readiness and arrangement for the 2020


Local Government Week scheduled for 13 – 15 September, next week on Tuesday until Thursday will take place immediately after the adjournment of the sitting.

The Council adjourned at 16h40.




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