Jonny Steinberg refers to the “crazy” spatial geography of post-apartheid SA (“Black public housing edged out by white suburbanites”, November 29), and asks what the alternatives were.

A sensible option that would be neither slow nor costly would be to build over existing railway lines and staging yards, everywhere in SA if necessary. No need for “compensated expropriation” or “subsidised land purchases”. And the white middle class, which mostly doesn’t know the difference between a train and a tricycle, would remain blissfully unaware of the social transformation taking place in their cities. The most valuable property on the planet is in Manhattan, most of whose streets have a rumbling train passing beneath them every minute or so.

One more thing:  the electric rail substations in SA, which were built to handle 700-million passengers a year, only have to cope with 200-million these days. Free land and cheap electricity — what’s not to like?

Vaughan Mostert


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