LETTER: Reliable, safe rail transport in Cape Town a win for all
If urban rail in Cape Town succeeds, it's a victory for every sphere of government and for every South African
Everyone in Cape Town should be able to arrive at any of the city’s 118 train stations between 5am and 10pm, catch a train within 15 minutes, and get home quickly and safely.
The National Rail Policy White Paper, gazetted in May, makes important strides towards making this vision a reality through its acknowledgement that all over the world local governments tend to be better managers of rail services.
If implemented carefully and with a people-centric approach rather than a politician-centric one, this will be a progressive policy with the power to fundamentally change the country’s track as regards inclusionary and economy-powering transport.
I have written to transport minister Fikile Mbalula this week asking him to join the city in setting up a working committee comprising officials from the department of transport, the city and the Passenger Rail Agency of SA. This committee would begin the ground-breaking and detailed work of rail devolution hand-in-hand with the department. It would also enable our two governments to work together to improve rail services in Cape Town, even before devolution occurs.
The devolution of a state function is not a “loss” for one sphere of government and a “win” for another, even when different political parties are involved. If urban rail in Cape Town succeeds, it’s a victory for every sphere of government and for every South African. The benefits resulting from a reliable, safe and affordable rail network in Cape Town will have social, economic and fiscal pay-offs that will have myriad positive repercussions at a national level.
I hope the minister will join me in getting Cape Town rail on the right track — our commuters and businesses cannot afford to wait any longer.
Cape Town mayor
JOIN THE DISCUSSION: Send us an email with your comments to email@example.com. Letters of more than 300 words will be edited for length. Anonymous correspondence will not be published. Writers should include a daytime telephone number.
Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.