Cape Town - Over 100 private sector parties have applied for concessions to operate some of South Africa's more than 3 000km of closed branch railway lines.
A written reply to a parliamentary question, tabled by Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba on Tuesday, states government has no intention of repairing the 3 255km of branch line track around the country.
However, state-owned freight company Transnet has been granted approval to "concession" closed branch lines, as well as some that are still active.
"Transnet has registered 115 interested parties in the published branch lines concession opportunities.
"The proposed model to concession branch lines provides that Transnet will conclude long-term concession agreements with private operators following a competitive process.
"These private operators will assume responsibility of investment in the branch lines, and maintain and operate the lines to an agreed standard for the concession period."
According to the reply, over a third of the closed branch lines (1 202km) is located in the Eastern Cape. A further 563km is in the Free State.
The closing date for expressions of interest to operate the branch lines passed in October.