Johannesburg - Government is to invest billions in mass transport
systems as a way of "greening" the South African economy, President
Jacob Zuma said on Sunday.
"By 2014, the state-owned commuter rail company, Prasa
[Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa], will invest R20bn in new
trains, most of which will be manufactured locally," said Zuma.
He was addressing the World Economic Forum Green Partnership Dialogue at COP17 in Durban.
This was part of government's New Growth Path which
seeks to reduce emissions by focusing on renewable and nuclear energy,
green transport and the built environment.
"Government will invest in mass-transport systems to
reduce reliance on private cars. Initial steps have been taken on bus
rapid transport and commuter rail," said Zuma.
Zuma said government would review its rail investment
programme in order to accelerate the shift of freight transport to rail
State-owned transport entity Transnet, will invest
about R63bn in the freight rail system over the next five years,
"For its part, organised business will continue to promote greater use of rail freight by companies."
Zuma stressed that the country's Green Economy Accord
had a strong commitment to employing young people and those historically
excluded from the economy.
"In particular, government and business have set a
target of 80 percent youth amongst new employees in the manufacturing
and installation of solar-water heating systems as well as government's
public works programmes to green the economy," said Zuma.
He said it was imperative that poor communities did not end up footing the bill, whether through job losses or high prices.
Zuma said electricity utility, Eskom, and business would work to create technologies to reduce emissions from coal-fired plants.
The solar and wind energy industries in the country had made a target of creating 50 000 green jobs by 2020.
"Government will also support the installation of one million solar water heating systems by 2014 to 2015," said Zuma.
In the short run, green jobs would be created by
services associated with cleaning up the environment, "especially
recycling, cleaning public spaces, and controlling invasive species,"
Zuma said the New Growth Path "foresees that in the
coming decades, at least a third of new electricity generation will come
from renewable sources".