Transnet to unveil rail revamp plan

2011-12-05 22:00

Johannesburg - Transnet will soon announce a new capital expenditure plan to expand the country's overcrowded rail networks, Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said on Monday.

Gigaba told a business briefing in Johannesburg that the expansion project would help ease rail congestion in Ermelo and promote coal transportation to Richards Bay.

"Transnet shall soon announce a new capital expenditure plan and a revised capex timeline," the minister said.

"This will help, for example, to implement critical projects such as the road-to-rail migration, develop the Waterberg rail link and the rail link between Swaziland and South Africa, which will ease the rail congestion in Ermelo and facilitate more coal transportation to Richards Bay."

South Africa, he said, urgently needs to improve its infrastructure optimisation to support local content and  industrialisation.

The fleet is being updated with more powerful and environmentally-friendly locomotives.

"We aim to move from mere replacement of the ageing fleet to adding capacity," Gigaba said.

"In this regard, we are finalising our fleet procurement strategy which shall take into account the economic demand and the resultant economies of scale in purchasing locomotives over a longer term."

The country is exploring strategies to expand its African footprint to position SA Airways as the main carrier on the continent.

"We would like them to increase their share of the African market, be significant players in the transportation of people between various African countries and between Africa and the world and facilitate and promote trade within the continent and between the continent and the globe."

Turning to arms manufacturer Denel, Gigaba said the company is showing signs of recovery.

He said key to Denel's success would be its ability to increase its order book from the department of defence and win more international contracts.

There are also plans to reposition state diamond mining company Alexkor, so that it plays a significant role in the mining of legitimate diamonds in the continent.

The company needs to provide the skills and expertise required by South Africa's neighbours, Gigaba said.

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