Prasa revamp to create 65 000 jobs

2012-02-14 15:35

Pretoria - A revamp of rolling stock and rail infrastructure will see the creation of about 65 000 jobs, the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) said on Tuesday.

The programme would cost about R136bn, said Piet Sebola, manager of the project.

On the renewal of rolling stock, which was expected to cost R126bn, Sebola said an agreement had been reached with the Treasury on how the programme would be funded.

Details of the funding structure are expected to be released next week, when Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan presents his 2012 budget.

Sebola and Prasa CEO Lucky Montana were adamant that they had secured the funding, which would see 7 200 coaches delivered between 2015 and 2035.

Montana said some of Prasa’s rolling stock was built more than half a century ago and desperately needs to be replaced with more efficient coaches and locomotives.

Some coaches would become museum pieces at railway stations, while others would be leased to other African countries, which have already enquired about old rolling stock.

Montana said the new coaches would have to be energy efficient.

Under the programme it was envisaged that a new rolling stock factory would be set up and a minimum of 65% of components would be locally manufactured.

Sebola said: “At least until the mid-1980s, South Africa had the capability and capacity to design and build its own trains. To some extent we lost that because of non-investment in South African railways for quite a while.”

The renewal programme would restore that capability.

Montana said it was not yet certain where the new rolling stock manufacturing facility would be established, but that several municipalities across the country have expressed interest.

The modernisation of the rolling stock and infrastructure would result in faster train times, with commuter trains travelling between Johannesburg and Pretoria in under an hour.

He did not view the improvements as competition with the Gautrain, but hoped for greater integration between bus networks and commuter rail networks, including the Gautrain.

Sebola said the current narrow rail gauge - known as the Cape gauge - would be kept and upgraded, and it was hoped trains would reach speeds of up to 120km/h.

Most of the proposed rolling stock would be distributed to regions with high passenger volumes including Gauteng, Cape Town and eThekwini.

  • Peter - 2012-02-14 18:15

    another clean out of the economy!!! We ALREADY HAVE A FACILITY, Union Carriage in Nigel - Slap BANg in the middle of one of the areas of highest unemployment. Union carriage have made the rolling stock for the OLD S A R as well as Rhodesia Railways since the 1940,s. They have all the space needed all the equipment required to re-tool!! But NO, move it to somewhere else, and let the ANC Cadres 1) Find the land! (buy it and sell on to the Govt at Z)a huge profit of course! 2)Get the construction contract for the new factory ( at a hugely inflated price) 3)Get a kickback on all the imported components (that could be made here - but are now imported) AND YOU TELL ME THAT "THEY" WILL CREATE 65.000 NEW JOBS?????????????? My Eye!!!!!!!

  • Garth - 2012-02-14 18:25

    We also have a similar facility in Bloemfontein and Cape Town. They were CLOSED by the ANC because all the whites were working there and there were no suitably qualified BLACKS to do the work. So they closed them and put the whites out to pension or paid the younger guys out.The closure of these factories had nothing to do with sanctions. we had had all the raw material and the likes of Siemens are still in the country, only GM pulled out

  • Wesley - 2012-02-14 19:31

    Since when are they busy, it is going to take another 20 years before they start. They must first sort out the kickbacks

  • Eduard - 2012-02-14 20:30

    It is the ANC's fault that the railways that they inherited from the apartheid government basically got destroyed in 15 years. Maybe the ANC's master plan is to destroy everything and then "rebuild it" whilst taking commission/kickbacks. BUT the people of SA are getting gatvol, both blacks and whites.

  • justin.pretorius - 2012-02-21 15:30

    65 000 jobs? We are still waiting for the miraculous 500 000 to appear from Zuma's last statement

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