New models for transportation exist

Yesterday I found myself sitting on the train( yes the fast moving one),as It meandered through the  sterile mini metro of Midrand, to the concrete darkness of Sandton and Rosebank,  my thought began to wonder  as to the role of transportation and the challenges the State faces and may continue to face, if decisive leader is not provided.

As a former Capetonian (my Hearth’s home), the rail network, was a dangerous; crime ridden and unreliable way to get to the City, but equally it was accessible; affordable, was filled with funny religious interprets. I hated those 30 minutes(or, so, if you lucky), to get to work,  every-time I enter the train; I always felt poor; forgotten and as an economic refugee, more like a sardine really, encroaching on the Mother Cities beautiful splendor.

As we went underground in Rosebank, I began to think about the role of cities in supporting these fast-moving futuristic modes of transport. With 70% of South Africans expected to live in cities by 2050, but currently more than half are living in agrarian rural communities. A challenge arises in defining the responsiveness of policy, to either plan and prioritize for city (metro) focused systems and neglect rural areas, with the expectation that they will move anyway to cities. The role of cities in transport planning must be considered strongly, as the State may find itself reinforcing economic exclusion and unbalance spatial development.

I was reading through the national transport strategy, at an estimated cost of R 1 trillion, I was shocked to realized it was all coming from tax payers, a failure of the strategy is around clarifying  the role of the private sector, in the future of SA’s transport landscape. As part of the same conversation, clarity is required around, reducing the management and maintenance of the transport fleet away from the State. Globally, transportation is owner managed by private co-operations, and the State has struggled to narrate the desired financial and asset management roles of the private sector, yes I’m alluding to privatization.

When will SA privatize the core of the transport infrastructure? Or the least create an enabling environment for the private sector to compete sustainably in the industry. If privatization is too far, then where does the State stand on the role of PPP models of co-funding and management of these assets, the success of the Gautrain in Gauteng can be used as casing point.

I haven’t used the Metrorail, since coming to the City of Gold, but I hope it’s not like my experience in Cape Town. I hope those commuters don’t feel as hopeless and forgotten when using the train as I did. I am highly expectant, with the upcoming rail recapitalization from PRASA, that commuter experiences like mine will be far and wide in between, after its been fully rolled out.

These are quite a lot of questions. I’m a lame, so next time I’m on the train; I’ll keep quiet and pretend to read those free newspapers, that I know not everyone is really reading.

Sanda Luthuli, reads a lot of government documents to fill his time. A holder of an Honours degree in Economics, and currently reading towards a Master’s degree in Economics, focusing on industrial policy and inequality. Oh, an avid Gautrain user. A free thinker boxed in by beaurocracy.