A PLAN for the proposed high- speed rail link between Johannesburg and Durban was ready for presentation to the Cabinet, Transport Minister Sibusiso Ndebele said yesterday.
He said the plan would be part of the government’s bid to revitalise the country’s railways and boost job creation.
The Johannesburg-to-Durban link is itself part of a wider initiative for high-speed railways between Cape Town and Johannesburg, Pretoria and the former KwaNdebele area in eastern Mpumalanga, and Johannesburg and Musina on the Zimbabwean border, Mr Ndebele said.
“Cabinet approval will then kick-start a process that includes a feasibility study on the viability of the Johannesburg to Durban rail link,” he said.
Department of Transport spokesman Sam Monareng said the proposed railway was not just for passengers and included a significant freight element. “We want to get as much freight as possible off the road,” he said.
The South African National Roads Agency says 80% of freight arrives in Gauteng by road.
Mr Monareng said projected costs would be available only after the viability study was conducted, so long as approval to proceed was received from the Cabinet.
The ministry also set out to allay fears about potential cronyism involving the project, saying it had “noted recent media reports indicating that Duduzane Zuma, the son of President Jacob Zuma , Lazarus Zim, and the Gupta brothers together with their Chinese partners were in line to win the rights to construct Africa’s first high-speed rail project” and that the department would only call for ” expressions of interest on the Durban-Johannesburg high- speed rail route in July”.