9 June 2011
Government, under the leadership of the Department of Transport, is in the process of and has also completed a number of transport projects, which constitute the country’s integrated public transport system and offers sustainable, equitable and uncongested mobility in the country’s major cities and districts. The Gautrain Rapid Rail Link’s commuter service between Johannesburg and Pretoria is one such initiative and will be fully operational on 28 June 2011. The commuter route marks an important milestone in South Africa’s drive towards an integrated transport system where the rail network will become the backbone of the country’s transport system.
The Department of Transport will host an International Investor Conference in Cape Town from 13 to 15 June 2011 to showcase the country’s proposed infrastructure and flagship transport projects.
South Africa’s public transport system is moving towards a high-quality integrated mass rapid network which connects road, rail and bus services more efficiently.
- Establishing an integrated rapid public transport network (IRPTN), through the priority rail corridors and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) systems, creates a seamless transport network offering a standardised high-quality service for all commuters.
- Government’s new initiatives such as the Gautrain, Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project (GFIP), Open Road Tolling (ORT) and the BRT system form an integral part of its integrated transport system.
- By 2020, more than 85% of any city’s population will be living within a kilometre or closer to an IRPTN feeder or corridor, transforming the way South Africans interact and do business with one another. These transport service networks are the wave of the future and the only viable option that ensures sustainable, equitable and uncongested mobility in our cities and districts.
- The IRPTNs in larger cities, as well as adapted versions for smaller cities and rural districts, will be able to provide a mobility solution that will be attractive to public transport users, as well as current car users. Our goal for the metropolitan cities is to achieve a mode shift of 20% of car-work trips to public transport networks by 2020.
The opening of the Gautrain commuter route between Johannesburg and Pretoria signals a new era in South Africa’s transport system where rail forms the backbone of our integrated transport network.
- The Gautrain Rapid Rail Link between Pretoria and Johannesburg demonstrates South Africa’s integrated mass transport system in its carrying capacity of over 40 000 passengers each way in under 38 minutes and linking these commuters to other public transport services.
- The Gautrain network will also use bus feeder services that complement existing public transport infrastructure and services to reduce the need for private car usage, thus contributing to an overall reduction in congestion and pollution.
- Over the past five years, government has invested more than R100 billion in passenger rail infrastructure and services. This includes a comprehensive rail upgrade to place rail at the centre of the country’s freight and commuter movement.
- The commuter rail service (Metro Rail) provides over 2,4 million passenger trips daily, with passenger trips growing at an average of about 7,1% over the past three years and is expected to average 5% over the medium term. South Africa’s planned rail investment of R97 billion into new stock for Metrorail and long-distance rail services over the next 18 years will overhaul the country’s rail system in a way that will radically change the way South Africans travel.
The growth of South Africa’s economy is dependent on the successful delivery of a comprehensive and integrated transport system for the country.
- The multi-million rand BRT in Johannesburg and Cape Town’s new Integrated Rapid Transit bus service is already reducing congestion on popular routes by offering commuters alternative transportation that is affordable and convenient.
- The upgraded GFIP of more than 500 km of freeway, that serves 1,4 million people who travel 40 million km and spend 600 000 person hours per day, promotes public transport and travel demand management through its integration with other public transport initiatives, such as the BRT, Gautrain and Metro Rail.
- The project also embraces a globally successful concept of Open Road Tolling (ORT), the user-pay principle through electronic toll collection at the 42 electronic toll gates erected on the N1; N3; N12; N17; R21; and R24, covering 185 km. The income from the tolls ensures dedicated funding for maintenance that allows for a high-quality road network, contributing to improved road safety and reducing travelling times and distances.
- Plans include the use of high occupancy vehicle lanes, which may be shared with buses, BRT systems and taxis to encourage the use of public transport and for private vehicles carrying three or more passengers. On the cards are also inter-modal transfer hubs and park-and-ride facilities, which will promote ride sharing.
South Africa’s planned public transport infrastructure projects offer lucrative investment opportunities for both local and international investors that help unlock the country’s economic potential while creating jobs.
- The Investor Conference (13 –15 June 2011) aims to attract and consolidate interest from local and foreign investors considering investing in South Africa’s major transport projects that are aimed at improving the country’s transport infrastructure.
- Delegates at the conference will represent a cross-section of interests from governments, state-owned entities and regulatory bodies, funding and investment institutions, research bodies and transport engineering firms.
- Deliberations during the conference will focus on rail corridor development projects such as the Pretoria to Moloto, Pretoria to Musina and Johannesburg to Cape Town rail corridors, which will unlock economic potential in these areas and create jobs.
- The funding of the High-Speed Rail Development Programme between Johannesburg to Durban, the busiest freight corridor in the southern hemisphere that facilitates economic growth for the country, region and the African continent, which requires an estimated investment of about R80 billion and R100 billion, will also be discussed.
Other investment opportunities highlighted include revitalising South Africa’s rail industry through the acquisition of rolling stock by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, the acquisition of rolling stock by Transnet, the movement of cargo from road to rail, rail network integration, addressing backlogs in fixed infrastructure and branch line activations.
Africa Union (AU) Summit
The 17th Ordinary Session of the Summit of the AU is scheduled to take place from 23 June – 1 July 2011 in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, under the theme: Accelerating Youth Empowerment for Sustainable Development. This supports South Africa’s Youth Month programme under the theme: Youth Action for Economic Freedom in our Lifetime. The 22nd Ordinary Session of the Permanent Representatives Committee will take place from 23 – 24 June and the 19th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council from 26 until 28 June.
This summit highlights the AU’s call on the need to invest in the empowerment and leadership of youth who constitute about 62% of the continental population.
- In Sub-Saharan Africa, three in five of the total unemployed are youth and, on average, 72% of the youth population live on less than US$2 a day (International Labour Organisation, 2006).
- Government continues to priorities youth development programmes and interventions in addressing the challenge of 42% of young people between the ages of 18 and 29 being unemployed.
- Government has declared 2011 the year of job creation and has called on all sectors and business entities, regardless of size, to focus on job creation.
- The summit aims to endorse an African Youth Fund that contributes towards ensuring meaningful youth participation that gives credence to the objectives of the African Youth Decade.
South Africa remains committed to the consolidation of the African Agenda by supporting multilateral and bilateral cooperation, with a view to ensuring a better Africa for all who live in it.
- South Africa is committed to the strengthening of continental institutions, which are critical in responding to the challenges of poverty and underdevelopment as well as peace, security and stability on the continent.
- South Africa supports post-conflict reconstruction and development (PCDR) in Africa, in among other countries, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Burundi. South Africa is chairperson of the AU’s Ministerial Committee on PCDR in Sudan.
- Within the context of the AU Peace and Security Council, South Africa will continue to support initiatives to ensure peace and security on the continent. South Africa forms part of the High‐Level Panel for the Resolution of the crisis in Côte d'Ivoire.
- At the beginning of May 2011, South Africa hosted the World Economic Forum on Africa, which provided an opportunity for the presidents of the African region and those from other countries to work together with the understanding that the growing confidence and potential of Africa can be translated into actions and tangible results.
Deeper regional integration in Africa is a prerequisite for engaging more competitively with the world economy.
- South Africa’s continental trade agenda is focused on supporting Africa’s economic integration in line with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) and the AU and the Abuja Treaty to establish the African Economic Community.
- A Pan-African Common Market of one billion people without internal borders will unleash enormous economic growth and development potential for Africa.
- The formation of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) – East African Community (EAC) – Common Market for East Africa States (Comesa) Tripartite Free Trade Agreement will assist in rationalising the different regional economic communities on the continent. This will create a market of 26 countries with a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$624 billion and a population of about 700 million people.
- President Jacob Zuma leads the Nepad High-Level Sub-Committee on Infrastructure whose primary objective is to contribute towards intra-Africa trade through the construction of road and rail infrastructure in the North-South Corridor, which includes the SADC, EAC and Comesa regions.
South Africa is committed to transforming institutions of global governance. The view is to ensure that it becomes more responsive, while also calling on Northern countries to be more responsive to the needs of developing countries, and for the South to play a more visible role in global affairs.
- South Africa will use its two-year term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as an opportunity to contribute to reforming the working methods of the council and to work towards the achievement of a representative, legitimate and more effective council.
- As part of the Group of 20 (G20) and the Group of 5 (G5 – the five emerging nations), South Africa will use its new BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) membership to push for a developmental position on multilateral forums, including on contentious issues such as climate change and agricultural trade.
- South Africa is the only Africa nation represented in the G20 and will host the G20 Development Working Group meeting, which it co-chairs with France and South Korea, at the end of June in Cape Town.
- Given the current challenges facing the global economy, in particular the needs of low-income and developing countries, South Africa has called G20 leaders to adhere to commitments made on the reform of the International Financial Institutions. South Africa co-chairs the G20 International Monetary Fund Reform Working Group with Australia.
Climate change is not only an environmental challenge. It is a sustainable development challenge that affects everybody. Climate change demands an urgent global agreement that takes into account different historical responsibilities in forging a shared responsibility for the future.
- If climate change is not addressed, it will undermine the developmental gains that the African continent has made to achieve the millennium development goals.
- South Africa will use the opportunity afforded by the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to showcase how climate change impacts on the country and continent, as well as the responses being implemented.
- South Africa is committed to further develop a common African position of the African Group in the multilateral climate change negotiations. As the continent most affected by climate change, it is important for Africa to speak with a unified message that drives the balance between climate and development initiatives, and calls for a balance between mitigation and adaptation to climate change, which interests will be better served by a legally binding global agreement.
Developed countries, which historically were responsible for the current emissions, should provide finance for developing countries to cope with the double burden of sustainable development and adapt to the effects of climate change.
Government has unleashed a two-pronged plan to boost jobs through a grant funding system to private sector firms to absorb unemployed youth and a state procurement plan to bolster supply and services from domestic firms.
South Africa well placed to attract investment
Colin Coleman, Managing Director of Goldman Sachs International, has drawn attention to the positive economic impact by South African companies MTN, Standard Bank and Shoprite in other parts of the continent. He said South Africa was one of the leading economies on the continent, given its admission into Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa and other important international institutions.
Wal-Mart deal signals growing American business interest in Africa
According to United States Assistant Secretary of State, Jose Fernandez, Walmart’s acquisition of the 51% share of Massmart symbolises growing enthusiasm among US firms for South African and African business prospects. He acknowledged that having 600 US firms operational in South Africa was "not enough", but said that interest and investment would expand further as Africa grew from a $1.6-trillion gross domestic product (GDP) region to an above $2-trillion GDP region by 2020. And, as the purchasing power of the African consumer grew from the current level of $900-billion to $1.4-trillion over the same period
Road safety looks at testing vehicles annually
Representatives from government departments, public sector and civil society gathered to find ways of reducing road deaths. The conference is a follow-up to the launch of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011 – 2020, which aims at saving lives by halting the increasing trends in road traffic deaths and injuries worldwide.
Minister Radebe launches courtroom technology
The Department of Justice has introduced new courtroom audiovisual technology to address the backlogs facing the judicial system from increasing caseload. The system will cut down the cost of transporting detainees from prisons to courtrooms and improve overall security, including the risk of inmate escapes.
Fifth South African AIDS Conference
The fifth South African AIDS Conference was held from 7 to 10 June 2011 at the International Convention Centre in Durban under the theme: Leadership, Delivery and Accountability. It revealed that South Africa was making real progress in shifting HIV treatment delivery to lower levels of health workers, thus enabling more patients to be reached despite deaths, more than 80% of patients on antiretroviral treatments in South Africa are still alive five years into their treatment.
The Truckers’ Wellness Organisation has received 10 mobile clinics to extend its HIV and AIDS programme among truck drivers. The new mobile clinics bring to 15 the total number of specially equipped vehicles that travel to depots of freight and logistics companies.
New chapter in schools curriculum
The Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement (CAPS) has been finalised and will soon be implemented in the South African school system with the aim of improving the quality of education. A total of 195 CAPS were developed and are now ready to be uploaded onto the Basic Education website. The development of CAPS will include the training of teachers and adaptation of textbooks.
Extra funding for Adopt-a-River Project
R2 million has been allocated to the Adopt-a-River Project to allow it to continue for another 12 months. The Deputy Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Rejoice Mabudafhasi, said that 595 job opportunities had been created through the project, with women acquiring skills in waste management; occupational health and safety; water safety; snake handling; first aid; environmental education; and life skills.
Acid water a priority
Acid mine drainage on the Witwatersrand has been included in the oversight programme of Gauteng’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. The inclusion is seen as a victory for environmental activists and multiparty democracy. This will send out a message that national government is accountable to provinces for lack of performance.
Eskom hopes to conclude more renewable energy funding
Eskom hopes to conclude more funding for its renewable energy projects in the near future. The utility secured a US$365-million African Development Bank loan. Eskom intends to use the loan towards financing its 100-MW Sere Wind Project in the Western Cape and a planned 100-MW concentrated solar plant in the Northern Cape.