Sean Flanagan, an executive director of construction group Murray & Roberts, which has a 25% share in the Bombela consortium building the Gautrain, says the consortium has not been contracted to have any element of the rail project completed in time for the 2010 event.
“If it is required, it will entail negotiations between Bombela and the client (the Gauteng govern- ment) on measures to accelerate the project.”
Flanagan says Bombela has been contracted to complete the first phase of the 80-km, R25-bil-lion project in 45 months.
This initial phase entails the Sandton to OR Tambo International Airport link, as well as the link between Sandton and Midrand.
The remaining five stations, inclusive of the links between Sandton and Johannesburg’s Park station, and Midrand and Hatfield, in Tshwane, will be completed and tested in 54 months, which adds up to April 2011.
“Forty-five months gives you a completed date of July 2010, by which time the World Cup is, of course, over.
“We would have to accelerate the project by two months to complete it in time for the event.
“This will cost money, as we would have to bring in additional resources.”
Flanagan explains that Bombela would have to investigate ways to work faster, followed by an investigation into the costs of this acceleration process.
The Gauteng provincial government would have to weigh the costs of this process against the possible benefits of having the rail project completed in time for the World Cup.
Flanagan says the project team is not currently in discussion with the Gauteng provincial government to accelerate the project, and that doing so is the provincial government’s decision.
In response, Gauteng provincial government Gautrain project leader Jack van der Merwe says the concession agreement between Bombela and the province was signed, and construction started on September 28, 2006.
He says the initial phase is indeed to be completed in 45 months, which brings the date to June 27, 2010.
He notes that Bombela will indeed have to accelerate the project to complete the initial phase before June 9, 2010, when the soccer World Cup kicks off.
“Province has always been aware of this fact, and has provided and negotiated a R150-million incentive for Bombela to open [the Gautrain] before the soccer World Cup,” says Van der Merwe.
This has been included in the concession agreement.
“Province is currently awaiting Bombela’s proposal to achieve this, and has been in consultation with Bombela for some time on the actual plans,” he notes.
The Gautrain is a public–private partnership between the Gauteng provincial government and Bombela, a consortium consisting of international partners Bombardier and Bouygues, and local stakeholders Murray & Roberts, as well as black economic-empowerment company Strategic Partners Group.