Cape Town said on Tuesday it would appoint a team of rail professionals to assist its transport directorate with business plans to take over passenger rail management from the national government.
It said it was evaluating and assessing four tenders for the exercise and that the rail experts, once appointed, would develop a feasible and incremental plan for the city to assume the urban rail function from the state-owned Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA).
The city council approved the business plan in October 2017 and its structured and incremental format will allow Cape Town to acquire the necessary skills and develop additional capacity to ensure the long-term sustainability of the rail service.
"The assignment of the urban rail service will have long-term implications for residents and commuters," mayoral committee member for transport Felicity Purchase said.
"It will affect our long-term spatial planning and our local economy. It will, importantly, also have an impact on PRASA, being the rail operator, its divisions and personnel, and its service providers. Thus, whatever we do must be done with the utmost care and diligence, and must adhere to the highest professional standards."
The city council said it would announce the winner of the tender once the supply chain management process was concluded and it was satisfied that there is a preferred service provider who would be able to meet the criteria or scope of work.