On the 17th of May 2007 the MEC for Finance and Economic Affairs in the Gauteng Province addressed the media and announced the launch of Monorail proposal for Soweto Johannesburg. This address indicated that the project was approved by the Gauteng Province though a memorandum of understanding, the feasibility study had been concluded and that the Project implementation would commence in September this year. The project was said to be led by a Malaysian consortium and was a private sector investment of R12 billion.
The Ministry of Transport has since that date been inundated with enquiries about this Monorail proposal and up to date we have not responded. Today I can state the following categorically:
I DID NOT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THIS PROPOSAL UNTIL IT WAS ANNOUNCED IN THE MEDIA.
Furthermore my Director General was also not aware of this project prior to its announcement. Incidentally she, in my absence last week on an official trip to Geneva, called the Director General of the Gauteng Province after the announcement to get more information. We can therefore confirm that the Gauteng Province did not consult nor discuss nor seek approval for this proposal with my Ministry or Department.
I am informed that the Malaysian consortium at the early stages of the proposal met with Ibrahim Seedat on the 4th December 2006 of the Department of Transport, the Director for Public Transport Strategy and he referred them to Provinces and Municipalities.
You will recall that in December 2005 Cabinet approved the Interim Rail Plan and later on in December 2006 the National Rail Plan, which consolidated Regional Rail Plans, one of which was for the Gauteng Witwatersrand region which includes Soweto. None of these plans included the proposal for monorail.
Similarly, in October 2006 as part of October Transport Month at the Transport Indaba, ironically held in Soweto for public consultation, was submitted the Public Transport Strategy and Transport World Cup 2010 Action Agenda, neither of which contained the proposal on Monorail.
In February 2007, in his State of the Nation Address the President clearly stated the government’s intention to introduce Bus Rapid Transit Systems in the implementation of the Public Transport Strategy. In line with that the Minister of Finance in his Budget Speech announced an increased allocation for the Transport sector including more than R2 billion over MTEF for BRT and Buses.
The Lead project for BRT as we know is the Rea Vaya proposal led by the Johannesburg Metropolitan Council for which the main corridor is the Lenasia to Soweto to Parktown. This is the same area for which this Monorail is now proposed.
As recent as Monday 7th May I met with the Mayor, and Members of the Mayoral Council of the Johannesburg Metropolitan Council to discuss Public Transport and throughout our meeting the Monorail Proposal was not discussed.
I can therefore confirm that the National Land Transport Transition Act (NLTTA) specifies rail as a National competence and proposals for rail are made through the Municipal Integrated Transport Plan (ITP) to the National Minister of Transport. The Gautrain for instance received our support and the go ahead from my predecessor the late Minister Dullar Omar.
The Legal Succession Act also provides for the sole mandate of the SARCC for the provision of commuter passenger rail. The SARCC could appoint others to operate on their behalf. SARCC has not in our understanding appointed this rail operator on their behalf.
The Rail Safety Regulator in terms of the Rail Safety Regulator Act would also issue an official licence for infrastructure development, station development and plans for train operations before any rail operation is approved. It does not appear this was required or provided by the RSR.
Finally, it is unclear what procurement process was followed to secure this particular contract or arrangement to facilitate transparent competitive tendering for this project.
Issued on 23rd May 2007
Ministry Of Transport