James Masango MPL
Provincial Chief Whip of the Official Opposition
Commuters living in the Thembisile Hani and Dr JS Moroka municipalities are being fed false hopes yet again over government’s commitment to finding solutions to the transport crisis along the ill-fated R537 Moloto Road.
This comes after public works, roads and transport MEC Dikeledi Mahlangu announced that National Treasury requested further feasibility studies be done into other options besides rail, and these are now in progress.
It is preposterous that five years after the initial Moloto Rail Corridor was approved, government now wants to find alternative solutions. Nothing has changed since the initial feasibility studies were conducted, except that more lives were lost along the “Road of Death” and more commuters suffered as bus companies dictated prices and terms.
During last week’s policy and budget vote debates for the Office of the Premier in the Mpumalanga Provincial Legislature, concerns were raised over the Moloto Rail Corridor’s exclusion from this year’s budget, and the Premier failed to respond.
Recognising the importance of the Moloto Rail Corridor to the people of this area, the DA has been hard at work drumming up public support for its implementation. In November our Federal Congress adopted a resolution to this effect, and since then, our councillors, activists and volunteers have been engaging with commuters by having them sign a petition, calling for the project’s implementation, which will be presented to parliament.
The fact is that the Moloto Rail Corridor would not only provide a cheaper alternative to commuters, but also play a huge role in the economic development of the area and create much needed jobs.
Commuters have not forgotten the ANC’s promise to implement the Moloto Rail Corridor during its 2009 election campaign, and now that the promise has backfired, the ruling party is scrambling for another option to maintain popular support.