Moloto Rail Corridor: A pipe dream for poor communities

James Masango MP

Provincial Chairperson – Mpumalanga

Deputy Shadow Minister of Public Works

Transport Minister Dipuo Peters yesterday announced that the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral) would be tasked with managing the notorious Moloto road.

Although it is pleasing to see the government finally take note of the DA’s call to implement the rail corridor that has been promised to the people of Thembisile Hani and Dr JS Moroka municipalities since 2008, it seems the construction of the rail corridor will not see the light of day as government chooses instead to focus on the Moloto road.

It is concerning that Sanral will now mange this road given that the agency’s track record has revealed Sanral’s tendency to systematically implement tolling on routes they manage. Thembisile Hani and Dr JS Moroka are amongst the poorest and most rural municipalities in the province, it is therefore unlikely that residents will be able to afford paying toll fees now or in the future.

The aim of constructing the Moloto Rail Corridor was to make commuting between Mpumalanga and Gauteng both cheaper and safer for the thousands of commuters traveling between the two provinces. The Moloto road is notorious for its high traffic volumes and the gruesome accidents that take place on a regular basis and a railway line would go a long way in reducing the amount of traffic on the road thus making it safer.

The department of transport must come clean about their plans to improve the lives of commuters and decide whether they will in fact begin the construction of an actual railway line or simply broaden the Moloto road and make commuters pay more.