Inhabitants of Durban and Pretoria are soon to benefit from a major transportation plan that will keep South Africa on the right track along economic development. Within the next three years up to 3.3 billion Euros is to be invested in creating a new commercial rail industry, says Brian Molefe, the chief executive officer of Transnet, a state owned logistics group. It currently manages over 12,400km of rails and is poised to enter into partnership with two Chinese companies, Rail Zhouzhou and China South China North Rail, together with General Electric and Bombardier Transportation. The aim is to reach a total of 1,064 locomotives (599 electric and 465 diesel) to run along the 700km trajectory in the Eastern provinces of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.
The most important partners of this development however are South Africans themselves, whose contribution in terms of labour amounts to 55 – 60 percent of the finished product. This creates 30 thousand new jobs. In addition, the country will benefit from the newly gained skills, necessary for the future development of infrastructure that will be triggered off by the new railway. In fact, this project is but a fifth of a grander scheme of 20 billion Euros budgeted for modernising the ports, starting with Cape Town to Durban through Port Elisabeth. And as for sustainability and renewable energy, Transnet has applied for a licence to generate electricity mostly from using the technology of its new locomotives. It plans to regenerate 38MW by 2017.