Maritime is not the only industry that the department is eyeing for major reforms; rail is also on its list.
The problem of aging rail infrastructure, which the government has begun to address, has been a major area of concern.
South Africa has an extensive rail network – the 14th longest in the world – connecting with networks in the sub-Saharan region.
The country’s rail infrastructure, which connects the ports with the rest of South Africa, represents about 80 per cent of Africa’s total.
Government is investing more than R53 billion in a facility that will enable South Africa to produce its own trains.
The country’s rolling stock is more than 50 years old and Minister Peters acknowledges that this is not acceptable.
“We have arrived at a point where we have to make it possible to revitalise our rail system.
We also want to make sure that we don’t export the resources that we have Transforming the rail industry.
We will be building our own academy where we will train artisans, technicians and train drivers,” she adds.
More than 600 trains will be bought and 580 of these will be built in South Africa, while 20 will be imported from Brazil.
On the issues overshadowing the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), Minister Peters is confi dent that the challenges can be overcome.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, who conducted an investigation into the affairs of PRASA, Transforming the rail industry
found widespread evidence of maladministration, improper conduct and nepotism at the organisation.
Minister Peters says she is concerned about the developments at PRASA but adds that the organisation is working to resolve the problems.
“I want to indicate that we have reports and the Auditor-General went back to previous years
to show me of they have been raising red fl ags about the procurement challenges at PRASA so the problems are not starting now.
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