SA Railway can be saved ‘only if South Africans make ActionSA bigger’

ActionSA National Chairperson Michael Beaumont briefed the media on the state of readiness of the conference on Thursday in Rosebank. Photo: Kamogelo Moichela/IOL

ActionSA National Chairperson Michael Beaumont briefed the media on the state of readiness of the conference on Thursday in Rosebank. Photo: Kamogelo Moichela/IOL

Published May 2, 2024


WHILE the country’s rail sector stands at breaking point and in need of urgent action, ActionSA’s Team Fix SA has unveiled its infrastructure master plan to reinvigorate and bring back the sector should election day go their way.

The party’s member for infrastructure and the national chairperson, Michael Beaumont, said the party’s plans would rejuvenate the country’s railway infrastructure on the container corridor between Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal just outside the Durban harbour.

This especially as he detailed how it had experienced the most “horrific” decline of infrastructure over the last few years.

Beaumont explained that part of Team Fix SA’s decision to address challenges of the sector came on the backdrop of information revealing that as of 2023, 87% of the freight coming into Durban harbour was now being moved by road as a direct consequence of the failure of the railway infrastructure.

Photograph: supplied by ActionSA

“South Africans can believe in a turnaround in their railway network, and broader infrastructure across the country but it begins with the removal of the ANC government. Our railways are a clear demonstration of the measure of ANC governance and the reality that such improvements can only begin when the ANC is consigned to the opposition benches of our country.”

According to Beaumont, it is believed that the failure of the railway infrastructure had to date cost the economy in the region of R350 billion or 4.9% of the national Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

However, he said in a bid to turn things around, ActionSA had already created a 8-step infrastructure master plan, which the party believes would reform South Africa’s broken railway network.

The first step proposed was for the reform of Transnet by separating the ports and railway functions and the absorption both into the Department of Transport, followed by raising R100 billion through public private partnerships, as well as a further R100bn from the national budget to fund the rejuvenation of the Transnet railway network.

The third step is to institute regulatory reforms to enhance the value derived from investments in rail infrastructure as part of a broader international investment facilitation drive into public infrastructure, while simultaneously initiating a massive public works programme that leverages the need for workers on the railway lines rejuvenation project.

The national chairperson said the party would also seek to pass new regulations under the National Key Point Act to list strategic railway lines as new National Key points, and pass the Criminal Laws Amendment Act that would ensure that economic sabotage of national key points to have a minimum sentence of life in prison.

Beaumont said a dedicated railway police unit would also be implemented to become a one-stop shop involving asset protection, intelligence gathering and investigations.

In addition to the establishment of the dedicated unit, Beaumont added that the party would seek to deploy the military under the command of the SAPS to guard infrastructure listed as national key points.

“If South Africans want a party that rules out coalition with the ANC, a party with clear plans to address our infrastructure, and the kind of leadership that gets trains moving they need to make ActionSA bigger,” he said.

The Star