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South Africa gets world-class transport infrastructure

Written by Samona Murugan

Transport Month

October is Transport Month and this year the focus is on infrastructure development and job creation.

October is Transport Month and this year the focus is on infrastructure development and job creation.Under the theme ‘Celebrating 20 years of providing safe, reliable and affordable transport', the Department of Transport is highlighting progress made since the dawn of democracy to upgrade transport infrastructure. The democratic state developed the National Transport Plan to refurbish public transport through projects such as the Gautrain Rapid Rail system, the upgrading and building of new airports, the refurbishment of existing rail lines, adding new routes to the Bus Rapid Transport system, and creating thousands of jobs for ordinary citizens through the S’hamba Sonke and other initiatives.

Bridge City Development

Residents of Inanda, Ntuzuma, and KwaMashu in KwaZulu-Natal stand to benefit from the Bridge City Development. The project is the first integrated development which includes a regional hospital, a magistrates’ court, retail, commercial and residential buildings, a shop- ping mall and an intermodal transport system of buses, taxis and trains.

Launched by President Jacob Zuma, the R1.2 billion project is a joint venture between the eThekwini Municipality and Moreland. It has created about 25 000 permanent jobs and 27 500 temporary construction jobs. The Bridge City Development will be opened officially this month by President Zuma.

Gautrain Rapid Rail Link

The Gautrain is the first world-class rapid rail link to be built in the country to connect commuters and alleviate congestion on the provincial road network. Between 2011 and 2012, some 5 million commuters used the general route and 1. 5 million used the airport link.

In just one year, the number of commuters using the Gautrain airport route rose seven per cent to 1, 6 million commuters, and the general routes showed an 83 per cent increase to 9 mil- lion people. The Gautrain has created 11 700 direct and 63 200 indirect jobs. Approximately 10 400 staff were trained and skilled in various areas of the project.

Airport infrastructure

The new King Shaka International Airport in Durban is government’s second-largest trans- port infrastructure project after the Gautrain. Built in May 2010, the R6.7 billion airport has 18 bays for passenger aircraft, a 3.7 km-long runway, and the capacity to handle 7.5 mil- lion passengers a year. The project has created almost 270 000 direct and indirect jobs. King Shaka International is part of the Dube Trade Port development - the only facility in Africa that brings together an international airport, cargo terminal, warehousing, offices, a retail sector, hotels, and an agricultural area.

South Africa’s biggest airport, OR Tambo International Airport, had a R5 billion upgrade and revamp in 2010. The airport now has a multi-level terminal linking the domestic and international terminals, 75 check-in counters, 33 lifts, 34 escalators, two 90 m-long baggage carousels, 10 000 m2 of retail space, and a R496 million new multi-storey parkade which allows the airport to accommodate 17 500 vehicles.

Mthatha Airport in the Eastern Cape was also upgraded from a domestic airstrip to an international airport. The South African Air Force will use it for military training. The R465 million upgrade focused on upgrading the passenger and freight hub linking road, rail and air transportation and effectively becoming a gateway to the province. The upgraded airport has enabled government to unlock the economic growth potential of the region and the province as a whole.

S'hamba Sonke

S'hamba Sonke: Moving Together is a nationwide drive to create jobs by maintaining and constructing road infrastructure. In partnership with provinces and municipalities, the Department of Transport is improving access to schools, clinics and other social and economic opportunities by drastically upgrading the secondary road network and fixing and repairing potholes throughout the country. The programme has created more than 150 000 jobs, and expects to have created 400 000 by the end of 2014. The project received an allocation of R7.5 billion in 2012/13 and R8.2 billion for 2013/14.