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The president promised the projects in his 2019 state of the nation address

President Cyril Ramaphosa has provided details of government plans for high-speed trains and smart cities which he promised in his 2019 state of the nation address.

The schemes were scoffed at by commentators at the time given SA’s severe challenges in providing jobs and basic services to its population.

In a written reply to a parliamentary question by DA leader John Steenhuisen on the details of progress made so far, Ramaphosa said his remarks were intended to invite South Africans “to look beyond the challenges of the present and to imagine a country of high-speed trains, smart cities and a hi-tech economy”. He called on citizens to cast their sights “on the broadest of horizons”.

The president said this bolder vision of a technologically advanced society has received practical attention over the last few years.

“For example, the department of transport has developed a high-speed rail framework. The framework has prioritised and ranked the corridors using internationally benchmarked criteria. The Johannesburg to Durban corridor was identified as the highest-ranking potential high-speed rail corridor, with the Pretoria to Mbombela to Komatipoort corridor, and Johannesburg to Pretoria to Polokwane to Musina corridor, ranking second and third, respectively.

“On 1 November 2023, [the] cabinet approved the high-speed rail framework for implementation, and for the Johannesburg to Durban corridor to be prioritised for a feasibility study. The department of transport plans to establish a high-speed rail project management office to take this process forward.”

Another practical example, Ramaphosa said, is the Lanseria project which aims to establish a new smart city home to 350,000 and 500,000 people by 2030. The master plan for the project is managed and co-ordinated by the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency, with the support of local, provincial and national government.

Support for the development of bulk infrastructure for the project is being provided through the allocation of an urban settlements development grant to the City of Johannesburg, Ramaphosa said. The current focus of the project is on building a wastewater treatment facility and land acquisition.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Linda Ensor

Quelle/Source: Business Live, 22.12.2023

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