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Mbalula Shines Light on National Rail Policy

February 19, 2021

Department of Transport

Rail policy and legislation designed to support and facilitate investment in rail infrastructure, rail modernisation and technology, safety and economic regulation and facilitate the participation of the private sector in rail is in the pipeline.

The transport minister, Fikile Mbalula highlighted this during the 2021 State of the Nation Address debate in the national assembly.

A Draft White Paper on the National Rail Policy was published for comment in 2017.

The Draft Policy focuses on infrastructure investment to strengthen rail’s competitiveness and enabling interventions to adjust institutional arrangements so that rail functions effectively.

The Draft Policy also calls for the crafting of a National Rail Act setting out the minimum elements of national rail policy, the department’s duty to consult with provincial and other stakeholders on the national rail policy, sanctions in the event of non-compliance with the policy and urgent issues to be addressed.

Other issues highlighted by the minister during the debate include:

• review and extend the dangerous goods list that identifies goods that should not be on the road for safety reasons;
• high cubed heavy trucks to no longer get exemptions to be on the road;
• finalise the funding and tariff structure of the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project by the end of this financial year;
• implementation of a re-imagined taxi recapitalization programme including increased local content in line with the Automotive Industry Master Plan – to scrap 63 000 taxis by 2024 and implement a new public transport funding model that includes the taxi industry in the next financial year;
• expansion of integrated public transport networks in 10 cities to be speeded up; and
• setting up of Transport Economic Regulator (Economic Regulation of Transport Bill) to introduce much-needed regulatory oversight over non-regulated transport tariffs.