During his State of the Nation address in parliament, President Jacob Zuma announced that state-owned transport and logistics group Transnet will spend R300-billion in a capital-expansion programme to move the transportation of minerals such as coal from roads to rail, Times Live reports.
In terms of the new plan, Zuma said, Transnet will be making massive improvements to the Durban-Gauteng rail corridor, implement major rail infrastructure developments in Limpopo and Mpumalanga, where coal is mined, and improve the manganese export channel through the port of Ngqura in Port Elizabeth. Zuma said the government was also exploring measures to drop port charges by R1-billion in a bid to reduce the high cost of doing business through the ports.
R200-billion would be specifically invested in rail infrastructure, the president said, while the remaining R100-billion would be pumped into projects in the ports in order to expand the iron-ore export channel from 60million tons per year to 82million tons. He added that Market Demand Strategy will create more jobs in the South African economy and increase black economic empowerment localisation. "It will also position South Africa as a regional trans-shipment hub for sub-Saharan Africa and deliver on Nepad's [the New Partnership for Africa's Development's] regional integration agenda." Zuma intends to convene a presidential infrastructure summit to discuss the plan's roll-out "with potential investors and social partners".
According to Times Live, Zuma announced that the government had also identified infrastructure projects focusing on rail and information technology in minerals-rich provinces such as Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West and the Free State. "These efforts are intended to unlock the enormous mineral belt of coal, platinum, palladium, chrome and other minerals in order to facilitate increasing mining as well as stepped-up beneficiation of minerals." Limpopo, which holds vast deposits of minerals such as platinum and houses new Eskom power stations, would get the lion's share of the planned development. "Using the developments in Limpopo as a base, we will expand rail transport in Mpumalanga, connecting coalfields to power stations," Zuma said. "This will enable us to decisively shift from road to rail the transportation of coal, which has caused a deterioration of the roads of Mpumalanga."
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