Transport Minister Jeff Radebe, pictured, has shot down the Gauteng government's proposed R12billion Soweto monorail development, saying he knows nothing about it.
Radebe also saidthe project did not feature in national government's transport plans leading up to 2010.
"I am as much in the dark about it as you are," said Radebe yesterday during a presentation to parliament's watchdog transport portfolio committee on the troubled eNatis system.
Committee chairman Jeremy Cronin backed Radebe, accusing the Malaysian developers of going "bankrupt" in Malaysia and Kuala Lumpur, having created a "Trojan Horse" by making the money off the construction, but providing no operational infrastructure. Cronin said government had to be careful about such developers "floating around" because of the massive R10billion that would be spent on transport over the next few years. He said the taxpayer would end up footing the bill for such projects.
The monorail was announced amid much fanfare last week by Gauteng MEC for finance and economic affairs Paul Mashitile and public transport, roads and works MEC Ignatius Jacobs. The two said the funding would be raised privately and not from South African taxpayers.
The two claimed the rail system would link 30 stations along 44,7km and would cater for 1,5million people a day.
The Gauteng department of public transport, roads and works issued a hollow statement yesterday saying "MEC Ignatius Jacobs notes the minister's comments and has since requested a meeting with him".
Department spokesman, Alfred Nhlapho, said the public would be informed about the outcome of the meeting.
"I did not know anything about it until it was announced in the media," said Radebe. He said the department's director-general Mpumi Mpofu also did not know anything about it. "We can confirm that the Gauteng province did not consult nor discuss nor seek approval for this proposal from my ministry or my department."