Come on Radebe, leave the monorail and fix these problems

If you really want to appreciate how much of a failure Transport Minister Jeff Radebe is you need only take the M1 North out of Johannesburg.

After Woodmead you suddenly hit a massive traffic jam that stretches all the way into Midrand.

Every day hundreds of thousands of cars get bogged down on the most economically strategic road in South Africa.

Last year Radebe stood on the Allandale off-ramp, the major cause of this blockage, and said he was working on fixing the problem.

It is a problem that has been around for years. The solution is simple - buy the land around the off-ramp and build a sophisticated fly-over and the blockage will be eliminated.

The minister has failed spectacularly to fix a problem as basic as this.

I do not want to go into his other very public failures - the disaster that the Licensing Departments are facing because of eNatis, the terrible mess that is called the taxi recapitalisation programme and the massive number of road deaths.

The list seems endless.

So a week ago a Malaysian consortium, the Gauteng government and City of Johannesburg announced they would build a R12billion train system between Johannesburg and Soweto.

The system would be up and running by 2009, they said.

The people of Soweto must have rejoiced at this piece of news. With the arrival of this monorail, they would have a choice between the usually unreliable and dangerous Metrorail, taxis and buses.

The monorail would be yet another step in the integration of greater Johannesburg and Soweto into one city.

Economically, it would integrate the two nodes even further, creating an African and international powerhouse.

Then our friend Radebe stepped in. He claimed he had not been consulted and promptly pulled the plug on the programme.

I can assure you now if Radebe touches this project, it will never be implemented - or it will be implemented with so much ineptitude we will all wish it had never happened in the first place.

We are a country of laws. These laws regulate business and other transactions.

The monorail project, if it goes through the right business channels (applications and so forth), should go ahead because it is a private initiative.

Why should the minister be consulted? Why can't entrepreneurs see an opportunity to make money and go for it?

Radebe's behaviour smacks of the worst dictatorial tactics, with everything having to be passed by the Big Man.

This is absolute nonsense. This is not Zimbabwe.

The Malaysians and the Gauteng government should build the monorail.

If the people of Soweto do not like it they will not use it and will continue using taxis and buses.

Radebe should keep his nose out of this project and instead do his job - fix eNatis, fix the roads and fix the trains.

All of them continue to be a disgrace.