SACP on monorail bandwagon

Ido Lekota

Ido Lekota

The South African Communist Party yesterday called on parliament to investigate the motives that led to the Gauteng government announcing the now-canned Soweto monorail.

Speaking to the media yesterday SACP general secretary Blade Nzimande described the multimillion- rand project, supposedly funded by a Malaysian consortium as "a pie-in-the-sky whose low intensity technology is suitable for Disneyland."

Nzimande said the parliamentary standing committee on public affairs (Scopa) should investigate what drove both Gauteng MEC for Finance Paul Mashatile and his colleague MEC for Transport Ignatius Jacobs to approve and announce such an ill-considered project.

Scopa investigates cases of misuse of public funds.

"Quite how and why two provincial MEC's should precipitate this ill-considered announcement is unclear and should be the subject of a Scopa inquiry," said Nzimande.

The SACP said, if allowed to go on, the monorail would become a white elephant costing the South African tax payer millions.

"This is exactly what happened in Malaysia with the self-same consortium," said Nzimande.

The government announced on Friday that the project had been put on ice.

The announcement followed a meeting between Transport Minister Jeff Radebe, Mashatile, Jacobs and Johannesburg Mayor Amos Masondo.

The meeting was held after public statements by both Masondo and Radebe that they knew nothing about the project.

A statement released after the meeting said the monorail proposal "would be put on hold until such time that the necessary process, including consultation, has been undertaken".