Gauteng admits Soweto monorail talks flawed

Khanyisile Nkosi

Khanyisile Nkosi

The ANC Youth League has welcomed an acknowledgement by the Gauteng provincial government that its approach to the much-talked about Soweto monorail was flawed.

Zizi Kodwa, spokesman for the league, told Sowetan yesterday that the league was just "one of those communities" that had not been consulted before the R12billion project was announced two weeks ago.

"We hope that the MECs will now consult with all the stakeholders," he said.

At a media briefing on Friday, Gauteng's MEC for finance and economic affairs Paul Mashatile and MEC for public transport, roads and works Ignatius Jacobs apologised to Transport Minister Jeff Radebe for keeping him in the dark about the project.

"It wasn't deliberate.

"It was just an oversight on my part," said Mashatile.

Two weeks ago Mashatile and Jacobs announced that the Gauteng provincial government and a Malaysian consortium, Newcyc, had signed an agreement to build the monorail.

He said that the new train, expected to be in operation by 2009, would carry about 1,5million commuters from Soweto to Johannesburg on a daily basis.

The project has since been suspended, following the minister's instruction that the MECs go back to the drawing board.

Radebe criticised the Gauteng provincial government for announcing the project without first having discussed it with his office.

Mashatile said that "in principle" Radebe was not opposed to the monorail concept.

He said that the minister had, however, refused to accept the monorail proposal in its current form.

It had been agreed that the Gauteng provincial government needed to review the business plan for the proposal of the monorail.