BRAKES PUT ON GAUTRAIN COSTS

GAUTENG will not pay an extra R1,3billion to have the first phase of the Gautrain completed before the 2010 World Cup, Finance 24 reported yesterday.

GAUTENG will not pay an extra R1,3billion to have the first phase of the Gautrain completed before the 2010 World Cup, Finance 24 reported yesterday.

The section between OR Tambo International Airport and Sandton was due for completion by June 27, according to the agreement between the Bombela Consortium and the province.

The soccer tournament kicks off on June 11.

Bombela Concession Company chief executive Jerome Govender has confirmed that the deadline for the first phase was October.

Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane was quoted as saying the province had not approached the Treasury for further funds since it had already asked for more money for roads, housing and social development.

The report quoted Deputy Transport Minister Jeremy Cronin as saying the national government supported Mokonyane's decision.

"It would be unwise to pay so much to gain a couple of weeks while the government's coffers are under pressure," Cronin said.

"It's a pity that they [Bombela] will not use the Soccer World Cup tournament to show off the project. Money means more to them than such considerations," Cronin said.

He said the fact that an outside company - French construction group Bouygues - was one of the main shareholders in Bombela might have something to do with their approach.

The French group has a 17percent stake in the Bombela Concession Company, which has to deliver and operate the rail system for 20 years.

South African construction group Murray & Roberts has a 25percent stake.

Both have a 45percent interest in Bombela Civils Joint Venture, which is building the infrastructure for the R26billion project.

Govender said having the service available before the World Cup was a complex issue and money was not the only consideration. - Sapa

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