The Department of Transport has been asked to look at ways to construct railway lines in rural areas to increase integration with other modes of transport in rural communities.
This comes after the department conducted public consultations on the National Rail policy in Mpumalanga, part of a nation-wide process.
Participants have urged the department to ensure that commuters who are using trains are safe at all times.
The Director for Rail Policy Development in the department, Hlengiwe Sayd, says participants also urged the department to ensure that commuters who are using trains are safe at all times.
“The other issue that was raised that we agreed on but then we haven’t really touched much on but we are going to address in response to stakeholders, is the issue of rural rail passenger transport.”
Mpumalanga is one of the provinces that are producing coal in the country. Most of the coal is transported by trucks.
The South African National Taxi Council says it fully supports the establishment of the National Rail Policy
Some of the delegates who attended the Stakeholder Consultations on Green Paper on the National Rail Policy in White River raised concerns that coal trucks continue to damage the province’s road network.
They believe this should be addressed by the envisaged national rail policy. However, others are sceptical as they believe a number of truck drivers will lose their jobs if the coal is transported by rail.
Provincial Secretary of South Africa Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu), David Khambule says they support the idea that coal should be transported using trains but they will not be delighted to see people losing their jobs.
“If it happens that there is a reduction of trucks on the roads, surely this will affect us negatively as a trade union because some of our members will lose jobs, but I don’t think we should encourage that.”
The South African National Taxi Council says it is fully supports the establishment of the National Rail Policy.
Santaco’s Secretary in Mpumalanga, Sphiwe Sibanyoni says the consultation has assisted them to get clarity on other issue regarding the rail sector.