South Africa will invest over R50-billion in passenger rail infrastructure and services over the next few years, President Jacob Zuma said at the launch of the Bridge City Rail Link project in KwaMashu outside Durban on Saturday.
This follows the government's investment of over R40-billion in the sector over the past four years, Zuma said.
"Over the past four years, we have bought more than 6 984 new train coaches or wagons and more than 338 locomotives, many of which are now being manufactured locally to create jobs and expand industrial capacity."
The R1.3-billion Bridge City station, which includes a bus and taxi interchange, is the largest rail infrastructure development project in the Durban area.
Situated 17 kilometres from the Durban city centre, the Bridge City station links the communities of Phoenix, Inanda, Ntuzuma and KwaMashu directly to the urban transport system. The development is expected to boost economic growth in these communities as it improves their opportunities to work, travel, shop and do business.
It will also serve as a social and commercial centre for an area housing a population of over 800 000 people, who at present have generally poor access to facilities and social services.
"This development contributes to fulfilling our dream of creating proper human settlements in which people have easy access to all facilities," Zuma said.
South Africa's urban commuter rail service, Metrorail, ferries about 30 000 people a day and about 256-million passengers a year.
The Bridge City project forms part of a massive state-led infrastructure programme that is being coordinated by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission
Zuma said the commission was doing well in ensuring that all spheres of government - national, provincial and local - worked together to implement the multi-billion rand programme across the country.