South Africa: Who Has the Most to Gain From Destroying Commuter Rail Networks?


Let us suppose that the burning of commuter trains is pure vandalism and criminality. It really is difficult to see what the motive would be: there seems to be little pecuniary gain from burning train carriages.

In last Thursday's State of the Nation Address (SONA), President Cyril Ramaphosa singled out the repair of "commuter rail" as a "key priority".

"A key priority this year is to fix commuter rail, which is vital to our economy and to the quality of life of our people... our rail network daily transports over a million commuters to and from work. We are modernising Prasa's rail network. The Central Line in the Western Cape and the Mabopane Line in Pretoria have been closed for essential refurbishment and upgrades. We are investing R1.4-billion in each of these lines to provide a safe, reliable and affordable service," Ramaphosa said.

He was, of course, correct. It's almost passé to repeat that the railway network forms the basis of all economic expansion, growth, distribution, consumption and general mobility. It gets people to their homes and places of work, it gets raw materials to production facilities, and consumer products, from food to clothing, to and from markets.

But that...

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: Daily Maverick

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.