With government rebuilding the passenger railway lines, Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula, says measures will be put in place to ensure that the newly installed equipment is protected to avoid the recurrence of the destruction of rail infrastructure.
Government's commitment to protecting railway lines comes after the programme to upgrade the Mabopane Corridor infrastructure and implement the necessary refurbishments was introduced in February 2020.
The Mabopane railway line has been reopened with the first of the new trains taking to the track on Monday after the line was closed in 2019 to accelerate the simultaneous rollout of infrastructure upgrades.
Addressing the media on Wednesday during his visit to the Mabopane to Pretoria line, he said R1.4 billion was allocated to the project, with over R700 million being spent to date towards this project.
Work that has been done on the Mabopane Recovery Programme includes R255 million for substation work, for 14 substations.
"The upgraded substations will now allow for more trains to be added on to the system. Copper content has been reduced to make Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) assets less attractive to criminals. The newly installed traction transformers are more energy efficient," the Minister said.
A total of R383 million was spent on the 163km of Overhead Traction Equipment (OHTE) while R38 million was spent on the Mabopane perimeter walling on Signal Equipment rooms.
The station rehabilitation programme for 23 stations at a cost of R100million has commenced.
"Currently, five stations are operational where repairs were done to bring the stations to basic functionality. A contractor has been appointed to erect high strength concrete walls around 31 critical buildings, at a cost of R50 million. Designs have been completed for the construction of a wall to protect the corridor," Mbalula said.
As part of the station upgrade, programme minor renovations were effected at five stations for basic functionality and these are currently operational.
They include the Mabopane Station; Pretoria North Station; Mountain View Station; Hercules Station, and Pretoria Station.
Contractors have been appointed to rehabilitate an additional six stations and they will take occupation of the sites this week.
The six stations include Soshanguve, Kopanong, Akasiaboom, Tailorshoop, Garankuwa and Dewildt.
"Of the total cost of R100million set aside for upgrades of 23 stations, R60 million has already been committed and construction work is due to start before the end of January 2022," the Minister said.
Procurement and work on the remainder of the stations will be undertaken and finalised during the course of this calendar year.
Protecting railway infrastructure
"As we rebuild the passenger railway lines, we are putting measures in place to ensure that the newly installed equipment is protected through improved security interventions, inclusive of the walling programme, to avoid recurrence of the current situation.
"The three corridors in the Gauteng region consists of a number of lines. Of the lines that have were badly damaged, 12 have been identified as critical for returning commuter rail services to normal operations," the Minister said
The Gauteng region consists of 16 corridors. Twelve others have been identified as priority corridors for major rehabilitation work.
Three corridors that are currently operational in Gauteng include the Pienaarspoort to Pretoria services, which resumed operations on 17 January 2022.
The Mabopane to Pretoria services resumed operations on 17 January 2022 while the Saulsville to Pretoria resumed a limited service in October 2021.
The Johannesburg to Naledi line will resume operations on 30 March 2022.