New SA-Swazi railway line on track
FIVE hundred graves and 235 households are being relocated to make way for a new railway line between South Africa and Swaziland.
The Inter Railway initiative between Transnet Freight Rail and Swaziland Railway, which entails the construction of a 150km line from Lothair in Mpumalanga to Sidvokodvo in Swaziland, is progressing well and has achieved a significant milestone.
This was revealed yesterday at a media briefing on the progress of the Swaziland Rail link (SRL) project at Transnet Freight Rail’s School of Rail in Esselen Park in Kempton Park.
Transnet CEO Ravi Nair said there had been significant progress with the project.
The new line will be 50km long in South Africa and 100km in Swaziland and will also require the revamping of adjacent existing lines to align and provide support to the new link.
Swaziland imports more than 80% of its goods from South Africa, which in turn imports about 70% of Swaziland’s exports, which include coal, sugar, beef and citrus fruits. However, the new railway line will predominantly transport coal.
The feasibility phase has been completed and early works are under way, which this involves the relocation of 500 graves and resettlement planning.
“The process of exhuming graves and relocating them is being done with utmost respect and we are happy to say we have received cooperation from the community,” Nair said.
The project’s primary objective is to reduce road traffic congestion based on a realistic and achievable system capacity.
The target is to accommodate up to 26 tons and provide capacity for 12 trains each way per day in line with infrastructure interventions.
The project has already created job opportunities on both sides of the border. About 3 000 and 6 500 jobs will be created in South Africa and Swaziland respectively during construction of the SRL railway.
Business opportunities to the value of about R1bn in South Africa and R1,7bn in Swaziland will be created.
A large amount of work has also been done in South Africa including the plans to resettle the affected households.