RAILWAYS ARE KEY — This week I was privileged to share some ideas at the Provincial Freight Working Group in the North West Province. The brief was that I discuss the rail transport policy in SA and it’s practical implications. I did not however focus on the NW entirely, but it was the intention to scope some key development gateways at a strategic level. One thing that struck me quite immediately was that our Province is willing and ready to get to grasp the core opportunities in this asset. Stakeholders debated, shared and expressed key opportunities, challenges and constraints. From where I sit, looking over the rail station in Mahikeng, I’m pretty excited about the forecasts. Transnet Ltd (a freight transport state owned company) predict that import and export volumes coming through this facility will both reach the 5.4-5.5 million tons per annum mark by 2044, from less than 1mta and 2.5mta, respectively. What does this mean? It means volumes are set to more than double and this can be accelerated with suitable institutional, technology, systems, infrastructure and energy upgrades. Don’t sleep on this one.
“No amount of land will restore dignity to the black man. It is jobs and breaking poverty that will restore dignity. I think it is an artificial debate because land is just one of the things we need to address, it is the first step to getting that dignity but it is up to us and future generations to really make the change.” Mo Molemi
Perhaps we’re in a new position, but an old place. Our continent, ripe, ready and blooming. Beyond the state of affairs and the narratives we’re told and have told ourselves– here is a different story. How could Africa rise without you? The story of Bophuthatswana is quite revolutionary. The North West Province embodies a part of a broken heritage, the hidden consequences around homelands and their fragmentation in post-1994 era. It’s 2018 now and I firmly believe that the 18 million people in small towns and settlements between the North West, Northern Cape, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and Kwa-Zulu Natal are going to be crucial for the next phase. Railways are key part of the much needed continental shift and utilization of assets that exist. The productivity of land is derived from its industrial and cultural utilization– distribution what is extracted is absolutely crucial. The fact that in many municipalities hosting towns and settlements, substantial land is stuck in land claims systems highlights that there are substantial efforts unreported in the media and popular politics. On the other hand, the future of our continent is much more about green industry, distribution, education and culture, than simply “land”. A complete renaissance is emerging, and the popular dogmas will not survive if they are not systematically practical.
Here’s the background music from farmer and poet Mo Molemi.
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