SEKHUKHUNE – The Moloto Corridor Concerned Group recently staged a sit-in at the Union Buildings in Pretoria as the group demonstrated against the delay of the implementation of Moloto Rail Corridor project.
The communities from Dr JS Moroka, Thembisile Hani local municipalities in Mpumalanga and Elias Motsoaledi Local Municipality in Limpopo converged at the union Buildings recently to hand over their memorandum of grievances to President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The president was not available to receive their memorandum that day and the protestors decided to stage a sit-in until Ramaphosa came to address their problems regarding the Moloto Rail Corridor Project, which was delayed since 2004.
The construction of the rail development corridor, that will link Gauteng and Limpopo Provinces, was a response by government to excessive traffic congestion and numeral fatal accidents on the R573 (Moloto Road) in the Nkangala and Sekhukhune District Municipalities.
The project was identified as a component of the Strategic Integrated Projects (SIP), unlocking South Africa’s northern mineral belt under Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC).
The initial plan towards the development of the rail was established in 1996, whereby in 2004, the concept was adopted where billions of rands were allocated since then and the project never materialized.
Mpho Ledwaba, coordinator of the protest, said they were highly concerned about government’s inability to implement the Moloto Rail Project, which formed part of the broader Moloto Development Corridor.
“To this extent, nothing has been done by government to materialize the project in this area. In August 2020, we wrote to letters to various government departments including the office of the President, Minister of Transport and that of Finance demanding that answers on the overdue implementation of the project without any positive response,” said Ledwaba.
Ledwaba added that they decided to roll out the massive protest action to hand over their memorandum to President Ramaphosa and they demand immediate response on the delay of the rail project and provisions of basic services including water and sanitation.
“If the president fails to respond, this will be followed by massive demonstrations in all affected municipalities until we get clear answers,” he said.
Ledwaba indicated that the rail project was sabotaged by senior government officials who benefited from other modes of transport operating on the road to ferry commuters to work in Pretoria on daily basis.
“We have had perpetual meetings, conducted feasibility studies with government and everything was in order towards the implementation of the project. Yet there are counter revolutionary individuals who have vested interest to ensure that the rail is not provided to our people,” he said.
Ledwaba said the protests would never end until their grievances were attended to and the railway line was immediately implemented.
“Clearly as people of Nkangala and Sekhukhune district Municipalities, we are continuously undermined and not a priority of government. We will be demonstrating until the president receives our memorandum and respond to our grievances,” he said.