Transnet is currently investing more than R300 billion in infrastructure development to rejuvenate the economy, create jobs and address poverty and inequalities. Of this amount, R201 billion has been assigned to Transnet freight rail to expand its rail infrastructure to create capacity and increase cargo volumes. Over the next three years Government will be spending R23 billion to upgrade commuter rail services according to the 2014 Budget speech.
The importance of Rail in South Africa has never been more prominent than now. Transnet objectives and government infrastructure investment supports this notion. Skills transfer, teaching and continued education are the keys for unlocking the potential required to achieve short and long-term goals in the rail industry. It is a fact that investment in research and development will increase the competitive edge that rail has over other modes of transport.
In collaboration with all rail stakeholders, the University of Pretoria has the technical expertise and facilities to be a leader in Railway engineering in Africa. Our strategy to achieve this is therefore the establishment of a Centre of Excellence in Railway Engineering, incorporating different Chairs, Research Facilities and Training programmes with a multi-disciplinary team of railway specialists.
The University of Pretoria salutes Transnet Freight Rail for its far-sightedness in supporting the Chair in Railway Engineering and we are looking forward to growing this partnership to the benefit of the rail industry in South Africa.
Prof PJ (Hannes) Gräbe Pr Eng
Chair in Railway Engineering