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Strategic Development of High-Speed Rail and Smart City Projects Underway in South Africa

Published December 29, 2023
7 months ago

In a significant movement towards modern infrastructure development, President Cyril Ramaphosa has recently articulated progress on both the high-speed rail (HSR) network and the development of a smart city in Lanseria. A clear display of commitment towards his vision, first outlined during the State of the Nation Address in 2019, the initiatives aim to transform South Africa's transport and urban landscape.

The Department of Transport, as per the President's written response to parliamentary inquiries, has developed an HSR framework that serves a broader plan to revolutionize the method of travel across long distances within the country. The plan outlines three key potential corridors with the Johannesburg to Durban corridor receiving top priority for a feasibility study, indicating the gravity of the project and its deemed benefit in connecting two major economic hubs in South Africa.

This priority aligns with South Africa's ambition to construct the first new city in the democratic era – a smart city at Lanseria. Designed to accommodate a swelling population of up to 500,000 by 2030, the smart city aims to be at the forefront of innovation, featuring the integration of sustainable technologies and innovative planning in housing, education, healthcare, and industrial sectors.

The project's master plan sees the collaboration of local, provincial, and national governments with the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency at the helm. There is committed governmental support, including financial backing through the Department of Human Settlements via the Urban Settlements Development Grant, ensuring that infrastructural development is congruent with the high standards of a smart city.

Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga stated that following the approval of a national rail policy, the HSR framework has identified objectives and criteria to advance HSR development effectively. On the financial front, Cabinet-approved policy and allocated funds for the feasibility study showcase serious intent and a step towards materializing the proposed advanced transport system.

Rooted in the National Development Plan, these projects are all interconnected in achieving a more technologically advanced society, echoing President Ramaphosa's bold vision. Thoughtfully planned, the initiatives are benchmarks of change, set to reinvigorate economic growth and propel South Africa into a new era of high-tech economy.

The establishment of a dedicated HSR project management office further cements the future-directed approach, indicating a systematic and professional handling of what could become a flagship project for the nation's development.

Expectations for both the HSR and the smart city at Lanseria are running high, as they promise to remake the transportation dynamics and urban living standards within the country. These projects hold the potential to enrich the lives of commuters and residents alike, ensuring efficient travel and advanced living standards reflective of a developing nation on the rise.


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