140318. Cape Town. Retreat train station. Picture Henk Kruger/Cape Argus

Cape Town -

Metrorail is headed for disaster, with serious accidents being inevitable, says Transport MEC Robin Carlisle.

“The rails are so old they are no longer performing their function of holding the wheels on the track,” he said on Wednesday as he delivered his department’s budget.

“We are going to see the most spectacular accidents the world has seen.”

But Metrorail is not the responsibility of the province’s Department of Transport and Public Works, which has prioritised infrastructure, investment and education in its R5.6 billion budget.

“This budget is about growth, people, and massive investment in development,” Carlisle said. “It’s the biggest in the country.”

The most explosive growth was in educational infrastructure.

“By the end of the next three years, this administration would have invested R6bn in new and replacement schools.”

Carlisle lauded his department for its skills development programmes, in which apprentices were trained in diesel mechanics, fitting and turning, plumbing, and welding.

“I’m quite satisfied there will be no crisis of technical leadership in the Western Cape,” he said.

He was also pleased to report that spending on salaries was being kept to less than 10 percent of his department’s budget.

“Every R1 of salary delivers R9 of service,” he said.

On the subject of roads, he said more than 87 percent of surfaced roads were in a fair to good condition - which is “a little bit worse than Britain, but better than Australia”.

The roads department has a budget of R2.4bn to spend on upgrades and new projects.

These are to include a road that is to be built near Baden Powell Drive, eliminating 11 level crossings over the railway line - including that where a man was hit by a train and died on Tuesday evening.

Carlisle is retiring after the May elections. “I leave feeling pleased with myself. We have achieved or are achieving everything we wanted to.”

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Cape Argus