Jacob Mamabolo. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi

Pretoria - Moving the Gauteng transport sector towards rail has to be taken up as a matter of urgency for the government to avoid finding itself in a situation similar to that of Eskom.

These were the sentiments shared by Gauteng MEC for Transport, Jacob Mamabolo, on the second day of the 38th Annual Southern African Transport Conference at the CSIR International Convention Centre.

Mamabolo, said so far the department and the province as a whole was going to be looking at using freight and logistics to grow the province’s economy and address some of the problems already looming.

Some of those problems being that currently, the roads were highly congested, overloaded and a major source of pollution in the province.

Mamabolo said moving to freight would ensure the Gauteng economy continued to occupy centre stage in the country and played a key role in the movement of goods and people.

“If people and goods are moving at a very slow pace on the roads because of congestion that will have a cumulative negative impact in the sense that investors will be disincentivised away from the economy of the province.”

He added that studies and data already pointed to the fact that if something was not done soon the province was heading for a road network moving at an ox wagon’s pace.

“Turning around the operations of Prasa is not completely impossible but we have to start those conversations. 

"If we don’t do that sooner rather than later we are going to sit with the same problems as we are seeing with public electricity utility Eskom.”

The conference kicked off its first day with an address by newly appointed transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.

Stakeholders, transport experts and technological gurus will continue to share information as the conference continues until Thursday.

Pretoria News