Cape Town mayor threatens Ramaphosa with rail devolution ultimatum

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City of Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis has given President Cyril Ramaphosa an ultimatum to create a joint working committee on rail devolution or the city will declare intergovernmental dispute mediation proceedings.

This follows a decision by Cabinet that devolution would take place in capable metros in March of 2022.

The Presidency has however said it will not respond to threats.

Hill-Lewis says they have been asking for joint rail devolution for 16 months.

“Since that day, we have been in correspondence with now two ministers of transport and with the president to try and get that process moving. And our constructive or proactive proposal of how to get it moving is to form a joint committee to start working through the technical details. It’s obviously a big job to devolve rail. So, we’ve had very little substantive reply at all in the intervening 16 months. We’ve had various polite responses and promises to get back to us.”

In a statement, the mayor says the recent taxi strike in the city further highlights the need for an affordable and safe railway system.

‘The minibus-taxi stayaway has once again demonstrated the urgent need for a safe, affordable passenger rail system, especially for lower-income communities. Passenger rail must be the backbone of our network, but it has all but collapsed while Prasa refuses to be held accountable for improving service levels to the public. All spheres of government have a duty to fix this situation without delay,” says Hill-Lewis.

He elaborates below: