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City starts laying the tracks for passenger rail management<p>​</p><p>An extract of today’s council speech delivered by the Cape Town Mayor can be found below. The full speech can be found here: <br><a href="https://www.capetown.gov.za/Media-and-news/Our%20hope%20lies%20in%20taking%20control%20of%20our%20destiny">https://www.capetown.gov.za/Media-and-news/Our%20hope%20lies%20in%20taking%20control%20of%20our%20destiny</a><br><br>It will soon be six months since this new administration began its term of office. While there are still many challenges ahead, it gives me great pride to look back at what we have already achieved in this short period, and I hope that all those residents who joined in our many clean ups over the past months, who have joined our committees, and actively share their ideas for a better Cape Town with us, share in that pride. At the same time, I am filled with hope and excitement for what we are still going to achieve in the coming months and years.</p><p>As Mayor, I am committed to doing more, and I know that every one of our councillors and city officials shares that commitment. </p><p>In particular, I am dedicated to doing more in those policy areas where the national government is struggling to deliver. </p><p>This is not because we want to take power for its own sake; it is because we have an obligation to make sure that every Capetonian gets the services they deserve. I refuse to allow our residents to be vulnerable because of another government’s incapacity. </p><p>If a local or regional government is able to carry out functions that the national government is failing to fulfil, then those functions should be devolved to that local or regional authority. This is what I call ‘functional federalism’.</p><p>Thankfully, the Constitution backs me up on this point. Section 156(4) of the Constitution, states that a municipality MUST be assigned a function when there is agreement between the national and local governments; and where there is adequate capacity at the municipal level to perform the function. </p><p>We need to show people that state failure does not need to be inevitable. </p><p>Speaker, it is clear that capable local governments, and not the national government, are best positioned to deliver the services needed by residents. <br><br>We are showing what functional federalism looks like, and what can and is being done right here in this city to improve people’s lives.<br><br>I think every councillor here, and every resident of the city, shares my frustration with the national government-controlled passenger rail service, run by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa).<br>National Government’s Rail service has reached crisis point in Cape Town, with just 33 operational train sets in 2020 compared to 95 trains sets in 1995. </p><p>In February, Prasa reported to the Western Cape Provincial Parliament Standing Committee on Transport and Public Works about its rail service in this province. The media reported on that presentation in which it was revealed that in June 2019, Prasa was operating 444 train trips on a weekday in Cape Town, in early 2020, (pre-pandemic) this had dropped to 270 daily trips, and that this year there are no more than 153 train trips across the city on a weekday, a 66% reduction in availability of the service. </p><p>And so I am very pleased to announce here today that the City of Cape Town is now ready to proceed with a detailed feasibility study for the devolution of the metropolitan rail function to this metro. <br><br>As with ending load-shedding, projects of this ambition take time, and so it is essential that we start immediately. We have already issued the tender and the work will begin as soon as the new financial year begins on 1 July this year.  I do not think this first part of the project needs to take a long time and I know that our Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Mobility, Cllr Rob Quintas and his team will ensure not a second is wasted here. Let’s get it done as quickly as possible, so we can move on with getting the trains working. <br><br>In recent days there has been a sea-change in policy statements from the national government  – we are now seeing regular and substantive verbal commitments to privatization in South Africa, not from us (who have been calling for this for years), but from the national government itself. Their resistance to this has cost South Africa dearly, and has left all of these essential services in a state of advanced collapse. But we are greatly encouraged that they are now embracing the idea, and we want to make sure Cape Town is at the forefront. <br><br>The truth is this: government should not be in the business of running businesses. Government is there to regulate, set the rules of engagement, ensure competition and fairness, provide essential infrastructure, and uphold the rule of law. <br>We hope the recent statements are meaningful, and not just lip-service being paid to economic reform. We will certainly test the sincerity of these statements, and we intend to do it soon. <br><br>Early signs are very encouraging. A letter received from the Minister of Finance this week not only gives us a green light to conduct the passenger rail feasibility study, but fully endorses our intended policy direction in favour of devolution of this critical function.<br><br>In the letter, Minister Godongwana expresses the view on behalf of the National Treasury that a study of this kind is essential and should be carried out by the City. Furthermore, that a municipality should be assigned a function by agreement, and as long as there is adequate capacity at the municipal level to perform the function, which there no doubt is here.<br>The Minister further added that the policy intent in the White Paper on Transport Policy and the draft White Paper on Rail Policy, is for public transport to be devolved to the lowest level.<br><br>This is a big deal, because up until now, the national government had tried to block the feasibility study. There is a new wind blowing, we hope. <br><br>I want to thank Minister Godongwana for the national government’s encouraging and supportive letter. </p><p>As Cape Town works to devolve these crucial services, we are also mindful that we can only reach our goals through continued sound financial management. The ongoing turnaround of other metros confirms that the responsible financial management we enjoy in Cape Town is non-negotiable to making further progress.<br><br>Speaker, I am huge believer in this beautiful country of ours. I know that we face many challenges as a nation but I am convinced that, if we work hard, we can fix any problem.<br><br>It starts here at local level. I want Cape Town to become the standard-bearer for good government in South Africa; a place where things work and every citizen is given a fair chance to live a better life.<br><br>That does not mean we are in competition with other spheres of government. <br><br>We are all South Africans, and we should all want our country to succeed.<br><br>It is my hope that Cape Town is given the space and the resources to show South Africa what good governance looks like. We will do this by collaborating with our colleagues in national and provincial government, and sharing knowledge and expertise with other cities.<br><br>I fully intend for this City to take greater control of its own destiny as envisaged in the Constitution. Let us be a beacon of hope for every citizen of this magnificent country. <br><br>And if there is to be the sweeping economic reform in our country that revives the dry bones of our economy and sets South Africa finally on the path of prosperity, then let it start here in Cape Town, and let it start with us. <br>Thank you</p><p><strong>End</strong></p>2022-04-27T22:00:00ZGP0|#1d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70;L0|#01d539e44-7c8c-4646-887d-386dc1d95d70|City news;GTSet|#62efe227-07aa-45e7-944c-ceebacca891d;GP0|#8b03f782-9eb6-455f-82e9-6429b6354cf9;L0|#08b03f782-9eb6-455f-82e9-6429b6354cf9|SpeechesGP0|#a25dbcce-0f86-46f4-98bd-204411a5c083;L0|#0a25dbcce-0f86-46f4-98bd-204411a5c083|Council;GTSet|#2e3de6c1-9951-4747-8f53-470629a399bb;GP0|#6516fa5e-93e3-4953-9f54-0f246e1d7556;L0|#06516fa5e-93e3-4953-9f54-0f246e1d7556|City of Cape Town;GP0|#90b49a62-96e2-436a-9c68-187c9ab33534;L0|#090b49a62-96e2-436a-9c68-187c9ab33534|Mayor10

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