South African smart cities are moving forward – not high-speed rail

President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke about his vision for a smart city and high-speed rail in South Africa during his State of the Nation address in June 2019.

While several smart city updates have been made public, the presidency has remained silent on the topic of high-speed rail.

“We should imagine a country where high-speed trains pass through Johannesburg on their way from here to Musina, and stop at Buffalo City on their way back from eThekwini here,” Ramaphosa said.

“Isn’t it time to build a new smart city based on the technologies of the fourth industrial revolution? I would like to invite South Africans to start imagining this perspective,” he added.

MyBroadband contacted the presidency for an update on the bullet train’s progress, but had not responded at press time.

The Ministry of Transport appears to have focused more on introducing a High Speed ​​Rail (HSR) network which will link Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban.

BusinessTech reported in August 2021 that the government was in the middle of a feasibility study for the project.

The network will transport passengers and freight.

Cyril Ramaphosa

When the Director General of the Department for Transport, Alec Moemi, initially presented the project to a parliamentary portfolio committee in May 2020, he revealed that the department had set a five-year development target.

The LGV network should therefore be launched by 2025 at the earliest.

Ramaphosa made the high-speed train announcement while talking about his vision for a South African smart city in the future.

“I dream of a South Africa where the first completely new city built in the democratic era stands, with skyscrapers, schools, universities, hospitals and factories,” the president said.

“It’s a dream that we can all share and participate in building. We haven’t built a new city in 25 years of democracy.

Plans for a mega smart city located in Lanseria were first floated in 2007 and remained quiet until revealed in Ramaphosa’s 2020 State of the Nation Address.

The stated goal is to create South Africa’s first post-apartheid city based on best practice in urban sustainability and smart city principles.

The government has also designated an area for another smart city project on South Africa’s Wild Coast — between Margate and Port St Johns.

A conceptualization of Lanseria’s mega smart city downtown

The development area, which will stretch for 120 km, will be given special status under the Land Use Planning and Management Act, Ramaphosa said in a speech.

“The East Coast Project aims to connect the villages, towns and cities of the Wild Coast Corridor – which includes unique ecological zones and tourist routes – to provincial, national and continental economies through transport infrastructure and technologies. of information,” Ramaphosa said.

The coastal area between Port St Johns and Port Edward, near Margate, currently has no major towns or road infrastructure.

However, this may change as a result of the N2 Wild Coast Road project, which is currently underway.

The smart city planned for the Côte Sauvage is among several new government smart city projects.

In his 2021 State of the Nation address, Ramaphosa also said that several new post-apartheid cities were being conceptualized across South Africa.

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