The R25 billion Gautrain project might not be ready in time for the 2010 soccer World Cup, the project’s chief executive told Parliament yesterday.

Jack van der Merwe told the portfolio committee on transport that the Gautrain Management Agency (GMA) would not pay an “unreasonable amount” to the Bombela consortium to accelerate the project for a four-week event.

“There has to be value for money. If we have to pay an unreasonable amount, the answer is no,” Van der Merwe said. “It was never said that this was a soccer project. This train has to run for another 100 years. You cannot spend this kind of money on a four-week event.”

Van der Merwe did not know what it would cost to speed up construction work to May 27 next year, but the GMA was negotiating with Bombela.

He said any extra costs would have to be paid for by the provincial or national government.

The cost would not be passed on to passengers through higher ticket fares, which are expected to cost between 50c and 60c a kilometre, or R20 for a trip from Johannesburg to Pretoria.

Van der Merwe said 125 buses would be ready to transport passengers from the airport to their hotels should the train not be ready in time.

PUBLICATION: Business Report
DATED: 26th August 2009