Presidency should respond with hand of partnership to Mayor Hill-Lewis on rail devolution

Issued by Zak Mbhele MP – DA Shadow Minister in the Presidency
17 Aug 2023 in News

Note to editors: Please find attached soundbite by Zak Mbhele MP.

The DA is disappointed that the Presidency has responded dismissively and defensively to a request by Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis for a joint working committee on the urgent need for the implementation of rail management devolution.

This is a matter that the national government has already agreed to in the White Paper on National Rail Policy, as approved by Cabinet, so one would have thought that the Presidency, in the spirit of cooperative governance, would welcome the effort by another sphere of government to bring to fruition this policy imperative.

The DA has long been calling and advocating for the Presidency to take the lead in proactively facilitating and driving the pursuit of strategic partnerships as a key pillar of economic recovery, growth and development for South Africa.

This is in line with the rhetoric we’ve previously heard from President Ramaphosa about the supposed role of the Presidency as the nerve-centre hub of planning and implementation coordination in government.

Just as public-private partnerships are crucial in this endeavour, as important is collaboration and goodwill engagement between all spheres of government, but judging from the attitude of this highest public office of the Republic, the Presidency appears uninterested in finding speedy solutions to fix our broken, dysfunctional rail service, and more inclined to deflection tactics of “playing the man, not the ball”.

The President has been conspicuous by his absence since he seemingly “quiet quit” after the COVID pandemic, so the least he could do is give space and opportunity to others who are willing to pick up the slack.

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