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Mayor launches multi-million street construction in Soweto

Mayor launches R20-m roads upgrade project in Soweto

Johannesburg Executive Mayor Cllr Herman Mashaba this week took his first-ever Rea Vaya bus ride to launch a R20-million project to redevelop two of the busiest and most important streets in Meadowlands, Soweto.

Forbes and Sanders streets will undergo major upgrades that will include safety features, cycling lanes, walkways, kerbing and improved storm water systems to allow water to flow and prevent flooding during rainy seasons.

Speaking at a sod-turning ceremony, Mayor Mashaba said the redevelopment formed part of the City of Johannesburg’s complete streets programme, which is aimed making all public roads accessible to road users.

He said in the past there had been reports of houses being flooded during rainy seasons in Soweto. The new project, Mayor Mashaba said, sought to ensure that no houses were flooded. The Mayor was accompanied by Member of the Mayoral Committee for Transport Cllr Nonhlanhla Makhuba and her Development Planning counterpart, Cllr Funzela Ngobeni.

Speaking about his first Rea Vaya trip, Mayor Mashaba said it was an eye opener.

“I was happy when I received the invitation to undertake this tour as part of the City’s Transport Month programme. This has given me first-hand experience of what it feels like to use public transport.”

He said the tour also gave him the opportunity to experience the challenges commuters encountered on a daily basis. He said the City’s Transport Month programme sought to encourage ecomobility, find solutions to transport-related problems and ensure that residents have a reliable public transport.

Mayor Mashaba said the new administration wanted to turn Johannesburg into a major economic hub.

“That means having a reliable, responsible and responsive transport system that will make it easy for people to move around within the city,” he said.

He said he was very happy with the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) model because it empowered people.

“This shows that there is room for growth and that there are opportunities in the transport industry,” said Mayor Mashaba.

He said with more than 50 000 commuters relying on Rea Vaya, it was crucial to ensure their safety and make their journey enjoyable.

MMC Makhuba said she was a regular commuter of Rea Vaya when she was doing her political work.

“There’s a station just outside my house, so I’m well aware of the challenges that commuters face,” she said.

Lisa Seftel, the City’s Transport Executive Director, said from its inception in 2009, Rea Vaya had turned 600 taxi owners into shareholders in the bus company. She said when the BRT started, it had only 40 buses. The fleet had since increased to 276 busses.

“The journey has not been easy but we strive to create an integrated transport system for the people,” said Seftel