The Gauteng Provincial Government, through the Gautrain Management Agency acting as its agent, is the owner of the Gautrain System and is responsible for ensuring that the system is constructed and operated in accordance with contractual specifications and good industry practice by Bombela, the Concessionaire, which in turn is charged with designing, constructing, operating and maintaining the system for the next 14 years. As such, the Province has noted with concern recent press statements issued by Bombela that imply that all that stands between the public and the use of the Gautrain Services between Rosebank and Park Stations are a few approvals and that the water ingress in the tunnel is a minor issue that has been resolved.
This is not factually correct and the excessive water ingress issue remains unresolved. Last year Bombela was directed by the Dispute Resolution Board to remedy the situation so as to meet the specification for tunnel water inflow as set out in the contract between the Province and Bombela. To date this has not been achieved. What this means is that, while Bombela may be able to manage the excessive quantity of water flowing into the tunnel and provide the train services in the short term, but up to the present time it has not provided any credible assurances to the Province that the excessive amount of water will not cause irreparable, harm to the tunnel itself and the environment around it on the long term.
This is not a risk that the Province has either contracted for or otherwise willing to take because the effect of such risk (either in the long term or otherwise) is entirely unwarranted, especially since it could also lead to exposure to liabilities as well. In this process the Province will not be swayed by Bombela’s short term commercial interests. As such the Province has requested Bombela to develop a revised tunnel rectification plan in order to comply with the specification, as instructed by the Dispute Resolution Board. It cannot and will not agree to something that is clearly contrary to the long term interest of the Province and the public. It has and will continue to engage with Bombela to see if it is practically feasible to have the best of both worlds – for example by opening the system between Rosebank and Park Stations while the tunnel rectification works are done outside of operating hours.
The Province is awaiting a response from Bombela. The speed with which it can develop the revised tunnel rectification plan and the approval thereof will determine the date at which the Rosebank to Park Station section could be opened to the public.