Molteno Railway Station
Department of Transport
South Africa

The Problem

The Molteno train station is one of the oldest in South Africa. It was once a very busy hub for various goods. The passenger service that was operated then was segregated on colour bar, with the black citizens subjected to appalling conditions.
During the 1980’s, the volume on the goods service dwindled and when Transnet restructured in the early 1990s, the station took another blow. Vandalism damaged it and criminals used the deteriorated station for their activities. The number of passengers disembarking at the Molteno station declined as their safety could not be guaranteed. Eventually the goods service was terminated during the 1990s and the passenger service was also shut down. Shosholoza Meyl took a decision to close the Molteno train station and its passenger service if conditions did not improve. The consequences were not acceptable to the residents of Molteno, so Inkwanca Municipality approach the Department of Transport to renovate the station in line with the requirements of Shosholoza Meyl.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
The Department of Roads and Transport was approached by Inkwanca Local Municipality and willingly accepted the proposal to renovate the buildings of the station.
With the mandate to play a leading role in the coordination of all the transportation planning and operational activities to improve the current state of public transport in the district, the Department of Transport in Chris Hani District engaged stakeholders like Transnet who is an umbrella body of Shosholoza Meyl, local municipality of Nkwanca where the problem emanated and the community of that area, for a long term solution.
So, when a bold decision to intervene in the plight of Molteno was taken, labour intensive methods were applied to revive the badly dilapidated, neglected facility to a normal functioning and user friendly Train Station that meets Safety Regulatory requirements for operations. In this way the local community had benefited in the rehabilitation of the station through the employment of a local SMME contractor to do renovations and fittings at the station; the employment of a 24 hour Security Service, ticket examiners, cleaners and ticket sales at the station. For that reason the Molteno Community took ownership of the station.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
The Department of Transport leveraged existing unused resources to meet the needs of the community, by restoring the already dilapidated and neglected railway station. A multi stakeholder (Department of Transport, Shosholoza Meyl, Transnet, Nkwanca Municipality, Molteno and Sterstroom Community) approach used also ensured that the costs of rehabilitation of the station were kept as low as possible. This way the local community benefited from the rehabilitation of the station and has taken ownership of the property.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
Strategies used:
The floor plan of the station was drawn up by Shosholoza Meyl Architects.
The Department of Transport forwarded it to the internal engineering staff for costing.
The department outsourcing the tender process using the labour intensive methods to Inkwanca for awarding and appointing a contractor. A Memorandum of Agreement was entered into for this initiative.
The Inkwanca Municipality awarded construction to a local SMME using local labour to complete the project within 3 months.
The Department of Transport and Shosholoza Meyl funded the project, including technical and human resource inputs.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
• On the 7th of June 2007 was a meeting between the Department of Transport and Shosholoza Meyl for preparations of the commencement of the project and sharing of responsibilities i.e funding etc
• On the 4th of September was the Establishment of Community Based Transportation forum that was conducted in Nkwanca Municipality in Molteno by Department of Transport and Nkwanca Municipality.
• A committee between the Municipality, Shosholoza Meyl and the Department was established to see through the project implementation.
• 27 September 2007- Establishment of Strategic Committees comprising of Molteno & Sterkstroom Community members in preparation for the handover ceremony of the project.
• 28 September 2007- Final fencing by Shosholoza Meyl of the Station for security purposes and protection of railway lines.
• 04 October 2007 Committee meeting on progress reporting.
• 10 October 2007 Committees meeting on progress reporting.
• 17 October 2007 Committee meeting evaluation on all progress made by all committees.
• 23-24 October 2007- All Committees were on site to finalize on logistical challenges.
• 29 October 2007 Official Re-opening by Department of Transport and Handing over to Nkwanca Municipality ceremony.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
The main obstacle was to gather all stakeholders to meet in one venue especially with Shosholoza Meyl and Transnet being based in other provinces. With these two crucial stakeholders it was imperative to meet with them due to custodian issues that resided within their respective mandates. Another crucial obstacle was the issue of fencing the Station which was the responsibility of Shosholoza Meyl as it posed a danger to the Community and as the Department Of Transport did not have funding to fence they negotiated with Shosholoza Meyl to pay for the fencing and they relented. Vandalism had always posed a threat especially now that all stakeholders were on board; the solution was agreed to that a 24hour Security company be employed.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
Financial Resources:
Funding for the renovation of the Station amounting to R195 000 from the Department of Transport; Fencing amounting to R80 000 from Shosholoza Meyl.
Technical Resources:
Graders and Levellers from Roads section to level the grounds to the Station.
VIP Train contributed by Shosholoza Meyl to transport guests from Queenstown to Molteno amounting to R250 000
Handing over ceremony contributed by Department of Transport (R 60 000)
Government Fleet vehicles used to transport Technical staff from Queenstown to Molteno to monitor progress and 5400 km’s were used over the entire implementation stage. (R7 560)
Human Resources:
All stakeholders provided human power to assist in the implantation of the initiative. This human resource was distributed evenly amongst Strategic Committees.

The total cost of the initiative was R592 560.00

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
In no more than 500 words, describe how the initiative is being sustained (for example in terms of financial, social and economic, cultural, environmental, institutional and regulatory sustainability). Describe whether the initiative is being replicated or disseminated throughout the public service at the national and/or international levels and/or how it could be replicated.

• The sustainability of the project is through the constant usage of the station on an everyday basis as indicated by the Income table below for the 2010 period. The purchasing of tickets is now done at the station itself.

JANUARY 1765 R 135,620.00
FEBRUARY 275 R 36,580.00
MARCH 399 R 43,260.00
APRIL 289 R 37,520.00
MAY 382 R 40,780.00
JUNE 768 R 86,620.00
JULY 806 R 89,720.00
AUGUST 464 R 44,680.00
SEPTEMBER 562 R 49,620.00
OCTOBER 389 R 42,660.00
NOVEMBER 446 R 45,300.00
DECEMBER 642 R 53,840.00
9196 R 708,209.00

The Department of Transport is in the process of replicating this initiative in Carthcart, 60kms outside Queenstown towards East London, where communities of that locality are faced with a similar predicament as was faced by Molteno.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
As the Department of Transport, our Service Delivery mandate to the public is to provide Quality Transportation and the re-opening of the Molteno Train Station Project became a living proof to fulfill that mandate.
The promotion of integrated land transport services was accomplished through coordination and cooperation with national transport entities, Chris Hani District Municipality, Inkwanca Local Municipality, Molteno and Sterkstroom communities, and the Department of Transport provincially and within the district of Chris Hani, in order to enhance the mobility of the Molteno communities who had limited access to transport.

The impact is that the “Back to Rail Strategy” was implemented at a very low cost with maximum benefit to the communities of Molteno.

The economic viability of Molteno being a small poor town was enhanced by the introduction of the passenger train service, further promoting small businesses around the station where local vendors pitch up their stalls to sell refreshments to commuters.

Lessons learnt are that the station needs to be maintained on an ongoing basis so that it never falls into the sad state of disrepair. The neglect witnessed by the Molteno train station must never happen again. Molteno train station is intended to provide service to the people of the Eastern Cape, particularly Inkwanca Municipality, for generations to come.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Department of Transport
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Nophuthi Mlakalaka
Title:   Project Cordinator  
Telephone/ Fax:   045 807 3726/082 562 6020
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   No 1 Creamery Road
Postal Code:   5320
City:   Queenstown
State/Province:   Eastern Cape
Country:   South Africa

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