Cape Town’s mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis has given President Cyril Ramaphosa a deadline to get moving on handing control of Metrorail to the City.

Hill-Lewis has written to President Ramaphosa.

In that, he gives Ramaphosa just over two weeks to announce the formation of a joint working committee on rail devolution.

In 2022, former Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula published a white paper on national rail policy that spoke of handing over control of passenger rail to municipal level.

In May 2023 the new minister, Sindisiwe Chikunga, poured cold water on that, saying national government is not in the process of devolving railway services.

Then, just a month later, the Department of Transport’s director-general James Mlawua told the Rail Africa conference that a devolution strategy will be gazetted this year.

Since then, the mayor has been trying to get the President to confirming what the international delegates were told.

Hill-Lewis is threatening to escalate matters if the deadline isn’t met.

“We’ve asked the president to respond by the 31st of August, failing which we have to take the matter further through formal dispute mediation. The lack of a working rail system rail in our city was severely felt last week in Cape Town during the recent violent mini-bus taxi stay away. Rail must be the backbone of our transport network and all spheres of government have a duty to fix this”.