ON THE MOVE
For decades, Johannesburg has lacked an essential
component of urban life: convenient public transportation. City officials are looking to change that with the
launch of several major projects designed to provide
world-class public transportation for Johannesburg’s
residents, as well as for the millions of soccer fans who
will descend on the city for the 2010 World Cup.
Slated for completion in 2010, the city’s rapid transit
project for buses means business—right down to the
name, Rea Vaya, which means “We are going” in Sotho.
The ZAR10 billion first phase, scheduled for completion in June 2009, includes the construction of 48 stations
and 40 kilometers ( 25 miles) of dedicated bus lanes
within existing roads. The city also plans to finish the
second phase, which involves the construction of 102
bus stations and 86 kilometers ( 53 miles) of dedicated
bus lanes, in time for the games.
By early 2009, residents already had a glimpse of
Rea Vaya’s main components. After eight weeks of construction, the first ZAR10 million prototype bus station
was completed in November 2008. And in February, the
PHOTO COURTESY OF FLICKR/TINYKOV
Rea Vaya construction
first bus arrived and is currently on display at the new
Along with improving Johannesburg’s public transport, Rea Vaya has the potential to make a significant
environmental contribution as well. According to the
project’s website, the system is “the single largest
climate-change initiative ever undertaken by the city of
Johannesburg and represents a major turning point in
how the city deals with congestion, pollution and greenhouse gases as a result of transportation.” Rea Vaya
would reduce Johannesburg’s carbon dioxide output by
1. 6 million tons within the next decade if at least 15 percent of residents used the system’s low-sulfur, diesel
buses, the site says.
The project is also earning points for listening to its
users. When the bus prototype was revealed, a cross
section of stakeholders ranging from disabled residents
to commuter organizations were invited to offer their
feedback by using voting booths adjacent to the prototype
“We see Rea Vaya as a collaborative effort, a project
that belongs to everybody,” said Rehana Moosajee, the
city’s member of the Mayoral Commission for
Transportation, in a press release. “These votes will be
used to guide the finishes used on the remainder of the
buses that are currently being constructed.”
And the Rea Vaya project’s influence may extend well
beyond local transportation issues.
“Other cities are watching the Rea Vaya work very
closely and are using our experience in the design of
their own systems,” said the South African government’s Minister of Transport Jeff Radebe, speaking at
the launch of the first Rea Vaya station last year. He
noted that Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Bay and
Tshwane were close to finalizing their own station prototype designs.
RIDING THE RAILS
High-speed rail is about to become a reality in
Johannesburg. First announced in 2000, the ZAR20 billion,
Several years ago, “infrastructure project management
rested largely with the specialist disciplines to various
degrees, with architects or engineers being the project
managers as an extension of their mainstream responsibilities,” he says. “The first-generation project managers,
in my opinion, were typically these individuals.”
The city learned the hard way that the old method didn’t
lead to effective project management.
“Unfortunately, good architects and engineers are not
necessarily good project managers,” Mr. Naicker says. “As
project management became recognized as an essential
discipline, so did the realization of the traits and skills
For today’s project manager, Mr. Naicker says those
skills include adaptability, perseverance, conflict management and creativity.
Johannesburg’s economic struggles will likely bring
even more recognition to those vital traits.
“If anything, the current crisis will highlight the value
of [an] effective project management approach to almost
all aspects of the business,” says Mr. Naicker. “Value
must now be demonstrated and quantified and not