80-kilometer (50-mile) Gautrain rail
project will provide Johannesburg residents and visitors with a direct link to
the O.R. Tambo International Airport.
The project is a public–private
partnership between Gauteng’s
provincial government and Bombela,
a consortium of international partners and local stakeholders.
Construction on the Gautrain project
began in September 2006, and the
entire project is slated to wrap up in
The rail line will include 15 kilometers (nine miles) of tunnels, with 96 rail cars reaching
speeds of 160 kilometers (99 miles) per hour.
The construction did create some problems for
local residents, though. As a result of the tunneling,
part of a busy Johannesburg road collapsed in July
2008. Although no one was injured, the incident
snarled traffic for weeks.
And that’s not the only issue the project has
Concerns have been raised about the project’s first
phase, which may not be completed in time for the
start of the World Cup. But project head Jack van der
Merwe doesn’t seem to be worried. “We’re working on
a lot of sites. Some of these are ahead of schedule,
and some are behind. In general, we’re still within the
timeframe we have set ourselves,” Mr. van der Merwe
told Engineering News.
If the project cannot be completed in time for the
tournament, he told the publication, then the government “will have to go to a plan B. … We can’t compromise on safety, or standards, or anything like that.”
O.R. Tambo International Airport
PHOTO COURTESY OF WIKIMEDIA/KAIHSU TAI
figure is expected to reach more than 21 million by
2010. To manage the increase in traffic, Airports
Company South Africa, which owns and operates
South Africa's main airports, has initiated a host of
To begin with, the Tambo airport will receive a
ZAR8 billion new terminal to ease traffic flow and cut
processing time. The airport will also receive extended
runways and taxiways to accommodate the massive
Airbus A380. Also in the works: a new ZAR1.8 billion
central terminal building that will link Tambo’s domestic and international terminals, and connect to the
Gautrain high-speed rail.
IN THE AIR
Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport is
already Africa’s busiest airport, with more than 18
million passengers passing through in 2007. And that
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
Johannesburg is paving the way for a successful
World Cup event in 2010, and that includes road
In July 2007, construction began on five kilometers
(three miles) of the highway that connects Soweto
with Soccer City, the site of the World Cup’s opening
The project is part of a larger effort to improve the
city’s roads. The South African National Roads
Agency Ltd. has funneled ZAR11.5 billion into road
upgrades for Gauteng, the province in which
Johannesburg is located.
remain as a statement in the project charter. Clients
want to be able to bank this benefit upfront.”
JC Kruger, PMP, has also observed shifts in the city’s
project management dynamics. Currently director of
Greybeards Inc., a Johannesburg-based consulting firm,
Mr. Kruger has spent more than three decades in the
project management arena.
The mining and minerals industry is one sector being
forced to change. “The skills shortage, good margins
and lax time schedules on mining projects resulted in
mediocre project managers being tolerated,” Mr.
Kruger says. That luxury is no longer an option in an
economic climate with heightened competition—for
“Companies in all sectors have significantly reduced
their capital project budgets,” says Werner Meyer, PMP,
managing director of ProjectLink Consulting pty Ltd.,
Centurion, South Africa. “Only essential capital projects
are conducted, and the management of cost is critical.”
This is not to say there aren’t opportunities, however.
“Companies seem to have shifted their focus from
developmental and expansion projects to internal
>>ON THE MAP: JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA