Prior to 1990, road and rail based passenger services were provided by the South
African Transport Services (SATS), a state-owned entity.
From 1 April 1990, these functions became the responsibility of Transnet Limited
and the South African Rail Commuter Corporation Limited (SARCC), companies created
in terms of the Legal Succession to the South African Transport Services Act, (Act
9 of 1989). Commuter rail services were transferred to the SARCC but long distance
(both road and rail) passenger services continued to be provided by Transnet, which
created a number of operating divisions including Spoornet and Autonet, the forerunner
The assets required to operate commuter rail services were allocated to the SARCC
on the basis of usage at the time. During 1992, a wholly-owned subsidiary company,
Intersite Property Management Services (Pty) Ltd (IPMS), was formed to manage and
develop the newly transferred property portfolio.
Transnet operated the commuter rail assets on behalf of the SARCC through Metrorail
- an operating unit of Spoornet - until 1996 when Metrorail became a business unit
Under this arrangement, the SARCC owned the commuter rail assets and retained responsibility
for capital expenditure and asset maintenance. Metrorail was deemed responsible
for operational maintenance. However, the lack of clarity on roles led to problems
that impacted negatively on the maintenance of the commuter asset base.