Jack van der Merwe

Chief Executive Officer, Gautrain

Jack van der Merwe

Chief Executive Officer, Gautrain


Mr Jack van der Merwe, a Civil Engineer, obtained the degrees B.Sc. (Eng.) Civil and B.Sc. (Eng.) (Hons.) Civil, from the University of Pretoria.  He is also a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s SED programme.

He has been providing a service to the public transport sector for more than 41 years of which some of the highlights were his appointment, in 1994, as the team leader of the Strategic Management Team (SMT) tasked with developing, structuring and establishing the new Department of Public Transport and Roads in Gauteng. A Department he headed from 1995 until 2004.

During this period he was also appointed as project leader for the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link project. This started in July 1997 when he accompanied the then Premier of Gauteng, Mr Sexwale, to Bavaria to discuss the development of a Rail Link between Tshwane, Johannesburg and the OR Tambo International Airport. Working with endurance and tolerance on the project for the last fifteen years, with different tiers of Government, he provided solutions to many challenges and ensured that Gautrain became a project of national significance and a pride of the nation. Remarkable contributions have also been made to the socio-economy advancement and spatial development of Gauteng resulting from Gautrain leadership under Mr van der Merwe. Although the Gautrain Project was initiated long before the FIFA 2010 World Cup was awarded to South Africa, it soon became evident that it would be to the advantage of the country as a whole if the rail service between the OR Tambo International Airport and Sandton could be completed in time for the soccer. This was achieved on the 8th July 2010, three days before the kick-off.

He represented his Department on various national forums and professional bodies- such as the Ministerial Conference of Ministers of Transport and the Committee of Transport Officials. He was the Chairperson of the Gauteng Urban Transport Board.

He was a member of the Civil Engineer Advisory Council (CEAC) and a board member of the then South African Rail Commuter Corporation (SARCC). He was until recently a board member of the former South African Roads Board.

In 1998 the Transportation Engineering Division of the South African Institution of Civil Engineering awarded him the Chairman’s Award for Meritorious Service to the Transportation Profession. He is a Fellow of the South African Academy of Engineers.

IN 2010 Mr van der Merwe was awarded the University of Pretoria’s Laureate Award for exceptional achievements and promoting the interests of the University of Pretoria by the Tuks Alumni Board.

In 2011 he was appointed by the MEC for Roads & Transport to head up a special team of experts tasked with developing an 25 year Integrated transport Master Plan for the Province of Gauteng (ITMP25).

In 2011 he was elected UATP President for Africa (an African association of urban & regional passenger transport operators, authorities & suppliers) and Vise-President of UITP (the World wide association of urban & regional passenger transport operators, authorities & suppliers). He also serves as a member on the UITP Policy Board.

In 2012 the Premier appointed him as the project leader for the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis project, which is part of Strategic Infrastructure Project 2 (SIP2) of the National Development Plan (NDP).

He is currently the CEO of the Gautrain Management Agency tasked with overseeing the building and operation of the Gautrain, overseeing the implementation of the Concession Agreement with the Bombela Concession Company.

He receives on average two oversees delegations per month who are seeking advice on the implementation of PPP type contracts.

Numerous organisations consult Mr van der Merwe on the success of the Gautrain, amongst which, the World Bank, and various foreign government delegations are learning from the solutions found from challenges on the Gautrain. Mr van der Merwe has an influence on an international level and is recognised as an international expert in public transport and project management.

He has delivered countless papers on the development and execution of PPP contracts in South Africa and abroad. He has been asked by the World Bank to present the method, advantages and implementation of PPP’s in Russia and the Philippines.


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