The dismissal by the Passenger Railway Agency of South Africa (Prasa) of one of the train drivers involved in the Mountain View train crash is shocking. This shows that Prasa is once again shifting the blame from itself to an employee who was a victim of Prasa’s failing infrastructure.
Rail Safety and the safety of passengers is the responsibility of Prasa. Prasa must be held to account for the lack of maintenance and safeguarding of crucial infrastructure necessary to ensure the safety of passengers.
The manual signalling of trains is becoming the norm because of cable theft and the lack of maintenance of train infrastructure. It is unacceptable that the train driver of one of the trains is being held accountable for something that was beyond his control.
It is clear that that the financial loss of R928 million due to corruption and mismanagement at Prasa recorded for the 2016/2017 financial year is clearly having a negative impact on Prasa’s operations.
The ANC is putting commuters’ lives at risk on a daily basis and is not in a position to provide safe and reliable public transport to the residents of Gauteng.
The only way we can ensure that our rail system is safe is by handing over the day-to-day running of Metrorail to the provincial government.
The DA will continue to hold Prasa to account, until such time that they can prove that they take the safety of train commuters seriously by fixing what is broken.
Under a DA-led government we will establish a Rail Enforcement Unit with resources from provincial government, local government and Prasa.
In the Western Cape, the Rail Safety Unit has been successful in ensuring that commuters are kept safe, trains are not vandalised and cable theft does not occur.