The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng welcomes the arrests of a Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa is a South African (Prasa) manager and a former employee found in possession of R2 million worth of railway equipment. Prasa’s services in Gauteng has been brought to a halt due to theft and vandalism of its infrastructure to the point that only one of their lines, Pienaarspoort, is currently operational.
The DA estimates that the damage to and theft of infrastructure, especially during the lockdown, runs into tens of millions of rand, a price tag the agency cannot afford.
This is once again confirmation that the protection of railway infrastructure in Gauteng requires urgent improvement to prevent a break in services. A combination of technology and police services should be used to protect railway infrastructure in the province.
If this does not happen, Prasa trains will not find their way back to their tracks and Gauteng commuters will be left stranded. It will also place pressure on other straining public transport systems that will struggle to absorb the additional load.
Public transport is a key economic determinant in Gauteng, the country’s economic powerhouse. It is therefore crucial that all public transport in the province operates at full capacity if we wish to grow the economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Urgent attention must be given to the protection of Prasa’s infrastructure. If this does not happen it will have dire economic consequences for Gauteng and the country.