NEWS & ANALYSIS

DA submits turn-around proposals for PRASA – Manny de Freitas

DA MP says there is a chronic lack of leadership at rail agency, which is at core of crisis

DA submits turn-around proposals for PRASA to DP Ramaphosa

18 January 2018

The DA will today write to Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, in his capacity as leader of government business, to urgently intervene in the mess that is PRASA. Ramaphosa must put pressure on the Minister of Transport, Joe Maswanganyi, to act in the best interest of rail commuters who have for the past number of years struggled to access safe and reliable train services.

There is a chronic lack of leadership at PRASA which is at the core of the crisis and carnage on the South African rail network. The entity is besieged with conflicts of interest and allegations of corruption and maladministration.

The recent tragic train accident in Kroonstad where 19 people lost their lives and the accident at Geldenhuys Station in Germiston where more than 200 commuters were injured speak to an entire system that compromises the safety of commuters.

Today alone there were two derailments, one in Cape Town on the central line and the other in Germiston. Thankfully there were no injuries or loss of life in these incidents.

Instead of focusing on creating safe and efficient rail transport to millions of South Africans, PRASA is moving from one scandal to the next.

This is why the DA will write to Ramaphosa to request that he urgently lights a fire under Minister Maswanganyi to turn things around at the entity. The current crisis in railway services demonstrates that the ANC government doesn’t have a suitable plan to turn things around.

The DA proposes the following:

- Appoint a capable, qualified, full-time board and executives at PRASA, preferably without a tainted track records;

- Implement an emergency safety plan that includes a dedicated Police Service in the form of Railway Police to take over security operations, as the current private security company is not fully equipped to combat crime, vandalism;

- To order an urgent update as to the progress made in upgrading the current signal system so that no manual signal is used and to therefore avoid unnecessary incidents of crashes, derailments and security issues;

- That PRASA seed control of Metrorail services and the allocated budget to Metro councils to ensure an efficient and safe integrated transportation system is delivered to commuters.

Failure by the Minister and the Deputy President to action the DA’s proposals  will only heighten public sentiments that the entire PRASA executive is only there to advance a certain political agenda and that it is wholly incapable and heavily compromised.

PRASA CEO admitted that more than 80 trains have been lost to vandalism, it’s safe to say that the current state of affairs is not sustainable and this necessitates the urgent need to ensure a safe and effective transporting system

The safety of ordinary South Africans who work hard to provide for their families should be the top priority for PRASA. Workers risk losing their jobs and the education of children is negatively impacted on because of chronic delays.

The DA will continue mounting pressure on Minister Maswanganyi to urgently see to his mandate of ensuring a safe environment for public transport users.

Issued by Manny de FreitasDA Shadow Minister of Transport, 18 January 2018