The United National Transport Union (UNTU) would like to congratulate each and every employee of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) who worked around the clock to pull off the unthinkable – reopening the Mabopane Railway Line on Tuesday this week.
“UNTU applauds you. In achieving the reopening of the Mabopane route, PRASA is making strides in helping South Africa’s frail economy recovering amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. Passenger rail is the safest and cheapest form of public transport for workers and the poor of the poorest,” says Steve Harris, General Secretary of UNTU.
According to Harris UNTU was very sceptical when PRASA announced the reopening of the line on Monday. The Unions members assured it that no stone are being left unturned to get the line ready. It was with delight that members confirmed to Harris on Tuesday morning that the journey was completed successfully.
Sonja Carstens, Media, Liaison and Communication Officer of UNTU, joined UNTU train driver Roelf Smith today when he left the Wolmerton Depot in Pretoria-North with a 34-638 Transnet Diesel Locomotive for Mabopane at 04:00.
She had a much more pleasant ride than President Cyril Ramaphosa had on the same route in March last year. Ramaphosa was stuck on a train on this route with furious commuters for three hours.
According to Carstens the train left Mabopane Station at 05:00, dropped off and picked-up commuters at Pretoria-North Station at 05:35 and arrived at the Pretoria Station just before 06:00.
Carstens was welcomed at the Pretoria Station by Nosipho Damasane, chief executive of PRASA Rail, Passenger Rail, senior manager operations Rose Leballo, Mabopane programme manager Refiloe Kunene and PRASA spokesperson Lillian Mofokeng and congratulated them on the achievements against all odds.
Harris says UNTU supports PRASA in its attempt to restore the trust of commuters by providing a safe and reliable passenger rail service.
“Today UNTU saw how the Winternest, Acaciaboom, Kapanong and Soshanguve train stations have been completely stripped during the Covid-19 lockdown. It is so bad, that PRASA cannot stop at these stations now. There is literally nothing left. We appeal to communities to support our passenger trains, be our eyes and ears and report crime,” says Harris.
Commuters who used the train today, told UNTU that they were grateful and delighted that the services resumed. For the past to months they had to pay more than R30 for a taxi to get from Mabopane to Pretoria where the train fair is R12.50.
Issued on behalf of UNTU by Sonja Carstens, Media, Liaison and Communication Officer. For UNTU Press Release phone Sonja on 082 463 6806 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.