The United National Transport Union (UNTU) demands that the Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula is personally held accountable for the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) blatant disregard of the Government’s Covid-19 regulations and the safety of commuters and employees.
Dan Khumalo, Acting General Secretary of UNTU, says Mbalula is not only accountable for Prasa but also for the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR), the so-called watchdog of rail safety, who are allowing Prasa to continue operating knowing that it is not adhering to several Constitutional Court orders about train safety.
“The attached video was taken this morning of Train 9137 between Reunion Station and Merebank Station on the route between Umlazi and Durban in KwaZulu-Natal. The train is heavily overcrowded with commuters endangering their lives hanging from the train and sitting on top of the train.
“There is no social distancing and not all the commuters are wearing the mandatory facial masks imposed on all South African’s to combat the spreading of the deadly global pandemic. This video clearly shows that Prasa and the RSR is making a mockery of train safety,” says Khumalo.
According to Khumalo this video shows how Prasa is gambling with the lives of commuters. If one of these commuters slip and fall under the train, they will die or be badly mutilated.
This comes two weeks after Freddie Kgomari, the head maintainer of regulation at the RSR, assured the Covid-19 Sub-Transport Committee of the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) that the RSR is satisfied that Prasa is implementing all the necessary steps to combat the spreading of Covid-19.
According to Kgomari the RSR is well aware that Prasa is in contempt of the various court orders of the Constitutional Court, but believes Prasa will be able to adhere to it once’s its modernisation project is finalised and the new urban commuter train, the People’s Train, is operational nationwide. This train is currently only allowed to travel with commuters between Pretoria and Pienaarspoort.
For more information phone Khumalo on 082 685 2799.
Issued on behalf of UNTU by Sonja Carstens, Media, Liaison and Communication Officer. For UNTU press releases phone Sonja on 082 463 6806 or e-mail email@example.com.