Members of the United National Transport Union (UNTU) nationwide disputed the statistics and success announced by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula.


Steve Harris, General Secretary of UNTU, says according to UNTU members the war room launched on 8 August 2019 had achieved very little success so far.


“In the Western Cape region, the service still experiences train cancelations due to the lack of available train sets. An hour train trip takes three hours due to vandalism.


“Since 26 January 2018 no new refurbished coaches were replaced. Some days we are running with two sets, 80% of trunky communication does not work and we receive thirteen different authorities on one trip. The result is that our R200 airtime per month is done in one trip.


“No work has been done in the past two years on any vandalized overhead substations. Last week central lost its remaining one. As we speak no area in Central is running due to the substation,” UNTU members informed Harris.


According to Harris theft and vandalism are also at the root of train delays and the unreliability of the service in KwaZulu-Natal.


“In Gauteng the experience is exactly the same. The vandalism of and theft on the infrastructure is a daily occurrence. Trains are not on time, the only difference is that faulty sets are no longer taken out of service, but allowed to continue to run,” says Harris.


To make matters worse, the contracts of several Prasa private security companies nationwide was not renewed at the end of October.


“As a result, there are 400 less security officers on station platforms from 1 November 2019 endangering the lives of our members and innocent commuters even more,” says Harris.


The Union is of the view that individuals in Prasa are deliberately providing its board and the Minister with wrong information so save the skin on their backs.


UNTU does not form part of the War room and no meeting has been held with any task team.


Last month UNTU stated that the statistics in the State of Rail Safety report of the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) is inaccurate as it is based on cases reported to the South African Police Service (SAPS).


UNTU is busy drafting an affidavit for Judge Cassim Sardiwalla of the Gauteng North High Court, on who’s conditional court order Prasa has been operating since 12 October 2019.


Issued on behalf of UNTU by Sonja Carstens, UNTU Deputy-General Secretary. For UNTU press re leases phone Sonja on 082 463 6806 or e-mail sonja@untu.co.za.


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