The Transport Union (#UNTU) welcomes the decision of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) to lockdown the overcrowded Metrorail trains from midnight 26 March 2020.
This comes after the deadly COVID-19 virus has infected 554 South African’s nationwide. The transmission of the virus spreads like a wildfire.
According to John Pereira, Acting General Secretary of UNTU, PRASA was not able to combat the overcrowding of its trains in recent weeks or to implement social distancing. With practicing social distancing commuters are expected to maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) from each other in coaches.
“This is impossible due to the shortage of train sets. As it is, sexual harassment is rife on trains and can’t be prevented because they are so overcrowded,” says Pereira.
UNTU called on Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula to suspend the train services of Metrorail, South Africa’s urban commuter train, last week.
Despite promises by PRASA to provide all operational staff, especially those working in direct contact with commuters, the broken state-owned enterprise (SOE) which has been under Administration since December 2019, could once again not keep to its promises.
The suspension of the train services until 16 April 2020 is the only way to assist the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) to implement the drastic measures called for by President Cyril Ramaphosa from 16 March 2020 after the outbreak of the deadly global pandemic started spreading like wildfire in through the country.
PRASA’s protection services will continue working to protect the assets of Government.
Issued on behalf of UNTU by Sonja Carstens: Deputy-General Secretary: Media, Liaison and Communication. For UNTU press releases e-mail email@example.com or phone 082 463 6806.