The nationwide lockdown for 21 days might have halted the passenger trains of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), but certain employees of the state-owned enterprise will continue to work to ensure the safety of these crucial state assets and to ensure that trains carrying food and goods can still reach their destinations.
Bongisizwe Mpondo, Administrator of Prasa, announced this afternoon that all protection services employees would continue working for the duration of the lockdown to protect the infrastructure and assets of Prasa.
In some train control offices (TCO’s) the train control officers will continue working to ensure that the trains of Transnet Freight Rail that will have to move through the urban areas with manual authorisation, can do so without any hassle.
“The United National Transport Union (UNTU) would like to thank these men and women who will like all other essential services in the country, continue to play their critical role to ensure food security and the basic necessities during the lockdown while the rest of South Africa adhere to President Cyril Ramaphosa ’s instruction to stay at home to stop the spreading of COVID-19, a deadly global pandemic.
“The outbreak will have a devastating impact on the South African economy, the second largest economy in Africa. We can only support and pray for those essential employees who will continue to work to try and minimise the financial blow to all of us,” says Neels Haasbroek, Deputy-General Secretary of UNTU.
The line managers of the employees who will be working, must ensure that they are provided with the necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
The management of Prasa who will not be working from home in this period, will put in annual leave.
“God Bless South Africa. This too shall pass,” says Haasbroek.