The Federation of Union of South Africa (FEDUSA) and its affiliate, the United National Transport Union (UNTU) briefed Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa last night at NEDLAC on the collapse of the systems and operational
functionality in PRASA and requested for urgent intervention to protect a crucial national asset: passenger rail transport.
Dennis George, General Secretary of FEDUDA, told Ramaphosa in a letter that PRASA will never fulfil the ideals of the National Development Plan (NDP) if an urgent task team under the Chairmanship of the Deputy-President is not
convened to seek solutions to the passenger railway operator’s operational problems.
Currently PRASA’s service to the commuting public is at an all-time low, providing only 40 percent of its potential, 375 coaches were vandalized by some angry passengers and criminal elements in the first six months of this year
alone, only 248 train sets provided a day and of these, 56 percent have short formations, and to cap it all, 10 percent of peak hour trains are routinely cancelled.
According to the ideals of the NDP South Africa should have a state of the art rail network by 2030 that is reliable, economic, smooth-running and can bridge geographical distances at affordable prices so that at the end of the day,
all South Africans can access previously inaccessible economic opportunities, social spaces and services.
This comes after UNTU has repeatedly warned Government and the South African public over the past few months about the rapid deterioration of PRASA.
Two weeks ago, PRASA admitted in an internal report there is merit in the unions grave concern as it faces the possibility of a total collapse of services due to operational deficiencies and ageing and failing infrastructure.
The Auditor General also established that R14.6 billion was lost at PRASA due to irregular spending.
According to George state subsidies for both Metrorail and Shosholoza Meyl (the Main Line Passenger Services), PRASA’s short and long distance operational arms respectively, are completely insufficient.
“Infrastructure contribution to train delays has increased to 6.8 percent or nearly a third train delays. To add insult to injury, the frequency of train accidents has increased dangerously, with Metrorail losing a quarter of its 73 million
of paying passengers in the first six months of 2016/2017,” says George.
Steve Harris, General Secretary of UNTU, says collective efforts by all social partners are needed to protect the unions members as PRASA has failed to put adequate safety measures in place for its employees. Three UNTU
members have been murdered and several more have been assaulted and robbed on railway stations and on railway lines.
FEDUSA requested that the task team Ramaphosa must convene must consist of the highest leadership levels of Government, represented by the Ministers of Finance, Transport, Police, Small Business, FEDUSA, UNTU, and PRASA
For enquiries phone George on 084 805 1529 or Harris on 082 566 5516.
Issued by FEDUSA.
Media and Liaison Officer
Tel: +27 11 728 0121/2
Fax:+27 11 728 8257/58