Caustic political reaction to R600m train tender

2015-07-05 16:05
 (Prasa)

(Prasa)

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Durban - The DA and the EFF had caustic reactions to reports that the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) imported brand new locomotives worth R600m despite explicit warnings that the trains are not suited for local rail lines.

Senior railways engineers and sources with first-hand knowledge of the issue told Rapport Prasa had been warned that the new diesel locomotives it ordered from Spanish manufacturer Vossloh España are too tall for local use.

The locomotives exceed the height restrictions for diesel locomotives on the long distance lines Prasa intended using them on.

The 13 Afro 4000 diesel locomotives that have so far been delivered to Prasa are worth R600m and form part of a larger R3.5bn order for 70 new locomotives.

In a statement, DA MP Manny de Freitas accused Prasa of misleading Parliament.

“Earlier this year the DA submitted Parliamentary a  question to the Minister of Transport, Dipuo Peters, asking why the trains ordered differed in dimension from the requirements. The Minister replied that ‘the new locomotives are not different in any form… The new locomotives are within the required scale’.

“Clearly the Minister has misled Parliament and been loose with the truth with regard to the dimensions of the new trains,” de Freitas said.

“The DA believes that government must at all times act in the best interests of all South Africans, especially when spending tax payers’ hard earned money. By ordering trains that do not fit on our country’s train tracks, Prasa has acted recklessly and without proper and due consideration,” he added.

EFF spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi described the R600m purchase as “reckless” and called the trains “defective”.

“The EFF is concerned and disturbed by serious the disregard of prudent management of taxpayers funds by the Department of Transport and its related entities like Prasa.”

“Prasa CEO Lucky Montana is already facing numerous allegations of corruption. The minister must immediately place Lucky Montana under suspension without pay and a full investigation on corruption allegations against him be instituted.

“The minister must also immediately suspend all these contracts of defective locomotives which are not locally manufactured. This procurement of foreign manufactured locomotives not only is a waste of taxpayers’ funds but also makes a complete farce of the ANC government claim to be promoting localisation of production, beneficiation and industrialisation,” he said.

Cope also had sharp words about the imported trains, and called for Peters and Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene to launch an investigation.

"We will certainly want the Ministers to come before Parliament to account for yet another giant cock-up, if the allegations are true," spokesperson Dennis Bloem said.

"Is this government and parastatals never going to get a single big contract right?"

Read more on:    da  |  prasa  |  eff  |  dipuo peters  |  transport

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