Prasa news report incorrect - university

2015-07-10 18:56
New locomotive. (Prasa)

New locomotive. (Prasa)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg - A report published on Friday morning regarding a Stellenbosch University official was incorrect, the university said.

"In news reports... reference is made to the Prasa media statement with the assumption that the relevant paragraph states that 'a Dr Pieterse', an 'electrical engineer' at Stellenbosch University found the locomotives to be suitable for local railway lines'," the university said in a statement.

"However, the author of the news report made a serious erroneous assumption based on the following paragraph from statement:

'Prasa further commissioned the University of Stellenbosch which confirmed that the AFRO4000 will be able to pass safely under the minimum contact wire height of 4.5m. The investigation report which included a scientific calculation of gap [looking at all possible scenarios] as well as Lab testing was led by Dr Pieterse [electrical engineer] and accepted by the Prasa Engineering department under the leadership of Dr. Daniel Mtimkulu'."

The university said there was no mention that "Dr Pieterse found the locomotives to be suitable for local railway lines", as reported.

"... Mr Petrus Pieterse was involved with laboratory tests. In 2014 he demonstrated the results of simulation tests in the laboratory to a Prasa delegation," the university said.

"One of the unique challenges of the new locomotive is the interface between its roof components and the overhead electric contact wire. Different working environments were simulated to identify the worst operating conditions. Recommendations related to safe contact wire distances were made to Prasa based on these findings."

The university said Pieterse is a laboratory technician and a valued member of the electrical and electronic engineering department.

"For the purposes of the mentioned experiment, he was co-opted to assist with the setting up and execution of the experiment. The report, reflecting the results of these tests, was compiled by the Prasa Engineering Research Chair and submitted to Prasa."

Report not the work of an individual

Professor Neels Fourie, from the Prasa Research Chair, said the report was a product of the Research Chair, and not the work of an individual.

"Mr Pieterse has never claimed to have a PhD in engineering and as a laboratory technician he would not be registered with ECSA," Fourie said.

Beeld editor and editor-in-chief of Netwerk24 Adriaan Basson said the angle of the story was to expose more of Prasa's inconsistencies, hence the headline "Doctor Pinocchio: Prasa's nose grows and grows".

"In its statement, defending the safety of the controversial Afro4000 locomotives, Prasa referred to an investigation and report done by Stellenbosch University, 'led by Dr Pieterse', who they called an 'electrical engineer'," Basson said.

"In our story, we reveal that Pieterse is neither a doctor, nor an electrical engineer. We made it clear in the story that we have no proof Pieterse himself ever claimed to have a doctorate.

"We still find it strange and very odd that Prasa would name Pieterse as leading the Stellenbosch-investigation, rather than the Prasa research chair at the university."

Read more on:    university of stellenbosch  |  prasa  |  johannesburg  |  transport

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Financial advisors – Do you need one and should you get one?

The good, the bad, and everything else you need to know when considering hiring a financial advisor.


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.