Protesters threaten to torch Gautrain

2013-03-13 16:11
Gautrain (Picture: Sapa)

Gautrain (Picture: Sapa)

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

Pretoria - A group of irate commuters threatened on Wednesday to torch Gautrain coaches if the authorities do not urgently improve the Metrorail train service.

One of their leaders, Albert Mokoena, told transport department deputy director general Maria du Toit that commuters would resort to drastic actions if the train service in Pretoria did not improve.

"Before 28 March you must have responded to our demands. We have resolved amongst ourselves that it is really not good for us to burn our own trains [the Metrorail trains].

"We are going to burn the Gautrain," he said outside the Bosman railway station in Pretoria.

"I know that I am on record and I am doing this deliberately. It would be useless for us to burn our own property, but that Gautrain is not for us, it's for the rich people. It is for the bourgeois," Mokoena said to cheers of approval from the crowd.

He said the transport department had not done a proper needs analysis for the majority of South Africans when it had invested in the Gautrain.

"The money that was used to build the Gautrain was supposed to [be used for] the [transport system] of the majority.

"When you plan, you need to look at where there needs are. You should tell that to the [Transport] Minister [Ben Martins]," said Mokoena.

"That investment [in the Gautrain] was useless. We will burn those nice trains which speak English inside them.

"This is not a threat. I am a politician and I use political language," he said.

Mokoena is a regional secretary of the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania's Tshwane region.

"Most of the protesters wore green and yellow PAC T-shirts.

Painful experience

Another protester, Vusi Mahlangu, who studies law at the University of SA, said using the train was a "painful daily experience".

"We demand more trains and we demand clean and safe service. Most students are being made to fail by the poor service of Metrorail."

Another protester, Thabang Mothelo, wept when he addressed Metrorail officials about the "tribulations of train commuters".

"It is a very painful experience when 6 000 people are crammed into one train. A cousin of mine was injured in a train accident and only got R7 500. She is now a cripple.

"I use a train because we don't have a car. Sometimes we go to bed without eating at home. Government doesn't care about us, the people who vote.

We don't have to fight to get what we want. Don't treat us like monkeys," Mothelo said.

Responding to the protesters' grievances, Du Toit said commuters' sentiments would be incorporated into efforts to improve the Metrorail train service.

"My good fellow men and women, I will investigate these challenges highlighted in the memorandum.

"These matters will be brought to the attention of the minister [Martins] and there will be a response to this gathering.

"I would not like to see any trains being burnt, whether it is the Gautrain or Metrorail trains. We want to ensure that your experience when travelling by train is a good one.

"The reason we travel is to make a contribution to this country," said Du Toit.

The crowd become agitated after transport department officials delayed meeting them. Some threatened to throw stones at the building.

Du Toit apologised for the delay.

- SAPA
Read more on:    metrorail  |  johannesburg  |  transport  |  protests  |  service delivery
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com 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
242 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Travel
 

LOL treadmill fail!

Watch this hilarious clip! We think this man should rather be running outside this summer!

 
 

I love summer.24

Google’s top searches of 2014
10 of the strangest Christmas traditions around the world
2014's best drone videos
7 drinks you need to make this party season

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

15% off LEGO

Save 15% when you buy 2 or more Lego toys. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Any chance to explore the distant shores of things yet to be found will fascinate you. The challenge is dealing with the issues...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

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 24.com network.

Settings

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.