Transnet-Prasa problem sorted out

2010-10-22 16:35

Johannesburg – The impasse between Transnet and the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) was "ironed out" in Pretoria on Friday, the transport ministry said.

"Prasa and Transnet are working on a plan to ensure that Shosholoza Meyl is back on track as soon as possible," Minister S'bu Ndebele said in a statement.

"As government, the provision of safe, reliable and efficient public transport is a priority and the interests of passengers are paramount."

Ndebele and Public Enterprises Minister Barbara Hogan met with officials from Prasa and Transnet on Friday morning after a long-standing rail dispute escalated on Thursday night.

Ndebele said the meeting was "constructive".

Poorly managed

In its annual financial report, Prasa said it had "inherited from Transnet a business that was poorly-managed, neglected and whose financial management systems and internal controls were non-existent and certainly did not meet acceptable record keeping principles".

Transnet denied this, with its spokesperson Mboniso Sigonyela saying that when Prasa suspended Shosholoza Meyl on August 13, it had not informed them.

Transnet accused Prasa of owing it around R1.3bn. Prasa's CEO Lucky Montana in turn accused Transnet of charging too much and doing a poor job in maintaining its locomotives.

Shosholoza Meyl was transferred from Transnet to Prasa early last year. Sigonyela said Shosholoza Meyl's poor service levels had not changed significantly since Prasa had taken over the service.

He also denied that Transnet Rail Engineering had refused to carry out work on Prasa locomotives. Prasa announced earlier this week it was restarting the Shosholoza Meyl service, but on a reduced scale.