Union upset over blame for torched trains
Johannesburg - The SA Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Satawu) lashed out at the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) on Thursday for accusing it of torching six trains in Johannesburg.
In a statement, Satawu said it was against any kind of criminal activity and for Prasa to implicate it in arson was a direct attack on the union.
The union had protested peacefully and did not condone any burning of trains, said Satawu general secretary Zenzo Mahlangu. "We publicly call on the police to investigate the matter and take appropriate action against the perpetrators," he said.
Prasa said on Thursday that six trains were torched on Wednesday by striking workers. The arsonists were incited by the trade union, it said. Five men had been arrested for starting the fires.
The union said Prasa's allegations deflected attention away from its own mismanagement.
It called for a probe of Prasa's books for the past five years and for an investigation of corruption allegations against its management.
"The violation of supply chain systems has resulted in the depletion of rolling stock materials [train sets components]," Mahlangu said.
This situation had compelled Prasa to strip components from train sets and use them to fix other trains sets and keep them in operation, he said.
"This disingenuous and obvious attempt to dissuade us reinforces our belief that the reluctance displayed by the Prasa board to look into this matter is part of their big cover up."
Using the union as a scapegoat would not stop the rot within, Mahlangu said.
He called on members to behave impeccably and not give Prasa cause for blame.