Zuma takes train to assess public transport

2012-06-14 11:43


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Johannesburg - Dozens of schoolchildren rushed to see President Jacob Zuma as he embarked from a Metrorail train at the Rhodesfield station in Kempton Park on Thursday.

The presidential bodyguards pushed away the schoolchildren, restraining them from getting close to the president.

The evidently excited minors burst into a chorus of Zuma's signature song "Umshini wami", while dancing.

Zuma and his huge entourage, including ministers, disembarked from the train and went to the upper platform to board the Gautrain to Sandton.

SA National Defence Force and SA Police Service helicopters hovered over the train station and followed the Gautrain.

Zuma left Pretoria on Thursday morning on a packed Metrorail trail heading to Johannesburg.

Spoke to commuters

The president moved from one coach to the other, greeting and talking briefly to commuters.

He was with Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane - sharing jokes and laughing loudly.

Thousands of early train commuters jostled to catch a glimpse of the president, who was flanked by a heavy security detail.

Zuma had arrived at around 07:00 at Pretoria's main Bosman train station to begin his journey.

He went to buy his own train ticket.

On the train, commuters spoke emotionally regarding the "poor" train service to the president.

"We are struggling, president. The trains are always overloaded like this - this is how we survive," said one commuter.

"I am so glad I have seen the president for the first time. This is amazing," said another.

Many commuters took photographs of the president and the premier with their cellphones.

Zuma's tour, dubbed "The President's Monitoring Visit 2012" was an opportunity for him to assess public transport in Gauteng during rush hour.

Zuma and his entourage would end their train journey by Gautrain at Park Station in the Johannesburg CBD. From there they would ride on a Rea Vaya bus to Soweto.

- Were you there? Send us your photos.
Read more on:    nomvula mokonyane  |  jacob zuma  |  johannesburg  |  transport

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