Rail accidents: Nedlac asked to help

2012-07-14 14:40

Johannesburg - Fedusa will ask Nedlac to consider additional measures to curb accidents at railway crossings, the trade union said on Saturday.

This is after 26 people were killed when a train hit a truck full of farm workers in Mpumalanga on Friday.

The truck had been carrying the workers on the N4 between Malelane and Hectorspruit.

The train hit the truck and then dragged it for about 200m and there were bodies with limbs missing scattered on the ground.

"We will ask the executive director Mr Alistar Smith, to reconstitute the Nedlac [National Economic Development and Labour Council] standing committee to consider additional measures and steps to prevent these unnecessary and avoidable accidents from happening," the Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) general secretary Dennis George said in a statement. He said there had been a rise in fatalities due to accidents on railway crossings with 45 deaths between 2010 and 2011.

In 2009, Fedusa filed a Section 77 in terms of the Labour Relations Act with Nedlac. "Fedusa asked the authorities for their urgent intervention to ensure the safety of pedestrians and motorists at railway level crossings are secured," said George.

Reacting to the Mpumalanga accident, President Jacob Zuma on Friday said he was shocked and saddened by the news.

Public Enterprise Minister Malusi Gigaba believed the accident illustrated the dangers of irresponsible driving, which allegedly caused the crash.

He urged law enforcement agencies to address the root cause of the crash. Congress of SA Trade Unions spokesperson Patrick Craven said the accident was an example of poor labour practices.

The department of transport said it was gravely concerned about fatal crashes at rail crossings, which was why some crossings were now being monitored via closed circuit television cameras.

  • patsy.smith.125 - 2012-07-14 15:12

    I have not driven over a railway line for many years. However, in those days there were always booms which, I presume, were activated into barring the road by approaching trains, and also warning lights flashing. Does that no longer apply. If not, WHY not?

      Thato Okonkwo Fakudze - 2012-07-14 16:18

      Those booms are gone! They were too expensive to maintain, all that went to building Etolls

      kathleen.whiteley.7 - 2012-07-14 16:36

      Both points taken. The simplest and perhaps the long term cheapest solution is an overhead bridge. These exist between Sabie and Nelspruit (where rail traffic has ceased) but not between Lydenburg and Belfsst (where it is active)

      Lacrimose - 2012-07-14 18:20

      Booms stolen for firewood, equipment controlling the booms stolen and/vandalised.

  • michael.i.wright - 2012-07-14 15:26

    Just what measures do they believe will be useful in stopping idiots from driving in front of trains? Blame labour practices? What are employers meant to do? Test the stupidity level of their workers every morning with a dip stick? The cameras at level crossings might help if you fit big screen television at said crossings that replay the footage of the previous six idiots who played chicken with a train.

      Klaus - 2012-07-14 19:06

      Reminds me of that stubborn Donkey who parked himself on railway line, muttering i am not going to move, i am not going to move - nothing is going to move me - guess what ?

  • gaby.hide.3 - 2012-07-14 15:46

    In the short term, all level crossing roads should simply be closed. It is obvious that some drivers are just too stupid. In the longer term, the lawlessness of taxi drivers needs to be tackled. More and more drivers are simply following their lead.

  • sharon.erwin.96 - 2012-07-14 15:55

    This is not the first such accident! Preventative measures should have been implemented earlier. As far as drivers are concerned, they can get away with beating the train only so many times - the driving in SA is diabolical, to say the least. Couple that with failing rail security, and you have a sure recipe for disaster.

  • johnnie.vercuil - 2012-07-14 15:56

    Get rid of the bloody accident behind the steering wheel.

  • Anakin - 2012-07-14 18:00

    NEDLAC and FEDUSA?? What are THEY going do about this?'s time that the Rail Safety Regulator (RSR) and Transnet start to DO SOMETHING about these incidents, besides putting up CCTV at rail crossings (it won't prevent another accident, it will just record yet another incident). WHEN can we look forward to see those BRIDGES for motor vehicles OVER ALL railway crossings? What about the MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT? What are they going to ACTUALLY DO this (instead of just investigating and being obscure). Yes, at the start it will costly, but if we can build big soccer stadiums (elephants) with tonnes of concrete, why not proper bridges over these dangerous crossings. Forget about the booms and flashing lights and horns, it simply doesn't work. At railway crossings where it can't be done access must be permanently blocked for motor vehicles and diverted to a safe BRIDGE crossing. Why is this so extremely difficult to understand and just DO ?? It's incumbent on TRANSNET and the MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT to implement preventative measures, it's not FEDUSA's or NEDLAC's job. STOP trying to turn it into a political football and just BUILD THE BRIDGES.

  • renier.lubbe.7 - 2012-07-14 18:07

    I know that in some areas there are many level-crossings close to each other and it might have ramifications but what about dropping the speed of trains when they approach level crossings. The stupidity of some drivers in our country are going to take a very long time to be rectified therefore other means of preventing the death of people at level crossings need to be found.

  • Lacrimose - 2012-07-14 18:25

    What happened to STOP, look left, look right, look left again before crossing a 4-way stop or at any other uncontrolled crossing? If those simple actions were taken and the driver decided he could still out-dice a train, well at the very least there are some depth-perception, eye-test issues there. Definitely some rational mind issues too.

  • Dorothy Mmabarwe Kgobe - 2012-07-14 20:11

    The government always wait for a wakeup call,it's about time they start fixing SA roads signs it's a disaster.

      Lacrimose - 2012-07-14 20:55

      Road signs are good but either not understood or ignored. If you are on a road where a railway line crosses are you, as a sane and rational person with no eyesight problems, just going to keep driving without checking for an oncoming train? Sign or no sign. It is ASTOUNDING to me how the casting about for blame is going on. The road user at all times must be AWARE

  • leon.vanderlinde.14 - 2012-07-14 21:28

    Traffic laws are for white people only. That is the view of black people. This is the truth. Spoken to many black people from all levels of society. They don't view traffic rules or traffic signs as sfaety measures. Until we can get it into their heads what it is for, we will have carnage on the roads.

  • jo.vankatwijk - 2012-07-14 23:18

    I checked the area on Google Street View and there are 4 or 5 such level crossings from the N4 over the railway line and then to the farms. They only have a triangular info sign with a train on it and stop signs. No warning lights and no booms. Some of these crossings are near trees, making the railway line difficult to see. Surely the train should have sounded the hooter? I cannot imagine what the last thoughts of those labourers were when they saw the train.

  • tony.vanniekerk.35 - 2012-07-15 17:08

    It is simple. You stop, look left, look righ, look left again,if nothing is coming, you cross. We learnt that in grade one at school. You cannot legislate against stupidity.

  • Mandy Casey - 2012-07-15 17:09

    Drive through a stop street. Drive through a red robot. You know what can happen. Drive through a crossing - with train right there - really bad idea.

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