Rail boss decries destructive 'culture'

2012-10-12 22:11

Pretoria - Passenger Rail Agency of SA rail CEO Mosenngwa Mofi on Friday condemned the setting alight of two trains by rowdy commuters in Mabopane, north of Pretoria because of delays caused by bad weather.

"Let's be honest, this is a culture issue. In this country, when people vent anger they resort to destroying the very same assets that they will need the next day," he said.

"We cannot tolerate this. It is not acceptable. If it means people are going to suffer in the process, then let it be. We have been very soft on these incidents."

He said the rail agency was going to deal with the Mabopane vandalism "decisively".

"You cannot torch a train that takes you to work everyday. This means we now have two trains out of the system, and you can imagine the level of overcrowding," he said.

Mofi said trains had been withdrawn because of infrastructure damage. He said it would cost about R70m to repair damage caused by the torching of the trains.

The withdrawal of the train service would affect more than 60 000 daily commuters in the area.

Mofi said Prasa was offering a R50 000 reward to members of the public who volunteered information leading to the successful conviction of those responsible for the arson.

"We will also be conducting a board of inquiry into the matter. It will not only look at the incident itself, but the circumstances around the incidents," he said.

Problems had hounded Metrorail operations in the Mabopane area, said Mofi.

"A few weeks ago there were service delivery protests that had nothing to do with trains, but we were victims there. Our tracks and overheads [cables] were burnt," he said.

Regarding the continuation of service to the turbulent area, Mofi said "there is no way that the rail service will operate in that specific corridor".

He urged the commuters to make their own plans for alternative transport, such as buses and taxis.

Mofi said the trains were torched at Kopanong station and at Akasia.

Both trains were en route to Mabopane from Koedoespoort station, east of Pretoria.

He said trains were running "extremely late" on Thursday because of rain. The situation was exacerbated by the old Metrorail infrastructure.

"A lightning strike had resulted in a power failure, affecting control panels and overhead power," he said.

"It must be appreciated that we run our rail operations with old infrastructure, which is prone to constant failure."

Meanwhile, Metrorail said train ticket-holders in Mabopane will be refunded.

Only monthly ticket holders would be reimbursed, said Gauteng Metrorail provincial manager Tembela Kulu.

"We have a system in place and commuters know it. When we withdraw a service, we have a system for monthly [ticket-holders]," she said.

"As for weekly [ticket-holders], their tickets will end on Sunday and the refund is not for them."

The company said it was not being "punitive" to the community, but circumstances had gone beyond its control.

"The reality is that we can't just run the service. It's now beyond our control to run it," she said.

  • thabani.dube.988 - 2012-10-12 22:24

    Brace yourselves for a lot worse once Prince Julius ascends the throne.

      christopher.shining - 2012-10-12 22:31

      What throne? does king goodwill know about this? I think someone should tell him, see how that little boy handles the King...He would not make his 32nd birthday...One can only hope

      christelle.james.7 - 2012-10-12 23:06

      "Let's be honest, this is a culture issue. In this country, when people vent anger they resort to destroying the very same assets that they will need the next day," he said. Thanks God it was not a white person who said this. And in hearing that - what the hell are we actually doing in this country - I just have to ask myself that question when I read this sh@t.

      christelle.james.7 - 2012-10-13 00:56

      Lacrimose - you seem to have forgotten about the throne we all use everyday - and that is the only throne he will "de"scend to!

      thabani.dube.988 - 2012-10-13 02:25

      @lacrimose what democracy? Holding elections regularly to promote looting of state funds and dragging the country to abyss is democracy? In a democracy there should be less corruption, nepotism and people must abide by the rule of law, respect of life and property. Anyone listening? Its like Im talking to myself because its all utopia.

      clive.kihn - 2012-10-13 09:27

      Lacrimose, the tearful one: Don't you know that the Zulu king alone costs the taxpayer - are you one? - many millions every year? Our democracy is a tarnished one, in which about 4000 toyi-toying ANC members, in effect, choose our president and govt. Until the electoral system is changed, we are only a democracy of sorts.

      glen.e.huysamer - 2012-10-13 13:00

      What King? Goodwill? He is now a prince or something. Zuma has become the New KIng of the Zulu's his palace is bigger his harem over flowing, what can Prince Goodwill do about it?

  • lskosana3 - 2012-10-12 22:30

    Hope those thugs learn a lesson from this, just feel sorry for the thousands of other commuters who had nothing to do with this but will now suffer

      blip.noodlum - 2012-10-12 22:52

      The only lesson they'll have learnt is how much sheer fun it had been to set a train on fire.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-10-12 22:52

      ..and lose their jobs and/or get docked wages for not arriving or arriving late. Which means less bucks at the end of the month to spend. Which means stores and traders suffer, which means suppliers and producers suffer. When will people understand Ubuntu in its complete sense?

      christelle.james.7 - 2012-10-13 00:43

      Iskosana, the ones suffering under the stupidity of some, should start making a stand against them.

      koos.meyer.52 - 2012-10-13 09:29

      Its called the African self-destruct button! Mugabe pressed it 13 years ago.

      lskosana3 - 2012-10-13 11:49

      The problem here is that these hooligans know that there are never any consequences for such behaviour, our president doesn't give a sh#t

  • adrian.hill.750 - 2012-10-12 22:32

    Bananna Republic

  • matt.cumming.77 - 2012-10-12 22:42

    Its good to see a black man say this. As it seems to be within black culture to resort to violence. Look around. Its a stereotype, but they are often closer to the truth than we like to admit.

      JohncarlosBiza - 2012-10-13 09:07

      It's not a culture thing, it's a class thing. Working class people / the masses tend to produce a higher rate of stupidity per capita regardless of how they look like

  • Erna - 2012-10-12 22:42

    It's about time that there are some serious consequences for this type of behaviour. And all the president and his pals are doing is 'addressing meetings' and condemning his followers' behaviour via his 'spokesperson'! And all the cops can say is that no arrests have been made.

      lacrimose.wolf - 2012-10-12 22:54

      There are no consequences, ever, for the people who are supposed to govern the country. There are only, always, consequences for the people who are trying to live their day-to-day lives

  • rontheogre - 2012-10-12 22:42

    Mosenngwa Mofi, you are a brave man for saying it like it is. The same goes for the idiots that burnt the trucks that they need to start driving next week. When a company is forced to go into liquidation due to these losses suffered, or the infrastructure or equipment they destroyed is needed by them, the same indignant crowd will again march to complain against the unfairness of the employer or service provider. I would appreciate it if these same people will protest against their own stupidity by smashing their own heads against a wall and setting themselves alight.

  • blip.noodlum - 2012-10-12 22:50

    "We will make the country ungovernable" (O.R.Tambo, 1985.) Looks like it's the one promise the ANC has actually delivered on.

  • norman.buchalter - 2012-10-12 23:40

    Nice words. Hold them accountable ... if you can find the arsonists. Do you really think that the illiterate users know the difference between what is owned by government, municipal or provincial bodies, by NGO's or what is privately owned? Yes, there is a terrible culture of destroy anything - vent your anger on the nearest "thing" that is a symbol of authority. Even I must admit that I don't know who owns what anymore, but that doesn't give me the right to torch and destroy, What's happened to the culture started years ago by the PAC, ANC, Women's league etc, of marching to protest and delivering memoranda to the representatives of the relevant bodies? Come on Arch, show the people how to march peaceably and achieve their aims by reasonable , peaceful acts of protest. Otherwise, everyone loses.

  • - 2012-10-12 23:52

    R 70mil for replacing the trains, R 50 000 reward and wortst of all a "board of inquiry" another R 10mil or so.(Depending who wants how much out of it.) If they do catch these idiots, it's another good couple of hundreds of thousands to convict them. If they are found to be guilty 2 years later, they might go to jail where they stay for free!!! I just wonder who will pay for all this. I would love to start a bussines doing "enquiries" for our government... Oops, I can't. BEE stands in my way!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • nkadimeng - 2012-10-13 00:39 running trains on delapidated infrustructure? Thing is, you do not listen, the collapse of same did not happen over night, it has taken many years to deteriorate to this level. Many people have already lost their jobs as a result of the unreliability of the system. And yes, maybe you right by saying its a cultural thing, just as not sticking to times.

  • nico.leroux1 - 2012-10-13 04:13

    I agree! It is a culture issue. Including rape, theft and murder! Spot on!

  • jacob.molife - 2012-10-13 04:48

    Thats malema's idea of 'idea -of-democracy'. Destroying the economy.

  • jacob.molife - 2012-10-13 04:48

    Thats malema's idea of 'idea -of-democracy'. Destroying the economy.

      jacob.molife - 2012-10-13 07:07

      Spoiled brats kick n break izitsha to get attention. Never succeed in life. They end up killing their parents fo attention. Stupido!

      jacob.molife - 2012-10-13 07:07

      Spoiled brats kick n break izitsha to get attention. Never succeed in life. They end up killing their parents fo attention. Stupido!

  • dennis.vermaak.5 - 2012-10-13 04:49

    And this is what the anc type of "democracy" has produced !!

  • ben.lantz1 - 2012-10-13 06:17

    I have noticed over the past years,that these "cultures"are being manipukated by the people who stand to benefit from such situations.Maybe the taxi bosses will benefit from this one?????????????

      ben.lantz1 - 2012-10-13 06:24

      sorry manipulated big fingers and K and L next to each other,O by the way,the biggest manipulator is J.Z.getting J.M. to do what he intended ,but cannot be seen to do it himself

      allan.hagan.3 - 2012-10-13 08:51

      You hit it on the head. Actually throughout the world, many things have been manipulated. I just wish many more would wake up and see the truth!!! As we have been lied to for a very long time.

  • rayno.grever - 2012-10-13 06:44

    Culture vulture

  • kenneth.kgosi - 2012-10-13 06:44

    Bad Culture indeed.....dis is a restless generation of de struggle 'expect nothing less. My poor beloved country down de drain it goes ...Ohh lord pls rembr yo promise to restore us..

  • Steven Trollip - 2012-10-13 07:10

    let the f@ckers walk

  • peter.mokoena.31 - 2012-10-13 07:11

    Moral regeration needed. Disgusting attitude. It like biting the hands that feeds u. A friend of was involved in an accident involving a taxi, 5 people deceased, apparently the decesead and the injured were searched and pickpocket by supposed to be helpers, bags ransacked and cellphones stolens, not a care in the world of how the people will contact their next of kin. Is that the culture?

  • stefan.debeer.5 - 2012-10-13 07:17

    I fully agree with your stance on the issue! Well done, sir.

  • mrtinyiko.matsambu - 2012-10-13 07:26

    A 'destructive culture' they inherited from APLA and MK. Thanks, they don't bomb churches and bars like their forefathers.

  • sasekile - 2012-10-13 07:57

    Let this be a lesson to would be vandalisers, let them feel the heat. More money to spend on transport and less on essentials. Feel sorry for the law abiding citizens who were not there when it happened, who could have done something to stop the vandals

  • winifred.watson.9 - 2012-10-13 08:12

    Exactly, this is what we have been telling you all the time. Employees get away with far too much when the strike and its time for them now to feel the consequences. They strike for schools, give them schools at a drop of the hat they burn the school down, This is not a culture thing we are living in 2012 not in the dark ages. If this is the mentality of the workers then they dont deserve a job they need to go back to their grass roots and continue to live the way their mentality allows them to live. Unless, government or the law now acts very strongly on this type of thing, then it will only continue. The strikers see others get away with burn burn trash trash and they follow like sheep. Hold both the Union and the Strikers responsible for any damage during a strike and you will see an end to violence. If damages say amount to R5OO 000. the Union must pay up R300 000 and the strikers must lose part of the increase to pay off the balance of R200 000. So if the get a 10% increase, then they only receive 7% the balance goes to pay for their damage to property. The Union to pay up front for the damages and they can collect the miners part by increasing their dues by 3% of miners increase. South African is not going forward the people are going backward we cant allow this.

  • Gcwabe-KaMavovo - 2012-10-13 08:38

    How on earth do these people reason? Tomorrow they'll be complaining that there are no trains in SA, when they in fact have shot not only themselves in the foot, but also cost us as taxpayers R70m. This country will never get anywhere until we sort out such mindsets. The way we protest in this country is utterly appalling.

  • andrew.mackie.90 - 2012-10-13 08:49

    This culture was part of the ANC tactics way back and now the country is suffering the consequences of destroying property when people are frustrsted. Had the masses been educated maybe this sort of action would not take place. They do not realize such destuctive attitudes only brings on more frustration due to shortages of rolling stock, not to mention cost increases as a result of high replacement costs. The country is burning and Zuma is building bunkers at his home, at tax payer expense. So put the in your pipe and smoke it.

  • hennie.deruyter - 2012-10-13 09:27

    I condemn this train burning. However.... This corridor carries more people than the Gautrain. Many other Metrorail route have lost a lot of passengers due to better alternatives such as taxis and Rea Vaya. The Metrorail route between Randfontein and Jozi runs empty trains in peak hour... When they do actually run. On tracks with an original speed limit of 90km/h 'temporary' speed limits of 15km/h is posted. Every so oftem some minister talks of new trains and new signalling system. None of this ever happened since the talking started 20 years ago. We have here an asset many times the size of Gautrain but it has been entirely neglected. What is needed is modern metro trainsets and an entire refurbishment of catenary and signalling. It used to take 20 minutes on an express train between Kempton Park and Joburg. Some of these old Metrorail tracks had a speed limit of 172km/h long ago. As for burning trainsets: after 30 years of using these trains, suffering the extreme frustration of major delays day after day, missing trains because of unannounced platform changes and then waiting 2 hours for the next one, for ever apologizing at work day after day and spending dark hours in broken down trains, walking home 30 kms I can only say: This system has failed us. Not all of us can afford cars.

      hennie.deruyter - 2012-10-13 09:40

      Posted limit was 160km/h. The Metroblitz was allowed 172km/h when late. This is on the narrow guage track between Jhb and Pta. Despite running a much lnger route it took as long as the Gautrain.

  • bibi.vanzyl - 2012-10-13 09:31

    Next week they will burn tyres on the national roads, destroy other expensive public property because they do not have enough trains. Etc etc.

  • bibi.vanzyl - 2012-10-13 09:38

    There is no real democracy in SA. When you cannot elect your own president it is not democracy. Not all citizens have equal rights, it is all race based. The government is keeping the masses uneducated and poor because it suits their political agenda. @CliceK, yes that fat useless (I mean what DOES he do) earns 59million per year. He is a traditional king for f*&k sake. I would like to see a comparison in rand value what the government wasted through thieving and corruption under the diffirent presidents.

  • Maduvha Mukusha - 2012-10-13 10:06

    Stop hiding behind culture Mr CEO, people have been crying even during President Zuma's visit to train stations, but you are doing nothing about it. Taking the poor black South Africans for a ride!!!

      emile.marais - 2012-10-13 10:47

      If you feel that you have been taken for a ride, why don't you protest outside the Department of Transport and make your grievance known in a civilized manner?

      maduvha.mukusha - 2012-10-13 12:16

      Have you ever use Metrorail for starters?? Where are the offices of Transport?? Who at the office of transport must accept the memorandum?? Stop complicating things, you know it's easy for you to comment because you are on the other side.

      hennie.deruyter - 2012-10-13 13:10

      @Emile Which train do you catch? The Gautrain where they apologize when trains are 20 minutes late. Most Metrorail passengers rejoice when trains are only 20 minutes late. I have heard people complaining about how disgusting full the Gautrain is at Sandton. Do you know what 'climb the tree' means? It is when the train is so full that people stand on the seats to make more room. Black people in general has been very, very patient over the years with Metrorail. I recall days where it took 9 hours to get home. I have spend a night in a broken train between Mayfair and Grosvenor. The doors was locked. No toilet. On another occasion after spending 2 hours between Park and Braamfontein I got out and walked... And got arrested. Only 3 weeks ago I tried to travel from Witpoortjie to Park. Took 4 hours. Give it a try. Metrorail will get you there. Noma kanjani, no matter what, even if it take long. I wonder how many people lost jobs because of late trains. Must be many.

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