Prasa trains will operate as usual despite intended suspension

2018-10-07 17:43
(File, Jenni Evans)

(File, Jenni Evans) (Jenni Evans (Screengrab))

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Commuters can breathe a sigh of relief after Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) announced that they will continue to operate, despite a potential suspension by the Rail Safety Regulator (RSR).

"Prasa wishes to apologise to the commuters for any uncertainty that may have been caused by the [announcement of a potential] suspension of the Safety Permit," Prasa spokesperson Nana Zenani said on Sunday.

She assured commuters that there will be no interruption to the train service; Metrorail and long-distance passenger services will run as normal as a result of an interim court order.

On Friday, the regulatory body communicated its intention to revoke Prasa’s safety permit because of a train-to-train collision on October 4 near Van Riebeeck Station in Kempton Park during manual authorisation.

"The decision by the Prasa Board and management to approach the courts was not arrived at lightly," Zenani said.

"Prasa sought to engage RSR to reconsider its decision and rather confine the suspension to the corridor when the accident took place."

She added that a meeting between Prasa and the RSR, led by Prasa chairperson Khanyisile Kweyama, did not yield any results. Thus, Prasa was forced to proceed with a court application.

The initial suspension announcement alerted City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee member for transport Brett Herron, who called on transport minister Dr Blade Nzimande to declare the rail services a state of emergency.

"My call on the Minister for him to consider the powers he has to bring an emergency response is clearly required," he said.

"Emergency funds and fast-tracking procurement for critical services is what is needed. It is the appropriate response to the scale and urgency of the problem."

Nzimande had previously refused to declare a state of emergency and accused the Democratic Alliance (DA) of trying to score political points.

"This call by the DA is dishonest, opportunistic and political manoeuvring that seeks to exploit the dire situation confronting rail services in the Western Cape," Nzimande said.

"I rebut this political posturing in the strongest terms."

Read more on:    metrorail  |  prasa  |  transport

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