Speed up probe into Mamelodi rail collision - new minister Mbalula's 'baptism of fire'

2019-06-02 19:45
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula (File, AFP)

Police Minister Fikile Mbalula (File, AFP)

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New Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula has instructed the Rail Safety Regulator to speedily investigate a rail collision in the Eerste Fabrieke Station in Mamelodi, Pretoria on Saturday.

"I have instructed the Railway Safety Regulator to prioritise its investigation of this collision. Once the investigation is done, we will report back to the victims and to the nation in due course. We will also outline steps that will be taken to deal with the cause of this collision," he said on Sunday.

Preliminary reports indicate that the Transnet contracted tamping machine collided with a new Metrorail train at Eerste Fabrieke station. Paramedics treated 11 people for serious injuries, while a further 39 were treated for slight injuries.

It is alleged that the tamping machine rolled from Greenview back to Eerste Fabrieke station where the Metrorail train was stationery with commuters on board.

A tamping machine rolls on wheels like a train and is used to tamp the track ballast under the railway track. 

He said that the incident was a baptism of fire for him just two days into leading the challenging portfolio. He took his oath of office on Thursday after being selected to serve in Cabinet by President Cyril Ramaphosa this week.

"Let me first express my well-wishes and speedy recovery to all passengers who were injured during this collision.  Personally, I am saddened by this incident. With only two days in the job, this is indeed a baptism of fire. It is a call to act and to act now. And that is exactly what I have done."

Mbalula said the rail network could not end up like the high level of road accidents in the country.

"Our rail network is slowly becoming the killing fields just like our road network. It is unacceptable."

train, tamping machine, mamelodi

A train and a tamping machine collide in Mamelodi. (Supplied)

He said he would meet all the transport rail and road entities to deal with the matter as priority.

"Time has come for new and fresh ideas to stop the carnage."

Mbalula urgently instructed the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) to submit a report on the incident regarding this incident.

He also called for support measures to the more than 40 injured through the Metrorail walk-in Centre.

He said deputy minister Dikeledi Magadzi would monitor the recovery progress of injured passengers to ensure that they receive further medical attention where necessary.

Read more on:    pretoria  |  transport
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