Rail accidents increasing as ‘Prasa loses focus’

One of the PRASA newly aquired AFRO4000 locomotives at the Pretoria Central Station on 13 July 2015. Picture: Christine Vermooten

The DA has accused Prasa of focusing on other things while its rail infrastructure ‘is falling apart’.

The Democratic Alliance on Sunday called on the KwaZulu-Natal transport department to conduct a full and thorough investigation into last week’s head-on collision between two commuter trains in Lamontville, south of Durban.

The crash left 130 commuters injured, but no deaths were reported.

“This is the second serious train collision to take place in KZN in the past ten days,” DA MPL and spokesperson Rafeek Shah said.

On June 17, a train and a truck crashed near Pinetown, leaving 11 people injured. In both instances, “operational faults” had been cited as the cause of the accidents, he said.

The DA was extremely concerned by the events of the past few days, given the many thousands of KwaZulu-Natal commuters who relied on train transportation every day. At the heart of the issue was the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) Metrorail’s focus on other matters while the province’s rail infrastructure and assets “are falling apart”.

“This includes ongoing shenanigans within Prasa’s top management, administrative bungling around the acquisition of new rolling stock, and recent media reports of a R51 billion contract with the Chinese to supply train engines,” Shah said.

It was time that the KwaZulu-Natal transport department, under new MEC Xolisi Kaunda, got tough on the issue of commuter safety. Many of the rail commuters injured this month would have been breadwinners. The DA therefore called on the department to assist the victims of both accidents and their families as much as possible.

The DA was committed to monitoring the outcome of investigations into both accidents and to holding the department accountable for its mandate, which was to provide the people of KwaZulu-Natal with an affordable, efficient, and safe transport system, Shah said.
– African News Agency (ANA)




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