PRASA must pay for allowing passengers on unsafe trains - DA

BY CHARL BOSCH - OCTOBER 16, 2015

The Democratic Alliance (DA) has accused the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) of recklessness after it was discovered that the beleaguered rail parastatal, allowed passengers to travel on trains pulled by its controversial R600-million Afro 4000 diesel locomotives.

Speaking in a statement, party Shadow Minister of Transport, Manny de Freitas, said the rail provider had clearance from the Rail Safety Regulator (RSR) to run the trains for testing purposes, but with no passengers on-board as none of the 13 units, bought from Spanish manufacturer Vossloh Espana, had the necessary documents.

“The regulator, in fact, only granted “test” clearance certificates to the trains, whereas, in order to carry passengers, they should have “operational” certificates.

“An operational certificate is only granted when the RSR is completely convinced that the locomotive is safe. After the recent accident, it is clear that these trains are unsafe and hazardous to the lives of South Africans,” de Freitas said, referring to the controversy surrounding the locos’ height clearance and one unit being destroyed in an accident near Kimberly two months.

He also stated that the party would be submitting an application for Transport Minister Dipuo Peters to have PRASA pay the penalty “for such a gross violation and acting outside the law”.