The two new trains launched in Cape Town recently, which are hoped to lessen the transport burden for commuters, are expected to be operational within the next three months. The trains were launched on April 9, but the Democratic Alliance (DA) now claims that the ceremony was nothing more than an electioneering ploy because they are yet to leave the station.

The DA also says adding new trains to the stock will not solve the poor public transport situation, if the entire system is not managed better.

The transport ministry has hit back, saying the DA’s comments are nothing more than an act of desperation ahead of the election.

These two new trains had been marketed as part of Prasa’s new rolling stock for the fleet renewal programme. The prototypes will be duplicated over the next few years, increasing the fleet.

This with the hope of alleviating some of the public’s transport woes.

Currently, there is not much faith in the country’s railway and public transport system and there have been questions about why these two trains are not yet being used. However, Transport minister Blade Nzimande says the DA’s claims that the launch was just part of an electioneering scheme, are false. He says the trains have to be tested before being put into use.

“From next week, we will start testing them. Prasa will start testing them, that’s what you do when you bring a new train. We did that here in Gauteng, it’s done, its normal international standard under the supervision of rail safety regulations. That takes a couple of months; two, three months.”

Western Cape Premier candidate for the DA, Alan Winde, says even the introduction of the two new trains, makes no meaningful difference to members of the public. Winde says that the entire system is broken.

Nzimande says only once the rail regulator has compiled a report signing off on the safety of the trains, they will be put on the tracks.