Transport Minister Blade Nzimande says the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) must account for the collision between two trains which happened at the Mountain View train station in Pretoria on Tuesday morning. Three people were killed and an estimated 300 others injured, 80 of them seriously.

A preliminary investigation has found that the cause of the collision is cable theft. It caused the signal system to start operating manually. Nzimande who visited the site of the collision late on Tuesday afternoon, has conveyed his condolences to the families of the deceased, saying he is  personally outraged.

He says Prasa has spent hundreds of millions of rands on security but it looks like this has no impact.

“I am demanding accountability this time. I sat with the chair of the board. I want an answer within the next few days as to what action is being taken to deal with security. From now onward no security company must get a tender from Prasa if it is not able to demonstrate what is can do. Otherwise we turn Prasa into an ATM. I’m sorry, but it’s not just an ATM, but people’s lives.”

The Rail Road Association says the person or persons who instructed the two trains to move on the same railway line must be held personally responsible. The association’s Chief Executive Officer Mesela Nhlapo says the directors of Prasa must also be held personally liable when people die in train crashes.

She says the Railway Safety Regulator Act stipulates that Prasa has the responsibility to transport commuters safely, but this is not happening.

 

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