Action SA president, Herman Mashaba says the management of South Africa’s failing and ageing passenger rail services must be decentralised to allow qualified provinces and metros to operate rail services within their areas to provide services to the communities that they serve.
Mashaba visited the derelict Greenview Train Station, in Mamelodi East, in Pretoria on Thursday.
He plans to ask Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula to investigate why the R102 million station is now derelict.
The station was built in 2011 but never occupied even though the railway track that passes the station still carries passenger trains.
— ActionSA (@Action4SA) April 29, 2021
The building of the Greenview Train station can be seen from afar, but close up, it is a dysfunctional shell with the roof, aluminium windows, door frames, steel, rail tracks and other trimmings stolen by criminals.
The station that promised so much to the Mpomolong community, next to it, delivered more poverty.
He says the private sector must also be given the opportunity to operate privatised rail services on the rail network. Mashaba says he was shocked when he heard about the Greenview Train Station.
“When I was told about this, I said it’s not possible. Though I’ve experienced, more especially looking at our infrastructure, how the ANC government has destroyed our infrastructure over the last 27 years. It’s actually quite criminal. As you’ve heard early on, we’ll take it up with Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula.”
The building of the Greenview Train Station was part of a R373-million investment of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) to double the rail tracks between Eerste Fabrieke and Greenview and upgrade the Mamelodi Gardens and Pienaarspoort stations.
Thabo Thobejane-Mphela is unemployed and has been living in an informal area adjoining the derelict station. He says if the project was finished it would have changed the lives of the community.
“It would have created jobs for us. It would have created a service for the community. Remember if the station works – it’s job opportunity for others,” says Thobejane-Mphela.
Thobejane-Mphela says the train station could have presented business opportunities for people and employment for cleaners and security guards.
He says community members often have to travel far to get transport.
“They go far, there is the last station there – Pienaarspoort. They are going there. They get robbed, they get raped. And especially now we are approaching winter, it will be difficult for them. But if the station was working, it was going to be easy,” adds Thobejane-Mphela .
Prasa indicated to SABC News they will only be able to comment later on the issue.
Mashaba says across South Africa, formerly functional train stations have followed the route of Greenview, having either been gutted by criminals or have fallen into disrepair.