Operations of Shosholoza Meyl, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s long distance train service, have been suspended.

This follows a collision between two trains in which one person was killed in Horizon View in Roodepoort in the west of Johannesburg last week.

The train was travelling from Cape Town to Johannesburg when it collided with a Transnet freight rail train.

The Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) halted the operations of Shosholoza Meyl after concluding its preliminary investigations into the collision.

RSR spokesperson Madelein Williams says they found that both trains were manually authorised but were not countersigned by section managers.

Williams says, “Here, we expect a manager to provide supervision to ensure that the authority given is indeed correct and this was not done. This is a serious contravention of a Special Condition that was issued to PRASA by the RSR when they were issued with their current temporary operating permit. According to this Special Condition, all manual authorisations must be countersigned by the section managers.”

Cosatu leads march for a reliable commuter rail system

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) lead a march in Cape Town on Thursday morning to highlight its demand for a reliable and affordable commuter rail system.

Cosatu Provincial Chairperson Motlatse Tsubane says they have had several meetings with the relevant stakeholders to raise their unhappiness about the state of public transport in the province.

He says they also submitted their demands through the National Economic Development and Labour Council.

“Prasa (Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa) cannot address its problems on its own because it’s a systematic problem. Therefore government must come on board and deal with that situation. A certificate has been issued to us. We are marching to the City of Cape Town, we are marching to Prasa, up to the provincial government and Parliament where we will hand over our memorandum,” says Tsubane.

#UniteBehind in full support of the march

Civil society coalition #UniteBehind came out in support of the march. It says the central line has been out of commission since last year, forcing commuters to depend on expensive alternative transport.

The coalition says a properly functioning commuter rail system is crucial to building the economy.

 

Teenagers arrested in connection to arson

Meanwhile, Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula announced the arrest of two people in connection with the arson of trains in Cape Town. The two suspects are reportedly teenagers.

WATCH | Two arrested in connection with the arson of trains in Cape Town:

Additional reporting by Chris Mabuya.