Plans to pro­tect train in­fra­struc­ture ‘on track’

The New Age (Gauteng) - - POLITICS - DEN­NIS CRUYWAGEN news@the­newage.co.za

SOUTH Africa’s trains, which are mostly used by the work­ing class, have be­come the tar­gets of forces, which from time to time “burn our trains for rea­sons known only to them”.

Ex­am­ples of this sort of van­dal­ism Trans­port Min­is­ter Joe Maswan­ganyi said, have oc­curred in the West­ern Cape and at Nance­field sta­tion in Gaut­eng.

Speak­ing to the trans­port port­fo­lio com­mit­tee about state cap­ture yes­ter­day, Maswan­ganyi also an­swered ques­tions about the func­tion­al­ity of the Pas­sen­ger Rail Agency of South Africa.

He said he had raised the mat­ter of se­cu­rity on trains with his Cab­i­net col­league, Po­lice Min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula.

At Nance­field, he said, the sta­tion was given a R12m re­vamp. “The day we fin­ished ev­ery­thing was van­dalised overnight and R12m went down.”

De­spite these at­tacks on trains and rail in­fra­struc­ture, he said, the de­part­ment was com­mit­ted. “We be­lieve we have to pro­vide a re­li­able metro trail be­cause most of our peo­ple rely on it as a means of trans­port.”

In the West­ern Cape, he said, there was a car­tel that was deal­ing in cop­per wires. In the prov­ince R8m was go­ing to be spent to im­prove rail ser­vices. Train sets that had been set alight would also be re­turned to ser­vice.

“We be­lieve we are go­ing to bring back not less than 60 sets on rail.”

As part of im­prov­ing the train ser­vice in the West­ern Cape, a high wall will also be erected be­tween rail­way lines and some com­mu­ni­ties.

“There are forces which burn our trains for rea­sons known only to them. There are ar­eas where we are go­ing to erect a wall to de­ter peo­ple.”

He also briefed the port­fo­lio com- mit­tee on the steps taken to carry out re­me­dial ac­tion as pro­posed by for­mer pub­lic pro­tec­tor Thuli Madon­sela in her re­port about the Pas­sen­ger Rail Agency of South Africa called De­railed, which was re­leased in Au­gust 2015.

In her re­port, Madon­sela flagged 38 trans­ac­tions, which to­gether to­talled R3.5bn. She asked that these trans­ac­tions be probed. Madon­sela also urged for­mer Prasa CEO Lucky Mon­tana and other func­tionar­ies be in­ves­ti­gated.

Joe Maswan­ganyi

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