Buses to res­cue city rail com­muters

Mbalula launches R1.1bn drive to res­cue ser­vices on Mabopane-Pre­to­ria line thwarted by ca­ble theft, van­dal­ism

Pretoria News - - METRO - JAMES MAHLOKWANE [email protected]

THE Pas­sen­ger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) is work­ing to pro­vide 80 buses to help stranded train com­muters be­tween sta­tions on the Mabopane-Pre­to­ria cor­ri­dor.

Trans­port Min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula made the an­nounce­ment yes­ter­day at the Mabopane Sta­tion dur­ing the launch of the R1.1 bil­lion re­cov­ery pro­gramme of the cor­ri­dor. The route has been un­der siege due to ex­ces­sive theft of ca­bles and van­dal­ism.

Mbalula went to the sta­tion with act­ing Prasa chief ex­ec­u­tive Zwe­lakhe Mayaba and Bongi­sizwe Mpondo, who was ap­pointed ad­min­is­tra­tor for the en­tity.

The min­is­ter was ap­plauded by train com­muters and other stake­hold­ers af­ter he fired the Prasa board.

Yes­ter­day, he said it was laugh­able that poor de­ci­sions led to a point whereby a cor­ri­dor as big as Mabopane-Pre­to­ria, which gen­er­ated over R2 mil­lion a month, was now dys­func­tional.

He said to show some­thing was just not right at Prasa, the en­tity was chang­ing board of di­rec­tors nu­mer­ous times a year.

In ad­di­tion, a poor de­ci­sion was made to get rid of se­cu­rity com­pa­nies that were guard­ing the in­fra­struc­ture.

How­ever, Mbalula said some of those se­cu­rity com­pa­nies had been ap­pointed il­le­gally and were in busi­ness with Prasa for a very long time.

He said some were founded by peo­ple with con­nec­tions who knew how to get them in bed with Prasa and rake in mil­lions.

Ac­cord­ing to Mbalula, some of the se­cu­rity com­pa­nies col­luded with crim­i­nals and cor­rupt Prasa staff to steal from the agency.

Some peo­ple within Prasa stole and sold ca­bles out­side the coun­try.

Mpondo had come in to fix the prob­lems Prasa was fac­ing and also find the crooks who had been run­ning the rail agency to the ground.

He said crim­i­nals within Prasa must be chased, ar­rested and pros­e­cuted. He added it made no sense that there were still no peo­ple ar­rested for all the wrong­do­ing that had hap­pened at Prasa.

In the mean­time, he as­sured the peo­ple of Mabopane that full ser­vices should re­sume to normal by April next year. “For now, the first phase is the re­cov­ery and re­vamp of the sta­tion and cor­ri­dor.”

Mbalula said he did not want peo­ple get­ting to the sta­tion only to get dis­ap­pointed by the lack of trains; they must stay away un­til Prasa an­nounced the readi­ness of the in­terim mea­sures to move them from sta­tion to sta­tion at normal train tick­ets prices.

“The peo­ple are say­ing give us what is due to us; we want to go to work. The govern­ment must act in the best in­ter­est of the peo­ple, not in the best in­ter­est of crooks.

“Let the crooks go to court we will meet them there. It is even scan­dalous that no­body has been ar­rested in Prasa for all what has hap­pened over the years.

“We’ve got a clear pro­gramme of re­cov­ery here and it is go­ing to need your sup­port to en­sure that as Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa said in his State of the Na­tion Ad­dress, by April next year, this place must have been fully re­ha­bil­i­tated.”

| THO­BILE MATHONSi African News Agency (ANA)

MIN­IS­TER of Trans­port Fik­ile Mbalula cross­ing the rail­way line dur­ing an en­gage­ment with the me­dia yes­ter­day where he out­lined plans to re­fur­bish the Mabopane-Pre­to­ria rail line.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.