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By Citizen Reporter

Journalist


DA Gauteng says Prasa is losing over R170m per year due to vandalism

'The government needs to rescue the situation before we have no train service at all,' says MP Mike Waters.


The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng says the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) loses R170 million a year due to vandalism at its rail services in the province.

In a statement on Monday, DA MP Mike Waters said over 672,000 daily train commuters have been left stranded by the collapse of train services in the province, while 1,833 incidents of train stations have been vandalised over the past three years at a replacement cost in excess of R2 billion.

Waters said in addition to the 800 daily trips in Gauteng, 585 daily trips have been cancelled due to vandalism, resulting in a daily financial loss to Prasa of R672,570 or R173,186,640 per year.

“Railway services are a vital artery for our economy and getting people to work and places of opportunity in what is supposed to be a safe and affordable mode of transport,” he said.

He continued to say: “Commuters across Gauteng are being affected equally. In the east of Gauteng, 106 daily train trips have been reduced to 36 (34%) leaving the 285,375 daily commuters with no trains between Daveyton to Dunswart, Germiston to Johannesburg, Elandsfontein to Germiston, Johannesburg and Germiston to Kwesine.”

“In the west of Gauteng, 306 daily train trips have been reduced to 100 (33%), leaving their 230,654 daily commuters with no trains between Vereeniging via Midway, Midway to Oberholzer, New Canada to George Goch as well as no train departing from Faraday and Westgate stations.

“Meanwhile in the north, 388 daily train trips have also been reduced to 79 (20%), leaving their 363,541 daily commuters with no train services between Mabopane to Pretoria, De Wildt to Pretoria,  Saulsville to Pretoria and with only 10 trips between Pretoria and Johannesburg on a daily basis.”

Waters further said the vandalism has been targeted at conventional and modern signalling system; signals and train detection cables including battery banks at signalling equipment rooms; multiple spans of contact and catenary wire overhead track equipment and transformers; rectifiers and various components at substations.

He added that due to the vastly reduced number of train services, trains that were still operating, had become overcrowded to such an extent it was common cause to see commuters hanging from the sides of the train or even sitting on top of the train.

“This poses a huge risk to the safety of commuters as they can be hit by oncoming trains or get electrocuted by the 3,000-volt dc overhead.

“Hundreds of thousands of ordinary South Africans rely on affordable and reliable transportation to get to and from work and to seek work, by not having a reliable train service, people are being forced to use other modes of transport at an increased cost to their household budget.

“The government needs to rescue the situation before we have no train service at all,” he said.

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