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Compiled by Devina Haripersad

PRASA trains safe for passengers to ride again, says regulator

The agency has been granted its safety permit to transport passengers.

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has been deemed as safe to operate as a commercial mode of transport by the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR).

This after the agency announced via an official statement that the regulator has issued them with an operating permit which is valid for 29 months. 

Group Chief Executive Officer of PRASA Hishaam Emeran said that they were pleased that the RSR has finally granted them the permit, as it now affords the business operational certainty.

“It also allows us to focus on our accelerated corridor recovery program to bring back more trains along key routes,” he said in the statement.

He explained that PRASA was able to satisfy the requirements set out by the Railway Safety Regulator for the issuing of a safety permit.

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PRASA is now authorized to carry out its railway operations in accordance with the National Railway Safety Regulator Act 16 of 2002 through the safety permit, which is mandatory for all railway operators to possess.

The RSR requires railway operators to have a documented Safety Management System.

The holder of the Safety Permit must have demonstrated, amongst other things, the capability to mitigate the identified risks and achieve the set safety goals and objectives.

In 2018, PRASA sought an interim order from the courts to lift the suspension of the Safety Permit imposed by the RSR.

On the verge of being revoked

PRASA was given a deadline that year by the RSR to furnish reasons for retaining their safety permit before it can be revoked, after two trains collided in Kempton Park injuring 320 people.

Emeran has since reported that in the past financial year, PRASA’s turnaround has gained momentum with the reopening of critical corridors, including the recent opening of the Nyanga to Langa leg of the Central Line in Cape Town. 

“The turnaround has included refurbishing stations and rail infrastructure and improving passenger and asset security,” he said.

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“The safety and security of our passengers, employees, contractors, assets and the communities around our network remain pillars of everything. We have bolstered the use of technology and more visible security personnel to enhance passenger safety and security. 

“This safety permit bolsters our resolve to  build the PRASA that our stakeholders can be proud of,” Emeran concluded.