Transnet cries foul play after coal carrier gets derailed

Transnet has accused the UIundi Business Forum of resorting to violence which included assault, blocking access roads and the discharging of a firearm.

Around 5 000 tonnes of coal spilt as a result of a cargo carrier getting derailed in Ulundi earlier this week allegedly and the spillage has caused severe backlogs, costing Transnet Freight Rail a small fortune after the rail company announced that it would be withdrawing its operational teams from the site.

Transnet claimed that the spillage posed a threat to the safety of staff in the area and they attributed the spillage to an alleged vengeful act from the Ulundi Business Forum.

The train derailed earlier this week, carrying export coal en route to Richards Bay.

Transnet released a statement saying that it believed that the derailment is as a result of violent, extortion efforts by the Ulundi Business Forum.

Assault, blocking access roads and discharge of firearm

“This comes after the business forum was invited to provide a list of all equipment and plant machinery that they are able to deploy to site as well as costings. Industry has contracted the Ulundi Business Forum for equipment to assist in the derailment recovery and the Forum now insists on direct contracts with Transnet over and above what they have with Industry.

Transnet rejected this demand and the Forum resorted to violence which included assault, blocking access roads and the discharging of a firearm. South African Police Service (SAPS) are on the scene and Transnet has also activated its security personnel as well as the Public Order Policing unit to the site,” the statement read.

ALSO READ: No injuries reported after train carrying coal for export derails – Transnet

Transnet also confirmed that work to clear up the derailment commenced as of Friday, 11 November 2022.

Transnet diverts critical flows

 While the derailment has caused severe inconveniences, to contain the impact the freight rail operator said it will divert some critical flows like chemicals, via the mainline between Durban and Gauteng.

It said it would implement a Force Majeure on the Northern Corridor and continues to provide updates to impacted customers on the status of recovery operations.

They have also conducted lengthy engagements with the Ulundi Business Forum and worked to acquire additional support from law enforcement agencies.

“Once the rolling stock has been cleared on the line, TFR will be in a better position to assess the damage on the line and determine when normal train operations can resume. Transnet condemns these acts and will be laying charges of violence, tampering with essential infrastructure and extortion,” Transnet said.

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