President Cyril Ramaphosa was joined by Premier Helen Zille and Transport Minister Blade Nzimande while going on a walkabout inside the new Prasa trains. Picture: Sisonke Mlamla/Cape Argus

Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa was invited to visit the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) in Cape Town where he was briefed on the company's efforts to improve commuter services and to stimulate economic activity and industrialisation through its modernisation programme. 

On Tuesday, the President was joined by Premier Helen Zille and Transport Minister Blade Nzimande while going on a walkabout inside the new train.

The President’s visit follows his recent personal experience of commuter frustration and technical problems with rolling stock between Mabopane and Bosman stations in Pretoria. During an engagement with commuters, the train on which the President was travelling broke down, turning a 45-minute journey into a three-hour delay.

PRASA revealed elements of the passenger rail sector’s 20-year modernisation programme to the President during his visit.

The programme aims to revitalise the rail industry through local manufacturing of parts, maintenance, the establishment of training facilities, the achievement of 65 percent local content, and training and skills development for Prasa employees and young people interested in the rail industry.

Government’s commitment to providing safe and sufficient passenger rail services that will benefit commuters and the economy is reflected in its investment of more than R170 billion to ensure that passenger rail services offer:

  • Modern, safe and reliable trains for commuters,
  • Faster trains which will increase capacity of the network,
  • Improved overall safety of trains and reduced energy costs, and
  • Improved, predictable and reliable services to passengers.

During his visit, the President viewed two new trains that were manufactured locally and which will be deployed on upgraded infrastructure, as part of Prasa’s Rolling Stock Fleet Renewal Programme that will see the manufacturing of more than 7 000 new trains over a period of 20 years - or close to 30 per month.

On Tuesday, the President was joined by Premier Helen Zille and Transport Minister Blade Nzimande while going on a walkabout inside the new train. Video: Sisonke Mlamla/Cape Argus

The new Prasa trains were unveiled on Tuesday. Here is a look at the train arriving back at Cape Town Station from Mowbray. Video: Sisonke Mlamla/Cape Argus
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