Parliament - Activist group #UniteBehind on Tuesday told MPs their members are being intimidated and threatened by Passenger Rail Services of South Africa (Prasa) employees to keep quiet about the state of commuter rail services in the country.
"Prasa security is going to houses and speaking to their [members'] families and say we need to stop speaking about Prasa or raise any issues about Prasa," #UniteBehind's Zukiswa Vuka told a packed meeting for Parliament's portfolio committee on transport interrogating the failing state of passenger rail services in urban South Africa.
MPs were left flabbergasted and told civil society groups they would be protected.
"Nobody will be intimidated to come and present to us. This area [Parliament] is highly protected. The people coming to present here is highly protected. This is not a banana republic," said African National Congress MP Mtikeni Sibande.
Democratic Alliance MP Manny de Freitas said he was more concerned about the safety of activists when they left Parliament.
"Anybody here is completely protected but my concern is what happens outside this precinct. I would like us to take this further. Who has been intimidating and hurting people and take it further, lay criminal charges...," said de Freitas.
"This is very serious. It is not on."
Deputy Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga said she was concerned about Vuka's claims and challenged her to name those guilty of intimidation.
"It is a problem when we come before portfolio committee and wild allegations are made. Give us names," Chikunga said, urging Vuka and others to approach the police.