Commuter chaos in Cape Town after Eskom disconnected power to Metrorail because the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa had fallen into arrear with payments. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)
Commuter chaos in Cape Town after Eskom disconnected power to Metrorail because the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa had fallen into arrear with payments. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Eskom should not have cut power to Metrorail - transport committee

By ANA Reporter Time of article published Feb 28, 2020

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Parliament - Parliament's portfolio committee on transport has condemned power company Eskom's decision to cut electricity to the commuter rail system in Cape Town.

Committee chairman Mosebenzi Zwane said in a statement the state-owned utility inflicted chaos on ordinary people who had no idea of the wrangling between Eskom and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) that prompted the power cut on Thursday.

“The entities should have handled this problem differently among themselves without inconveniencing the people that are already frustrated by poor service,” Zwane said late on Thursday.

Rail commuters were left stranded for most of the day after Eskom cut supply to Prasa's subsidiary Metrorail, forcing it to suspend services.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula intervened with the National Treasury to help resolve the crisis and the service was gradually restored from Thursday evening.

Prasa said the heart of the matter was a dispute over Eskom's demand that it settle its electricity bills within 14 days. 

The rail entity is, according to Mbalula, out of operational funding. He said he has asked the Treasury to allow it to use some of its capital of about R18 billion to keep trains running while the entity is being stabilised by the administrator he appointed late last year after dissolving the interim Prasa board.

African News Agency/ANA

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