File picture: ANA

Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance on Monday called on Gauteng government to devise a plan to avoid public transport disaster should train operations be halted, following the Rail Safety Regulator’s (RSR) suspension of the safety permit of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (Prasa).

The suspension follows last week’s collision between two trains at Riebeek Park station in Kempton Park, Johannesburg, which left over 300 people injured. However, trains were still moving on Monday as Prasa's legal challenge to the suspension was before the courts.

The Pretoria High Court has postponed the matter until Thursday.

DA's premier candidate for Gauteng, Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga, said “this could be an economic disaster for Gauteng as thousands of workers will not be able to go to work until train safety conditions have been improved. 

"The safety of commuters must always be of primary concern to public transport operators and as such the Rail Safety Regulator cannot be faulted for intervening in the escalating safety crisis within Metrorail. Blame needs to be placed squarely on the shoulders of Metrorail’s management who allowed the deterioration of safety standards. Heads should roll at Metrorail for causing this potential crisis.”

He pointed out through that the forced cessation of train operations by Metrorail in Gauteng would leave tens of thousands of commuters stranded.

“Should train operations be halted it is unlikely that other forms of public transport will be able to handle the additional demand for transport services.
This means that commuters will either be left stranded or will wait for hours for public transport,” he said.

“I call on the MEC for Transport, Ismail Vadi and municipalities in Gauteng to devise contingency public transport plans should train services be halted. We cannot allow hard-working commuters to be stranded or even lose their jobs due to Metrorail’s recklessness. A DA-led administration would work closely with all stakeholders to ensure that the people of the Gauteng are the beneficiaries of a reliable, safe and integrated system.”

African News Agency (ANA)