Nzimande blames cable theft for deadly Pretoria #TrainCrash, demands answers
Pretoria - Transport Minister Blade Nzimande said he was outraged and laid blame at the door of cable theft after two trains collided on Tuesday morning, leaving hundreds of people injured and three people dead.
The trains were both travelling on the same line towards Pretoria from Mabopane when they collided at Mountain View Station, northeast of Pretoria.
The trains were transporting more than 800 passengers.
More than 300 commuters were left injured and transported to different hospitals around the area.
Nzimande said cable theft results in the malfunctioning of the signalling system, which forces train operations to be switched to manual authorisation which leads to miscommunication.
"Like today, clearly there must have been a miscommunication somewhere," he said.
Nzimande said management had to account on why money was being spent on upgrading security, yet cable theft was still on the rise.
"We are spending such a lot of money and it looks like it's business as usual...These security companies have been taking hundreds of millions of rands from our Metrorail but there isn't a big difference that is seen."
Nzimande said he demands answers from Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) and the Railway Safety Regulator within a few days on actions which will be taken to deal with security.
He said from now on, no security company must get a tender from Prasa if they can't demonstrate what they intend to do in combating cable theft.
"Otherwise we have turned Prasa into an ATM," Nzimande said.
Rescue operations were completed by 5pm after a few passengers remained trapped in the train for several hours.
African News Agency (ANA)