Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula did an inspection on the train that was involved in a collision with a tamping machine responsible for maintaining train tracks. PHOTO: Brenda Masilela/ANA

Pretoria - Newly appointed Transport Minister, Fikile Mbalula, on Wednesday said a preliminary report shows that a collision involving a train and a temping machine in Mamelodi, east of Pretoria, was caused when the brakes of the temping machine failed.

The report further indicated that the signalling system in the area has not been functional for two years.

"This is a matter of serious concern due to the heightened risk of manual authorisation," Mbalula said.

Mbalula said the preliminary report has also revealed a communication breakdown between the crew of the temping machine and the Centralised Train Control Centre (CTC).

The collision which occurred on Saturday between Eertstefabrieke and Pienaarspoort station left 64 passengers and two crew members with minor to moderate injuries.

Mbalula assured train commuters that “heads would roll” should negligence be found on the part of any operator.

Mbalula said railway safety had to be prioritised because unsafe conditions are detrimental to the growth of the economy.

He said that in the last Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) report paints an unflattering picture of safety performance on railways.

"In 2017/2018 a total number of 1027 incidents of collisions during movement of rolling stock were reported by the RSR."

He said this represented a two percent increase from the previous year.

"This is cause of alarm and must spur us into action to arrest this situation."

Mbalula said he will announce an action plan that will speed up change and transformation in the transport sector in his first year in office.

African News Agency (ANA)