Pretoria - A Gauteng North High Court ruling ordering Prasa to comply with the safety requirements set out by the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) has been hailed as a victory for passengers and railway safety.
The supervisory order comes after the regulator issued the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) with a notice of intention to suspend its safety permit after two Metrorail trains collided in Kempton Park last week, injuring at least 320 people.
The ailing parastatal then asked the High Court to invalidate the intended suspension of its operating permit and after this was granted, RSR rescinded the suspension.
RSR in a statement said Friday's ruling, handed down by Judge Cassim Sardiwalla, would give Prasa no option but to comply with its safety requirements.
"The legal consequences of the court order are that Prasa is required to comply with its safety requirements as prescribed by the RSR in the safety permit.
"Prasa is further instructed to provide periodic feedback to the RSR and Sardiwalla. In turn, the RSR is required to provide the judge with confirmation of compliance by Prasa.
RSR further said: "Sardiwalla described the case as a matter of national importance, acknowledging Prasa's obligation to ensure safe railway operations for both its workers and the commuters who rely on trains as their main mode of transport.
RSR acting CEO Tshepo Kgare who, along with the regulator's Board of Directors, welcomed the court order and reiterated the regulator's commitment to upholding its mandate.
"It is the duty of the RSR to ensure that railways are safe, secure and reliable. This order supports the RSR's standpoint that safety must be the number one priority if we are to reduce the number of occurrences on our railways," said Kgare.