Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula and his deputy Dikeledi Magadzi, at Chris Hani train Station in Makhaza, Khayelitsha. Picture: Phando Jikelo / African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - Western Cape Premier Alan Winde on Tuesday said the provincial government was disappointed that Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula did not seek to engage the provincial leadership during his visit to Cape Town to investigate commuter rail service challenges.

On Tuesday morning, Mbalula experienced for himself the daily frustrations that train commuters face in Cape Town, as his train was seriously delayed before he eventually abandoned it to take a Prasa [Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa] bus in order to complete his full planned trip. Mbalula was meant to travel by train from Chris Hani station in Khayelitsha to Langa station, but could not complete the trip due to an incident at Nyanga station.

"The train system in the Western Cape is entirely dysfunctional and I think it's important that Minister Fikile Mbalula experienced first-hand what people go through every day. Minister Mbalula, however, will go back to being driven in his ministerial vehicle, while this afternoon, and tomorrow, and for the foreseeable future, commuters will likely experience similar delays again. We need Minister Mbalula to apply his trademark energy to fixing this problem with urgency,” Winde said in a statement.

He added that the provincial government was pleased that Mbalula was taking the concerns of Western Cape residents seriously, and investigating the commuter rail service. 

"We welcome Minister Mbalula's comments that he will be looking to stablise Prasa and will be looking at ways to make trains safer. However, the provincial government is disappointed that Minister Mbalula did not wish to engage with us. Building partnerships across all spheres of government is essential to ensuring effective service delivery, and as Minister Mbalula correctly points out, the problems with our train system impact our province's poorest and most vulnerable,” Winde added.

African News Agency (ANA)