This is the opinion of Solly Msimanga, the DA’s Gauteng Premier Candidate who this week embarked on a train ride from Springs to Jeppe to engage with commuters on issues they face on a daily basis when using the rail system.
He says some of the major issues highlighted were a lack of security, old infrastructure, trains running late and crime. In the latest train crash where people died the cause was found to be human error, as trains had to be signalled manually because the automated signalling system did not work.
Msimanga says following each deadly incident, the MEC for Roads and Transport, Ismail Vadi, makes the empty call for an urgent investigation into the accident. “Yet nothing changes. This is a clear indicator of a government which does not care about the millions of train commuters who use trains across Gauteng and South Africa to get to work and school.
“We do not need more investigations, we need action. The Rail Safety Regulator has already diagnosed the problem by stating that PRASA ‘continued to demonstrate the highest levels of lethargy and disregard for rail safety in its operations’. If the failing and uncaring ANC-led Gauteng government was serious about rail safety and the lives of the people it would do all it can to work with PRASA to get its operations in order,” says Msimanga.
Disregard for human life
The DA also says with four people dead and over 1,000 commuters injured in these four recent train accidents in Gauteng alone “it is clear that commuters’ lives are at risk on a daily basis. The people of Gauteng a dying at the hands of the failing and uncaring ANC”.
The party highlight the Esidimeni deaths, the Marikana deaths, and the pit-toilet deaths and likens it to the ANC’s callous disregard for human life. It has had dire consequences on hundreds of families in Gauteng who have lost love ones, or who have suffered horrific injuries from rail accidents in recent months. “For as long as the ANC is in power, the people of Gauteng will not be safe in hospitals, schools, or on their daily commute.”