COSATU statement on the deteriorating level of rail safety in the province and the country

COSATU in Gauteng is worried by the deteriorating level of rail safety in the province and the country in general. Trains continue to injure and kill workers every day. The collision of trains at Faraday is not a surprise but a continuation of the systematic crises facing our country and manifesting itself in various forms, such as this recent incident.

The PRASA management is right that the human factor is responsible for this incident. They are the humans responsible for this mess and the Department of Transport leadership is also equally responsible for ignoring the cries of the workers.

The department has been deaf to the complaints by workers about their unbearable working conditions and some of these tarins are as old as 1985. The leadership of PRASA and that of the Department must take responsibility for this manslaughter.

We have raised the state of Transport system to various Ministers, including the provincial department but all these please have fallen on deaf ears. They have shown no interest at attending the grievances of the society; instead the E-toll system has been forced down our throats. The recent outburst by the Minister of Transport is a typical example of defocused priorities and skewed interest of authorities in our country.

The recent statement by the Minister and the train collision confirms our standing argument that the transport infrastructure in our country in deplorable and is caused by the failure of leadership. There is a lack of political will to build a transport system, which is reliable, affordable, safe and intermodal. The comments on keeping the user pay system (e-toll) are not backed by the resolutions of the ANC and the Alliance. We are concerned that there are no tangible programs by the Department of Transport to concretely intervene and rescue the transport system from the paralysis it is facing.

COSATU in Gauteng is calling the Minister of Transport to urgently call an urgent transport Indaba which should include all role players in the industry as well as workers. This forum should be used to come up with lasting solutions to the current dilapidated rail infrastructure. The failure to take actions against those in PRASA, who squandered billions of rands through corruption, speaks volumes. We are further calling the government and the Premier of Gauteng, David Makhura to urgently deal with the apartheid spatial development in the province.

The train collisions will continue to occur precisely because those in leadership are not paying serious attention to issues which affect the working class and the poor in our country.

We wish those who have been injured in a train accident a speedy recovery.

For further information contact Dumisani Dakile at 0827271422