COSATU welcomes Parliament’s adoption of the Railway Safety Bill

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) welcomes Parliament’s adoption of the Railway Safety Bill.  This is a long overdue and important Bill to ensure railway workers, commuters and freight can travel and arrive at their destinations safely. 

COSATU supports the progressive objectives and provisions of the Bill that seek to overhaul our often-weak health and safety provisions governing our passenger and freight railway network. 

Key critical progressive clauses in the Bill intending to improve railway safety include empowering the Railway Safety Regulator and its inspectors to inspect, seize documents and other relevant evidence as well as to suspend railway operations where needed to protect lives and cargo.

We welcome its provisions providing for worker representation on the Railway Safety Regulator’s Board.  It is workers who run our railway network.  Their inclusion on the Board will enable them to raise serious concerns and challenges immediately, allow them to table practical interventions and solutions, and help ensure the collective buy in of workers of the Regulator’s railway safety plans.

The Federation looks forward to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s assent to this important Bill.

Whilst COSATU welcomes the progressive objectives of the Bill, Government, Metro Rail and Transnet as well as law enforcement need to move with speed to enforce its full implementation if we are to ensure the safety of railway workers, commuters and freight.  We cannot afford a business as usual approach when the lives and jobs of workers hang in the balance.

Issued by COSATU

For further information please contact:
Matthew Parks
Acting National Spokesperson & Parliamentary Coordinator 
Cell: 082 785 0687