Transport Minister rebukes PRASA for risking lives with R20bn underspending

Transport Minister rebukes PRASA for risking lives with R20bn underspending

Minister of Transport, Blade Nzimande, visited 6 orphans who had lost their parents in the Mountainview train accident last week. During his visit, he condemned PRASA for R20 billion worth of under spending, which could have saved lives.

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Blade Nzimande, Minister of Transport, has condemned the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa for their inaction.

The rail agency has reportedly withheld R20 billion meant for infrastructure, while trains in the country suffer fatal accidents.

The latest of which occurred when two Metrorail trains had tragically collided in Mountainview, Pretoria last week. Four people were killed and more than 600 people injured.

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Nzimande had visited six orphans who had lost both parents in the recent crash. During his visit, he had condemned the incident, blaming the rail agency for failing to upgrade their technology:

“Manual signalling is dangerous. There is a lot of technology in the world. We need to be looking at technology. We have Prasa that sits with close to R20 billion unspent on infrastructure, and we are not able to put in basic things, such as trains being able to detect each other.”

Both Sarah and Dick Sekoma had died while travelling with three of their children. The youngest Sekoma orphan is only three years old, with the eldest being eighteen.

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The cause of the accident is not entirely clear, with one version claiming the accident had been a miscommunication between a control officer and a driver, and another version being that the accident had been attributed to cable theft.

The minister feels this is 'unacceptable' as it could have been prevented by the agency's security.

“I don’t deal with supply chain management. But we can’t be dealing with the same security companies that are chowing hundreds of millions of rand. We aren’t seeing any benefits.”

Sibusiso Sithole, CEO of PRASA, admitted that the tragedy had brought about the realisation that the entity had failed to attend to pressing issues.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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