This statement follows an oversight inspection by the Democratic Alliance (DA) Spokesperson on Corruption, Phumzile Van Damme, and the DA Spokesperson on Crime, John Steenhuisen, at the Umlazi-Durban railway line in KwaZulu-Natal. Pictures can be downloaded here, here and here. Please find attached soundbites in English by Van Damme and Steenhuisen.
The DA today took a train from Umlazi to Durban Central Station in order to understand and highlight the plight of railway commuters in KwaZulu-Natal. Every day South Africans use trains to travel to and from work, and they are constantly subjected to unsafe and perpetually delayed trains.
The circumstances faced by commuters using the Umlazi-Durban line is nothing short of horrific. Commuters told us that have become easy targets for criminals, while the poor railway infrastructure and mismanagement constantly makes them late for work.
The constant breakdown of rail services risks job security, with many people already losing employment due to constantly being late for work. Commuters confided in us and also highlighted the risks they face on a daily basis as for many, trains are their only available form of transportation. These sentiments are supported nationally, with reports indicating a shocking 3642 fatalities and 15 634 injuries on South Africa’s railways since 2010.
The blame for these failures and fatalities lies squarely at the feet of the uncaring ANC government and its failures to whip PRASA into shape. The ANC is clearly without a plan and solutions. Prasa is completely unable to spend money on modernising trains and infrastructure, and purchasing new trains due to the hundreds of millions of Rands wasted due to corruption, loss of income, vandalism, robberies, train causalities and injuries.
It is clear that for far too long, the plight of railway commuters has been ignored. Additionally, because of the security situation new trains are not being rolled out nationally and the general lack of safety and security on the country’s rail system has created an ever-increasing breeding ground for crime.
Unlike the DA, the failing ANC does a plan to fix railway services in South Africa. The DA has designed a rail plan that will create a safe and well-managed railway system which puts commuters first and will ensure job security. The plan is based on five aspects:
Stabilising and modernising the current rail system
Merging Transnet and Prasa under the Department of Transport
Ceding control of Metrorail services to Metros
Security related steps to improve commuter rail services
The current situation cannot continue unabated and urgent intervention is required. South Africans have an opportunity to choose a party that has a plan to improve rail services in 2019.
Phumzile Van Damme MP
DA Team One SA Spokesperson on Corruption
074 462 1279
National Press Officer
084 552 3122