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PRASA to engage with the RSR on safety permit

 

06 October 2018

 

PRASA can confirm that the Rail Safety Regulator has sent a letter to the Interim Group CEO, Mr. Sibusiso Sithole just after 14h00 yesterday with the intention to revoke the Safety Permit.

 

PRASA was given a 2-hour deadline to respond to the RSR and by giving reasons why the Safety Permit should not be revoked.

The intention to revoke PRASA’s Safety Permit emanated from a train-to-train collision on 4 October 2018 near Van Riebeeck Station in Kempton Park during manual authorisation.

 

Whilst PRASA acknowledges that the action taken by the RSR is within the mandate of
the Safety Regulator, it must be noted that the train incident happened just over 48 hours ago and is still being investigated through the normal processes and structures when such incidents occur. A Board of Inquiry has been established to investigate the cause of the accident, upon which a full report will be released to the relevant authorities.

 

PRASA has over the years seen a drastic increase in instances of manual authorisation in train operations. Of the total number of manual authorisations, over 33% (165 488) instances are as a result of continued vandalism of signaling equipment and theft of signaling cables. These sustained attacks on PRASA rail infrastructure have reached unprecedented levels with our employees, entrusted to perform their duties, taking strain and in some instances being physically harmed by criminals.

 

PRASA acknowledges that under different conditions, such as uninterrupted signaling and infrastructure, the abnormal working conditions and service interruptions could be avoided altogether.

 

In response to the RSR letter PRASA has written to the Safety Regulator, requesting that the scope of the intended suspension be limited to the affected region (Gauteng South), more specifically where the accident took place in Kempton Park.
 
Reacting to the letter, the Chairperson of PRASA Board, Ms Khanyisile Kweyama, said, “management is tasked with the response to the RSR and to elaborate on PRASA's safety measures. We are hoping that the Safety Regulator will give due consideration to the response to be provided by management, noting that PRASA was given a short time to respond”.

 

Commuter and employee safety is of extreme concern to PRASA. The ongoing investigation into train accidents assist management determine the best course of action to respond to the growing criminal elements that continue to destroy passenger rail services.



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