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PRASA Group CEO elected to head up the Southern African Railways Association (SARA)

 

24 June 2024

 

It is with excitement that we announce the election of the PRASA Group CEO, Mr. Hishaam Emeran, as the President of the Southern African Railways Association (SARA). This marks the beginning of an exciting new era not only for PRASA but also for our country's role in the regional passenger and freight rail network. His election was announced during a two-day visit to the Western Cape region alongside the SARA Board meeting held on Thursday, 20 June 2024.

 

SARA is an association of the leaders, chief executives and general managers of rail institutions and corporations, as well as railway safety regulators of countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). The association represents the interests of the rail sector across Southern Africa

 

“The Southern African Railways Association (SARA) is driving the African agenda for trade to the SADC region and the continent with rail as the backbone of economic growth,” said Emeran, who was addressing a media conference on the sidelines of the SARA Board meeting held in Cape Town on 20 June 2024.

 

“The SADC region is experiencing a most welcome revival of rail, both passenger and freight. Our member organisations have been driving this renaissance,” said Emeran. “SARA is at the centre of our efforts to promote regional trade and harness sustainable regional economic growth.”

 

Advancing cross-border collaboration to catalyse economic growth was a refrain repeated by many Board members as they reflected on SARA’s commitment to be more proactive in ensuring that its goals are achieved. SARA Executive Director, Babe Botana, explained that this would take the form of tracking the milestones in the organisation’s Strategic Plan.

 

PRASA, which hosted the SARA Board meeting, was able to demonstrate the progress it had made when Board members were taken on a tour of PRASA sites on Day 1 which showcased its accelerated recovery, rebuild and modernisation programme.

 

The SARA delegates visited the Paarden Eiland depot where the group could inspect the impressive modern trains making up PRASA’s new rolling stock and the extensive security, featuring high-tech camera surveillance and its new walling system. This was followed by a tour of the Bellville Rail Management and Train Control Centre (RM&TCC), the nerve centre of PRASA’s regional rail operations. Here the visitors were introduced to the automation system for all passenger rail operations, which has improved the on-time performance of passenger trains and the safety of passenger rail services.

 

The visit ended with a train trip from Kalk Bay to Cape Town, a trip of 29 kilometres which took just under an hour. The train’s modern design, punctuality, cleanliness, safety and comfort gives dignity to the daily commutes of working passengers.

 

Speaking at the Board meeting that saw the ascendency of the GCEO to the Presidency on Day 2, Bovitura Mujave of Portos e Caminhos de Ferro de Moçambique (CFM), the Mozambique Ports and Railways company, said he was impressed with PRASA’s facilities and new fleet. “We were shown what PRASA is doing to support social stability,” said.

 

Botana said that having Emeran as President meant they could draw on South African experience and expertise in passenger transport, to ensure that this sector of the railways system, which is currently suspended in many SADC countries, could be boosted.

In his acceptance speech, GCEO outlined his immediate action plan, “As I begin my tenure, and to be as effective as possible in this position, I endeavor to acquaint myself with the state of rail in the SARA region by visiting as many of our member countries as possible. We need to collaborate to solve shared challenges because rail transport provides both an efficient and the most affordable mode of transport for passengers and goods.”



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