4 March 2020
The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has failed to provide a security plan or a tender for new security contracts, as required by a court ruling from November 2019.
Judge John Hlophe had given PRASA a month to submit these documents.
Three security companies operating in the Western Cape took PRASA to court in November after their contracts were terminated without any alternative safety plan, leaving the railway vulnerable to crime.
Commuter activist group #UniteBehind has now lodged an application with the Western Cape High Court on Tuesday, seeking to have Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula held accountable for PRASA’s failure to present a security plan to the court.
The application states that “the Minister is at least partially responsible for the [court order] not yet having been adhered to” due to his failure to appoint a permanent board of control.
#UniteBehind also says that it is necessary for Mbalula to intervene and oversee the process as PRASA lacks a board to fulfill its oversight duties.
In the application, #UniteBehind says PRASA is obliged to update the court on what is being done about a new tender contract, as well as giving reasons for not complying with the court order.
#UniteBehind member Zackie Achmat wrote: “Deaths and violent crimes are occurring regularly on PRASA trains, and on PRASA property, as a direct result of inadequate safety measures.
“These deaths and violent crimes are being suffered by employees of PRASA and daily, working class, commuters. Many of these victims are women and children.”
Nana Zenani, media liaison at PRASA, said that PRASA continued to address security concerns on the train network. She said, “The current plan that was approved by Railway Safety Regulator is still in operation whilst PRASA is in the process of addressing corrective measures for instatement of legitimate security contracts.”
The application will be heard in the Western Cape High Court on 6 March.