May 25, 2011
Prasa moves to align safety strategy with skills developmentBack
Engineering|Johannesburg|Soweto|Tshwane|Africa|Environment|Metrorail|Safety|System|Africa|South Africa|Equipment|Service|Mosenngwa Mofi|Rail|Tshepo Lucky Montana|Operations
© Reuse this
Following two recent train accidents, in Tshwane and Soweto, where the latter resulted in 857 commuters being injured, he said that skills development was a “clear and high priority”.
“Prasa is spending R97-billion on a rail rolling-stock programme over the next 18 years – we can have new equipment, trains and technology, but investment in safety would be further complemented and more effective though investment in ensuring that workers are properly trained and that we have the right skills.
“We have relatively young drivers – most of them skilled but not experienced. Skills development remains key for our drivers, as well as retaining experienced engineers and artisans,” he told Engineering News Online.
Montana added that the global shortage of rail engineers continued to be a challenge for Prasa, which resorted to ‘poaching’ from industry. In 2010, there were about 300 engineers working at Prasa, and this increased to 408 in 2011.
In response to the two accidents, the rail agency would also be reviewing current driver training programmes to find a balance between route knowledge and the technical aspects of train driving. “Before qualifying as a train driver, recruits must first become Metro guards and/or have extensive knowledge of the rail operating environment," Prasa Rail CEO Mosenngwa Mofi said.
Metrorail, which operates 2 200 trains a day and commutes about 2,4-million passengers daily, employs 1 108 train drivers across South Africa, with an average age of 35.
“Training for drivers lasts 18 months. Despite a lack of confidence that may exist in the public, I want to reinforce that drivers are trained adequately and it is up to management to review and ensure that drivers are obeying the rules and that they respect the safety environment,” Montana said.
Prasa would also be looking into the recruitment of a select number of retired train drivers on a short-term basis to serve as mentors to new train drivers.
COMPENSATION FOR INJURED COMMUNTERS
The “reckless and negligent” driver involved in the accident in Soweto on May 19, was identified as being responsible for the accident, and was dismissed earlier this week, Montana told journalists in Johannesburg.
The driver was found to have been driving at 85 km/h in a 35/h-km zone, with the speed at impact reduced to 33 km/h, and to have ignored two danger signals.
Prasa has allocated R20-million for the commuters injured in the train accidents in Tshwane and Soweto. Payment to commuters would start on May 30.
A once-off payment of R7 500 would be paid to injured commuters, and up to R10 000 for commuters with serious injuries. Eighteen of the 857 commuters injured in the Soweto incident were still receiving treatment in hospital.
The agency has set up walk-in offices at the Johannesburg Park station and Orlando station, while the office at the Tshwane office has already been opened.
In November, the agency would be introducing a commuter insurance cover, based on a no fault system, to all valid train ticket holders injured or killed in train accidents.
Commuters trying to defraud the system would be arrested, Montana warned.
Strengthening its human factor management programme was also identified, and all drivers who have violated safety rules in the past three to six months would be withdrawn from service and undergo refresher training courses.
Six drivers were currently participating in the refresher training courses and 19 drivers are currently facing disciplinary hearings for offences ranging from speeding to passing signals at danger.
The accident in Soweto resulted in R30-million damage to rolling-stock.
Edited by: Mariaan Webb© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Rail News
With the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (PRASA’s) latest announcement of a R51-billion ten-year investment into procuring 600 new, modern commuter and passenger trains, the rail sector holds significant opportunities for electrical and mechanical components...
Engineering, management and specialist technical services company Aurecon is providing design services to the new Moatize Nacala Port and Railway project to be concluded in December in Mozambique. The Moatize Nacala railway is part of the Nacala logistics corridor...
Updated 5 hours ago South African cement firm PPC on Wednesday named a mining industry veteran as chief executive, ending a three-month leadership vacuum that has hit its shares. PPC's former CE Ketso Gordhan abruptly resigned in September after clashing with the board. He then...
Recent Research Reports
Liquid Fuels 2014 - A review of South Africa's Liquid Fuels sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Liquid Fuels 2014 Report examines these issues, focusing on the business environment, oil and gas exploration, the country’s feedstock supplies, the development of South Africa’s biofuels industry, fuel pricing, competition in the sector, the...
Water 2014: A review of South Africa's water sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Water 2014 report considers the aforementioned issues, not only in the South African context, but also in the African and global context, and examines the issues of water and sanitation, water quality and the demand for water, among others.
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
This Week's Magazine
South Africa remains an important manufacturing and export platform for Ford Motor Company, says executive chairperson Bill Ford. However, he adds that other countries on the continent are “becoming interesting”, and that the US carmaker is casting its net wider for...
Germany’s Max-Planck-Society (MPG) and the Max-Planck-Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPlfR) are investing €11-million (about R150-million) into South Africa’s MeerKAT radio telescope array programme. The money will be used to design, build and install S-band radio...
Infrastructure spend in sub-Saharan Africa will grow from $70-billion in 2013 to $180-billion by 2025, says PwC capital projects and infrastructure Africa leader Jonathan Cawood. This is one of the findings of PwC’s Capital Projects & Infrastructure report on East...
Private-owned defence and aerospace manufacturer Paramount Group and the Ichikowitz Family Foundation unveiled its Anti-Poaching Skills and K9 Training Academy in Magaliesburg last month.
The inclusion of Bluetooth to provide sub-three meter accuracy and heightened functionality for users is one of the ways to change existing wireless networks into engagement networks. An engagement network differs from common wireless networks in that it enables the...