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PRASA turnaround under way despite delays

PRASA turnaround under way despite delays

Photo by Creamer Media

7th May 2020

By: Simone Liedtke

Creamer Media Social Media Editor & Senior Writer


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The turnaround of State-owned Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) is on track, albeit with delays, in part owing to the situation brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, administrator Bongisizwe Mpondo has revealed.

In a webinar on May 7, he lamented that the passenger rail agency had not delivered on its capital programme "for a myriad of reasons” over the last couple years.

As PRASA works on initiatives to improve revenue generation over time, the agency will also seek to cut unnecessary costs.

Mpondo said PRASA was “paying particular attention” to overtime, allowances, fleet use related costs, train operation costs, traction and energy related costs, as well as any ticket sales or office related costs, besides others.


PRASA plans to, over the next few months, release several tenders aimed at improving its operations, stimulate the industry and contribute to boosting an ailing economy.

As such, Mpondo indicated that the entity was working to package and re-package projects where required in order for the tenders to be released to the market.

“We are of the opinion that this effort will act as a countercyclical move to the economic downturn and thus be a welcome contribution,” he said, urging industry players to “ready themselves” as PRASA rolls out its infrastructure programme.

The projects in question include a general rolling stock overhaul, for which a tender advert will be placed during May. The general overhaul will comprise major maintenance and interventions on Metrorail and Shosholoza Meyl rolling stock.

Appointments for the depot modernisation programme, which is aimed at upgrading depots, including high-tech machinery like under floor wheel lathes, synchronised lifting jacks and yard signalling, will be made in June.

PRASA plans to also publish, in June, tender adverts for depot fencing and rolling stock components, as well as tenders for consultants for corridor walling.

Tender adverts will, over the next few months, also be placed for signalling, perway rehabilitation, the recovery of train services for the Mabopane and Central Line corridors, as well as for the refurbishment of overhead traction equipment.

PRASA’s corridor recovery programme, meanwhile, has been reviewed in light of the national lockdown.

Various dates for milestones in the programme have been amended. The initial Central Line corridor will now provide an interim bus service from November (instead of August), with Phase 1’s limited service now set to start in February or March 2021 (instead of September or October this year). Phase 2 will continue as planned from April 2021.

The Mabopane corridor will now also provide its interim bus service from November (instead of August), with Phase 1’s limited service to start in April 2021 (instead of September or October this year). Phase 2 has been moved to August 2021, from the previously planned April 2021.


In terms of the rolling stock renewal programme, four new trains have been provisionally accepted from the local Gibela factory during the January to March period.

PRASA has also been developing its passenger service charter, and is in the process of rolling it out following a redrafting and approval process by the executive committee.

The passenger rail agency’s operating model review has also confirmed structural impediments that have worsened since PRASA’s establishment in 2009.

Mpondo said the review had, thus far, shown the need to streamline functions through the removal of duplicated efforts, strengthen regions, and improve accountability through measurable performance to enforce service value chains.

Final recommendations are due at the end of May.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online



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