President Cyril Ramaphosa has ordered Transport Minister Blade Nzimande to urgently resolve the problems facing South Africa's rail commuter transport system, a statement from the presidency on Thursday said.
Ramaphosa met with Nzimande on Tuesday following the president's train ride on Monday when he experienced first hand the delays of an unreliable Metrorail service.
"Among the challenges raised at the meeting was the deterioration of infrastructure and unacceptable delays of train services, which often result in commuters arriving late for work, school and other commitments. Passenger and driver safety also received attention," the statement said.
"The President stressed the need for a safe, reliable and integrated public transport system to support the country’s economic development aspirations."
While the president "appreciated" the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) was busy implementing ambitious rail modernisation plans, he was concerned that the agency was failing at implementing its turnaround plan to improve rail operations.
"The President has directed immediate action to strengthen governance by stabilising the leadership cohort at Board level and filling critical vacancies, including that of the Group Chief Executive Officer."
Ramaphosa was stuck on a train for hours on Monday while engaging commuters on the election campaign trail.