The United National Transport Union (Untu) has asked Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula to dissolve the board of Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) with immediate effect.
Untu general secretary Steve Harris says the union is concerned about the ongoing breaches of rail safety at Metrorail – a division of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) – which the RSR is overseeing.
Harris further explains that the RSR practices two sets of rules as it continues to issue Metrorail with a safe operating permit while it had seven incidents over the last four years, which involved things going wrong during manual authorisation, but it prohibited PRASA’s long-distance passenger service – Shosholoza Meyl – from operating when it had a collision during a manual authorisation operation.
“Even more disturbing is that the Gauteng North High Court issued a court order against PRASA in favour of the RSR in October 2018, which is still being monitored by Judge Cassim Sardiwalla.
“The RSR has to date not attempted to approach the court to state that PRASA is in contempt of the court order,” says Harris.
The parties are due back in court on March 19.
Harris further criticises PRASA’s inability to combat vandalism and theft of cables, while he says it is also not able to combat overcrowding on trains.
“The state of rail safety in the country has stripped the RSR of any of its credibility,” Harris says.