Avoidable train accidents a result of an uncaring ANC – Solly Msimanga

DA Gauteng PEC says MEC Ismail Vadi keeps calling for urgent investigations but nothing changes

Avoidable train accidents a result of an uncaring ANC

21 January 2019

Today, I embarked on a train ride from Springs to Jeppe train station where l engaged with commuters on issues they face on a daily basis when using the rail system.

Some of the issues highlighted are lack of security, old infrastructure, trains running late and crime.

There have been four train crashes in Gauteng over the last four months. In the latest train crash in Tshwane, at least three people were killed and over 600 people were injured. The cause was found to be human error, as trains had to be signalled manually as the signaling system was not working.

Following each deadly incident, the MEC for Roads and Transport, Ismail Vadi, makes the empty call for an urgent investigation into the accident, yet nothing changes. This is a clear indicator of a government which does not care about the millions of train commuters who use trains across Gauteng and South Africa to get to work and school.

We do not need more investigations, we need action. The Rail Safety Regulator has already diagnosed the problem by stating that PRASA "continued to demonstrate the highest levels of lethargy and disregard for rail safety in its operations". If the failing and uncaring ANC-led Gauteng government was serious about rail safety and the lives of the people it would do all it can to work with PRASA to get its operations in order.

With four people dead and over 1,000 commuters injured in these four recent train accidents in Gauteng alone it is clear that commuters’ lives are at risk on a daily basis. The people of Gauteng a dying at the hands of the failing and uncaring ANC.

Like Esidimeni, Marikana, and the pit-toilet deaths, the ANC’s callous disregard for human life has had dire consequences on hundreds of families in Gauteng who have lost love ones, or who have suffered horrific injuries from rail accidents in recent months. For as long as the ANC is in power, the people of Gauteng will not be safe in hospitals, schools, or on their daily commute.

How many more people must die at the hands of the failing ANC before there is accountability? How many more families must suffer the loss of a loved one before there is justice?

People of Gauteng, we need real change. The kind of change that ensures that does not just call for investigations, when the reasons and people who failed to act are known.

The loss of life cannot be trivialised by commissions and investigations and their reports, which gather dust. Those with blood on the hands still occupy high office, instead of being sent to prison. As the Democratic Alliance will continue to state the inconvenient and uncomfortable truth that the ‘ANC is killing SA’ until there is accountability and justice.

The DA is committed to bringing real change that ensures Gauteng’s 1,5-million train commuters will be safe.

The only way we can ensure that our rail system is safe is by handing over the day-to-day running of Metrorail to the Provincial Government . When the DA governs Gauteng, we will establish a Rail Enforcement Unit as a priority to help protect Metrorail’s infrastructure and ensure the safety of passengers. This Unit would be established with resources from provincial government, local government and PRASA. It is of critical importance that more stringent rail safety measures be put in place to ensure the safety of our rail passengers and the infrastructure. We cannot allow more lives to be lost as a result of the failing ANC’s uncaring attitude towards the people of this province. The Rail Enforcement Unit under the Western Cape government has made great improvement in ensuring safety of commuters.

A DA-led government will also work closely with the Rail Safety Regulator to ensure that systems and infrastructure is up to standard. By ignoring the Rail Safety Regulator, PRASA and the ANC-led Gauteng government are choosing to send the people of Gauteng to an early grave.

The DA will not back down from calling for justice and accountability.

The DA is not deaf to the cries of mourning families. We engaged in a process of reaching out to families whose loved ones fell victim to a corrupt and uncaring government.

The people of Gauteng have suffered at the hands of the failing ANC.

This election the people of Gauteng have two choices: vote for a government that kills it people; or vote DA government that is committed to real change that builds One South Africa for All, and puts the people first by ensuring they are cared for and kept safe.

Issued by Solly Msimanga, DA Gauteng Premier Candidate, 21 January 2019