Transnet freight rail collision: Release full accident report – Mimmy Gondwe

DA MP calls for firm timelines on export line restoration

Transnet freight rail collision – DA calls for firm timelines on export line restoration

17 January 2024

Following the unfortunate incident in which two Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) trains, conveying coal, collided on the export coal line to Richard’s Bay – the DA is making a direct call for the clear and transparent handling of the accident by TFR.

It is imperative that TFR publicly releases the full accident report and further provides regular updates on the progress being made to clear the scene of the accident and firm timelines on when the affected export line will be restored to full operation. Any prolonged delays will be detrimental to the business operations of major commodity exporters who rely on the affected export coal line to transport their commodities to port.

This accident could easily have been avoided had TFR not been dragging its feet in relation to digitising its system for the tracking and scheduling of its freight rail. The impact of this latest accident now requires TFR to provide detailed reasons behind the delayed implementation of a digitised system for the tracking and scheduling of its freight rail despite a tender being issued in 2022 for such a system.

It confounds reason that TFR still uses a manual system to track and schedule its freight rail, which is an obscure system that relies on signalling equipment and phone communication and leaves ample room for human error.

Transnet has been an albatross around the neck of our economy for some time now, from dysfunctional ports to a collapsing rail network. South Africa’s comatose economy cannot afford any more logistics shocks or crises and this is precisely why the DA is calling for an urgent clearing of the affected part of the export coal line and the prompt restoration of operations.

Issued by Mimmy Gondwe, DA Shadow Minister of Public Enterprises, 17 January 2024