IN QUOTES | Fikile Mbalula condemns theft and vandalism at train stations
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula said on Monday the department and the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) are concerned about vandalism of infrastructure at train stations.
The minister addressed a media briefing after visiting several train stations in Johannesburg, including the Kliptown station which he said was vandalised during the lockdown. Mbalula said vandalism and theft worsened during the lockdown due to a lack of security.
The minister said Prasa received R57bn in the medium term, a “large part” of the department's budget.
Mbalula said this demonstrates the department's commitment to ensuring the accessibility of rail transportations in poor communities.
Here are five telling quotes from his address:
Theft and vandalism
“Gauteng Metrorail is experiencing an alarming increase in the number of reported cases for infrastructure theft and vandalism, ranging from overhead electrical lights to vandalism of stations. We have had to shift from having our trains run on electricity to diesel, which is very expensive for Prasa.”
“When we shut down the trains, we didn't take contingency measures to secure the lines and preserve the little that is left. Negligence kicked in and the entire network was broken down ... Prasa has challenges with security which has left the infrastructure vandalised, this is due to contracts that were cancelled.”
Operation of trains
“There is overcrowding and it will worsen because we are providing a limited service. As we fix and bring back the corridors that have collapsed since we shut during level 5 of lockdown, we need to bring back these corridors and ensure they are properly secured.”
“As of March 2021, 25 new trains have been provisionally accepted for delivery. This brings the total number of new trains delivered to date to 61.”
Accountability and awarding of contracts
“Is there proper awarding of contracts? In the past [Prasa] was a place where contracts were irregularly awarded. Can we address this so we're not in the bad books of the auditor-general? The medium and short term plan should be getting the corridors open and trains running.”