Western Cape MEC for Transport and Public Works Bonginkosi Madikizela on Tuesday announced that his department would be making R10-million available to the ailing Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) to assist in fixing infrastructure and unreliable service.
After an inspection, Madikizela said that because of Prasa’s unreliable rail service, passengers faced long travel times and could not plan a commute. This undermined their dignity and made it difficult to access economic opportunities, he added.
It was therefore critical to do everything possible to fix the rail network, Madikizela said.
He said the provincial government had been working closely with Prasa to assist in the restoration of the collapsed rail service.
“Earlier, the province participated through the establishment of the Rail Enforcement Unit in the expansion of security services for the rail network. The province contributed both financially and in terms of planning and organisation. We are once again providing support,” Madikizela said.
He said R10-million had been made available and his department had entered into a memorandum of understanding with Prasa to co-operate and co-ordinate efforts for the purposes of improving passenger rail services, operations and management, infrastructure and assets, information and monitoring, and safety and security on the entire rail network.
The period of agreement is from the date of signature, which will be May 28, 2020, until March 31, 2022.
The vegetation clearing will support job creation and create short-term work opportunities for 80 people.
He said the immediate focus areas would be the southern line: Cape Town to Simon’s Town; northern line: Salt River to Bellville; central line: Cape Town to Mutual/Langa/Pinelands; and the Cape Flats line: Maitland to Heathfield.
“The total expected workforce, which will be made up of various skilled labour, includes weed-cutting teams; brush cutter operators with full personal protective equipment (PPE); workers collecting and disposing of cut material and litter; tree-cutting teams; and workers cutting with slashers, among others,” Madikizela said.
He said more could be achieved if all parties continued working together in the interest of the people who cannot live without a functioning rail service.
“My department is therefore working together with Prasa on a plan to relocate the informal structures on the tracks to get the central line up and running again. Co-operative governance is key,” he added.