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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
Van Rooyen suddenly withdraws his interdict

In another twist involving the public protector’s office‚ the Minister of Co-operative Governance an.

Soaring petrol prices are burning holes in motorists' pockets but are trains a safe option?

By unknown | May 03, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Maryanne Maina

Maryanne Maina

With petrol 34c a litre more expensive since yesterday, catching the train to work looks like a more attractive option. Last week's fuel price increase announcement from the minerals and energy department included a 4percent increase in rail transport tariffs, but luckily this only applies to fuel and not to commuter fares.

"The ticket prices have not increased and will not do so," South African Rail Commuter Corporation spokesman Pule Mabe said.

But is catching the train safe? Will you get to work on time?

"On the issue of safety, we are still working on the national safety campaign that was launched last year. Currently, we are educating commuters on rail safety," Mabe said. "The number of deaths are declining. Some of the children who used to staff-ride have now been to school and are our ambassadors in promoting safety."

Despite Metrorail's claims of improved safety, Boyane Tshehla of the Institute for Security Studies recently wrote in a report on safety of the trains: "It would appear that Metrorail fails to take seriously its responsibility of protecting its customers. This conclusion is based not only on the reality that confronts commuters daily, but (also) on Metrorail's own views. Many would have been surprised when Metrorail declared, in court, that it was not their responsibility to protect commuters on their trains. The courts, rightly, disagreed."

Metrorail is reported to have spent R1,7billion on refurbishing its coaches this year and 1000 railway police have been introduced so far.

That R25billion allocated to the Gautrain could be far better invested in changing Metrorail into a reliable service.


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