Court order keeps trains on tracks

About 300 train commuters were injured recently.
About 300 train commuters were injured recently.
Image: Peggy nkomo

The rail agency has been given a lifeline by the court after it rescinded a notice to suspend its safety permit that would have seen millions of commuters stranded today.

The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria has allowed the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) to continue providing rail services, but with strict conditions. Prasa is required to comply with the safety requirements prescribed by the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) in its safety permit.

It was further instructed to provide periodic feedback to the regulator and judge Cassim Sardiwalla, who issued the order, on the compliance.

The regulator issued Prasa with a suspension notice on October 5 for non-compliance following a collision between two trains in which more than 300 people were injured in Kempton Park, Ekurhuleni.

Prasa said yesterday if the notice had been effected, it would have had "far-reaching and dire consequences".

"The rescission. cannot be interpreted by management as absolving Prasa from its duty to ensure the safety of commuters and compliance with safety permit conditions. The decision to approach the court was solely to avoid what could have been a national crisis if the notice was carried out," said board chairperson Khanyisile Kweyama.

The regulator's CEO, Tshepo Kgane, welcomed the order. "It is the duty of the RSR to ensure railways are safe, secure and reliable. This order supports that safety must be the number one priority..."

X