Nzimande tackles problems at Prasa

President Cyril Ramaphosa was stuck on a train from Mabopane, north of Pretoria, to Pretoria station on Monday morning.
President Cyril Ramaphosa was stuck on a train from Mabopane, north of Pretoria, to Pretoria station on Monday morning.
Image: Twitter/ANCJHB

Transport minister Blade Nzimande is expected to brief the media on resolutions he intends implementing in an attempt to fix the problems plaguing SA's commuter rail agency.

This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa directed him to resolve the problems after he had a first-hand experience of the difficulties regularly experienced by commuters after he was stuck on a Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) train from Mabopane to Pretoria last week.

Nzimande is expected to brief the media at Prasa House in Pretoria today.

His spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi said among other issues Nzimande will seek to address will be the deterioration of infrastructure and train delays. Images of the president squashed in a cabin with commuters circulated on social media when he went on a campaign trail in Tshwane last week.

The president was left stuck on the train for more than three hours while attempting to canvas votes.

"We saw for ourselves how the train service is really bad for the people of our country. First they arrive late, and therefore everybody arrived very late at their workplaces and people tell me every day is the same with late arrivals," said Ramaphosa.

"We also saw that at the stations, essential services such as toilets are dysfunctional and we saw that there is no safety at the stations nor inside the train.

"And once we were on the train, it was moving slow and stopping abruptly without any explanation. It is unacceptable that a trip of 50km can take us three hours; it must come to an end. We are going to talk to Prasa to get things right or otherwise heads must roll."

The president said it was "unacceptable" that people who commuted to and from work daily were getting fired for arriving late because of train delays, thus having a negative impact on productivity and ultimately the economy of the country.

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