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Prasa on track to receive new trains

Prasa says it will receive the new trains at the end of November.

Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa took journalists aboard the new trains it purchased from a Spanish manufacturer to prove that they comply with standards on 13 July, 2015. Picture: Kgotatso Mogale/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) says it will receive new trains at the end of November and it will be able to test them before they are brought into service.

The Business Day reported that Prasa is nearly a year behind on its R5 billion depot modernisation programme for the new trains.

This is separate from the R600 million deal to procure trains from a Spanish supplier.

Prasa's Sipho Sithole says there have been delays with the locomotives they've bought from Brazil, but said plans to bring them into the country are on track.

"The trains will be tested upon arrival. The issue is if we have been able to carry out what we'd planned to in order for the trains to be tested and commissioned and to go into commercial service by March 2016; and the answer is yes."

Meanwhile, Transport Minister Dipuo Peters is waiting for a comprehensive report from the rail agency to understand recent developments at the rail agency and take action where necessary.

Last week Prasa's then group CEO Lucky Montana was axed while its engineering head Daniel Mtimkulu was suspended with immediate effect for not being properly qualified for his post.

Prasa said operations at the company will not be affected, but Montana may still speak out about his dismissal.

The Transport Department's Tiyani Rikhotso said the board of directors needed to keep the minister up to date.