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'Prasa could face up to R5m penalty as trains operating illegally today'

The Railway Safety Regulator says its previous safety permit, which came with special conditions, expired at midnight.

A view inside the Prasa repair depot on 28 May 2018, where trains are fixed, renovated and parts are shipped off for off-site repairs. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The Railway Safety Regulator says any Metrorail train operating today is doing so illegally and Prasa could face a hefty penalty of up to R5 million.

The regulator says its previous safety permit, which came with special conditions, expired at midnight.

The safety of Metrorail trains has been in the spotlight since the beginning of the year when 19 passengers were killed in a crash in Kroonstad in the Free State.

A week later, in a separate incident, more than 200 commuters were hurt when a train rear-ended another train at the Geldenhys Station in Germiston.

The regulator says until Prasa shows it has the ability and the commitment to ensure commuters are safe on board their trains, a new safety permit cannot be issued.

The regulator's Herman Bruwer says: “Prasa doesn’t have the means, commitment, management and resources to comply with the act.”

The regulator has instructed its inspectorate to monitor the situation to determine if Prasa is taking the necessary steps.

The regulator has the power to issue a contravention notice which will result in hefty penalties.

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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