Prasa: Rail regulator decision not to renew safety permit ‘unfair’

Prasa says it had asked for a deadline extension on its safety permit from the Rail Safety Regulator.

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 Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) says it has not received any letter from the Rail Safety Regulator (RSR) stipulating that the agency is not permitted to operate.

Prasa says it had asked for a deadline extension on its safety permit from the regulator.

The agency says for the regulator to make a call to refuse to renew its permit during operating hours is simply unfair.

But the RSR says Prasa has failed to prove the necessary leadership to run safe operations.

Prasa's Nana Zenani says the agency simply needs more time to deal with certain operational challenges.

“We are not operating a perfect system. I hear my colleague at RSR with respect quoting the fact that internationally there are standards. You have to understand and I go back to the history of the organisation, we did not inherit a system that was functioning.”

The RSR says it's refused to renew Prasa's safety permit because the agency has failed to prove its commitment and necessary leadership to run safe operations.

The regulator met with Prasa management last week and conveyed its lack of confidence in the agency.

But Prasa says it's received no official response except for what is now in the public domain.

The RSR’s acting CEO Herman Bruwer is adamant Prasa was given a deadline to submit a turn-around strategy.

“Early last week, [we] conveyed to them our lack of confidence and that we may not proceed with the issues of the permit unless they can come forward and no later than the 27th of July.”

(Edited by Thapelo Lekabe)