Transport Dept rejects call to declare state of emergency for WC train service

#UniteBehind believes declaring a state of emergency for commuter rail will unlock additional funds to solve some of the problems.

Transport Minister Blade Nzimande visited a train depot in Paarden Eiland, Cape Town on Friday morning to see first-hand the extent of the damage done to the Passenger Rail Agency of SA infrastructure. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The National Transport Department says it’s premature to declare a state of emergency for the commuter rail network in the Western Cape.

This is in response to activist group #UniteBehind’s call to Minister Blade Nzimande in light of ongoing attacks on commuters and infrastructure.

Over the weekend, five carriages were set alight between Dal Josafat and Huguenot stations near Paarl.

Metrorail is now down to 42 train sets in the Western Cape.

It needs 88 train sets to commute more than 300,000 people in the province.

Over the past nine months, there have been at least eight train fires in the province.

#UniteBehind believes that declaring a state of emergency for commuter rail will unlock additional funds to solve some of the problems.

But Department of Transport spokesperson Ishmael Mnisi says that interventions by the minister and other entities are aimed at resolving the challenges.

He says the Passenger Rail Agency of SA has developed a recovery plan, called “Get-on-track”, to address the sustained decline in business performance, which is operational, engineering and financial.

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)