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'This is unacceptable': Ramaphosa wants Prasa to improve services immediately

The president took a train from Mabopane station in Soshanguve on Monday morning during an unannounced visit as part of the party’s election campaign in Tshwane.

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa interacts with commuters at Mabopane train station in Soshanguve on 18 March 2019 during the party's election campaign drive. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

TSHWANE – President Cyril Ramaphosa says he will be speaking to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) to urge the state-owned entity to buy more trains and to address issues of late arrivals, overcrowding and slow travel times.

The president took a train from Mabopane station in Soshanguve on Monday morning during an unannounced visit as part of the party’s election campaign in Tshwane.

The African National Congress (ANC) was trying to secure more votes in the capital city which they handed over to a Democratic Alliance-led administration two years ago during municipal elections.

Ramaphosa acknowledged that the poor delivery of train services is impacting on the productivity of workers and ultimately the economy.

“I want to see it put right now, not even tomorrow. Because it has a negative impact on the economy.”

The president experienced first-hand what it’s like to be stuck on a train.

His trip of 50 kilometres was supposed to take under an hour but it lasted nearly four hours.

As he arrived at the station, some visibly frustrated commuters were shouting and asking where the train were.

Once Ramaphosa disembarked he told ANC supporters he would make sure the issues were addressed and services improved.

He promised that Prasa officials would be held accountable for the poor train services thousands of commuters had to endure every day.

“They must get this right or otherwise heads must roll,” Ramaphosa said.

The president also received criticism from commuters who complained about security at train stations, unclean bathrooms and overcrowded cabins.

“It must come to an end; we are going to talk Prasa. This is unacceptable [and] we cannot accept it.”

Ramaphosa also urged voters to go out and vote on election day and return the ANC to power.