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Frustrated commuters cast doubt on ANC election promises

While President Cyril Ramaphosa has given an assurance that government wants to deal with the poor state of the rail service, some commuters have accused the African National Congress (ANC) of empty promises during election time.

ANC supporters waiting for Presiden Cyril Ramaphosa outside the Pretoria train station on 18 February 2019 after his train delayed. Picture: Mia Lindeque/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - While President Cyril Ramaphosa has given an assurance that government wants to change the long-standing issues with overcrowded, late and slow trains once and for all, some commuters have accused the African National Congress (ANC) of empty promises during election time.

On Monday, Ramaphosa was stuck on a train from Mabopane station in Soshanguve for nearly four hours.

The president has promised to take the matter up with Prasa and says that he'll act against those responsible for the dilapidated state of services.

One man woke up early to make sure that he arrived early at Mabopane station at 5am but the train was late once again, the only difference this time is that he got to wait with President Ramaphosa.

He is just one of the commuters that uses the train daily. They all fear that one day their employers will have had enough and will fire them for always being late.

One elderly woman has to face a scrum of people, fighting to get onto the coach, hoping that she will be on time for work and safe.

"There's been no 5am train since January. They're going to fire us."

Meanwhile, President Ramaphosa has promised that now that he has experienced the problems for himself, he'll make sure that it is addressed with Prasa and those responsible will be fired.

On Monday, the president again assured South Africans that the electricity crisis is no cause for alarm.

He promised that government is doing everything possible to correct the situation.

While campaigning for the ANC in Tshwane, he told the throngs of people who’d packed a train to see him that the next few days will be “a bit tough.”

After his train ride, which was also embarrassingly late and then stuck for hours, the president met with the National Union of Mineworkers as well as the ministers of Public Enterprises and Energy.

The union is opposed to the government's decision to split Eskom into three units as part of its rescue plan.

Meanwhile, Eskom will on Tuesday morning seek to reassure sceptical South Africans about what urgent measures it will take to dig itself out of the crippling power crisis.

WATCH: Ramaphosa’s first-hand experience of train commuter woes