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Civil society groups call for CT rail crisis be declared a national disaster

#UniteBehind, Equal Education (EE) and the United Transport & Allied Trade Union (Untu) have raised safety concerns after a learner was killed between Salt River and Woodstock.

FILE: Commuters outside a train in Philippi after a man was electrocuted, prompting delays in Metrorail train services in the area. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN

CAPE TOWN - Civil society groups are again calling for the rail crisis to be declared a national disaster.

#UniteBehind, Equal Education (EE) and the United Transport & Allied Trade Union (Untu) have raised safety concerns after a learner was killed between Salt River and Woodstock.

According to Metrorail, preliminary reports indicate that the 16-year-old fell from a moving train while attempting to jump from one coach to another.

EE said over the past few months, they've joined forces with #UniteBehind to urge government to fix the trains and increase safety measures.

The organisation said that thousands of learners, like the Gugulethu teenager, depend on trains to get to school.

Equal Education's Nontsikelelo Dlulani said they have to endure overcrowded trains, delayed trains and unsafe trains daily.

“Because they are desperate to get this education, they have no other choice but to go and use those overcrowded trains. Young people are dying and we as Equal Education want government to start fixing the trains.”

Meanwhile, the Untu’s Sonja Castens said following a number of commuter and rail worker incidents over the past year the rail crisis must be declared a national disaster.

“We want the president to declare the state of Prasa as an emergency.”

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