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Off the rails: Over 1,000 train collisions took place in SA in 2018

Minister Fikile Mbalula has released a safety report, compiled by the Railway Safety Regulator.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula inspects the train that was involved in the Eerste Fabrieke train station collision. Picture: Abigail Javier/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has revealed over 1,000 train collisions took place on the country's railways last year, which was a 2% increase from 2017.

Mbalula released a safety report compiled by the Railway Safety Regulator on Wednesday.

Mbalula: Transport dept is fixable because my name is Fiks

He said that painted a grim picture about rail safety in the country, adding that the poor record of safety in the rail industry was alarming.

The Railway Safety Regulator recorded 1,027 collisions, with 588 people struck by trains.

“Behind the scene, why has this not been fixed? Who is in charge? We need to attend to this,” Mbalula said.

Prasa acting CEO Nkosinathi Sishi blamed ailing infrastructure for the lack of safety.

“We’ve got an old infrastructure. It’s about 60 years old and beyond its cycle.”

The minister said he would announce an action plan to deal with safety issues at Prasa.

MR ‘FIKS’ IT

Mbalula said he was confident in his abilities to clean up Prasa. He said the railway agency was plagued by allegations of corruption, a lack of leadership and the squandering of public funds.

The minister said Prasa would be one of his top priorities in his first 100 days in office.

Mbalula described himself as the right man to get Prasa back on track, adding that Prasa was infamous for all the wrong reasons.

“Because my name is ‘Fiks’. If we can’t fix it with colleagues here, then we need to ship out. We are not here to waste time. I can assure you within the next 100 days, it will not be the same again.”

He added: “Trains are not fixed, and signals are not working. People were appointed but things are not working. We need to monitor this.”

TRANSNET TROUBLES

Meanwhile, the state capture commissions has heard how Transnet’s decision to restructure a R12 billion loan has cost it hundreds of millions in additional interest. All the while, a Gupta-linked firm was paid handsomely in commissions for facilitating the deal.

Corporate finance expert Jonathan Bloom was giving evidence at the Zondo commission on Wednesday. He was hired by the commission to investigate several of Transnet’s contracts with companies, such as Regiments Capital.

“As a consequence of the way things were structured and implemented, this would result in significant cash fees for Regiments and the cash flow for the counterparty at the expense of Transnet.”

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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