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'Fiks' the rail network: Mbalula promises action at Prasa within 90 days

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula took a train from Chris Hani to Langa on Tuesday morning, but because of a train accident near Nyanga Station, he had to be shuttled there from Philippi Station.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on a train with Khayelitsha commuters on Tuesday morning, 25 June 2019. Picture: @MbalulaFikile/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Khayelitsha train commuters called for action from government, not just promises on fixing and restoring the rail network.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula took a train from Chris Hani to Langa on Tuesday morning, but due to a train accident near Nyanga station, he had to be shuttled there from Philippi Station. Two women had been struck by a train.

A lack of safety and delays were some of the main issues highlighted by train commuters from Khayelitsha.

Mbalula told passengers that government was working on addressing problems on the rail network in the Western Cape. He acknowledged it wouldn’t be an easy task.

Meanwhile, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) group chief executive Nkosinathi Sishi said they wanted to keep the Cape Town Rail Enforcement Unit. But Prasa is only left with a few days left to renew a contract with the city and Western Cape government.

WATCH: Commuters want more than empty promises from Mbalula

Sishi accompanied Mbalula on his train ride. More promises were on offer from the minister to fix the rail network.

He said: “We are going to bring stability at the leadership level of the boards and in particular at Prasa. We are going to bring sustainability. We are going to bring knowledge and skills and a no-nonsense leadership that has got skills and capacity. That, you are guaranteed, is going to happen in less than three months”.

Both women who were struck by the train died and police have registered death inquest dockets.

Frustrated commuters said they had heard promises of fixing the rail network before and don’t want words, instead they want to see action.

People say Mbalula is going to come here today. I don’t know for what. [Is it] to solve the problem or just to say something? I want him to tell us straight what’s happening. What he’s going to do. That’s all,” one commuter said.

(Edited by Mihlali Ntsabo)

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