Fedusa, Untu hope rail strike will lead to soldiers protecting infrastructure

The unions are calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare the rail system a crisis and a 'state of emergency'.

FILE: Metrorail has temporarily suspended the Cape Flats and Kapteinsklip lines after a train caught fire, disrupting operation services on 29 May 2019. Picture: Kevin Brandt/EWN

CAPE TOWN - The Federation of Unions of SA and the United National Transport Union is hoping an upcoming strike will result in soldiers protecting the rail infrastructure.

The unions have called on its members, civil society groups, and commuters to take part in a demonstration on 26 July after being granted a strike certificate.

Union bosses are hoping thousands of people will take part in Cape Town, Pretoria, Johannesburg and Durban.

They are calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to declare the rail system a crisis and a "state of emergency."

Fedusa's Riefdah Ajam said they primarily want the SANDF to be deployed to protect rail infrastructure.

"We are finding that there is movement in terms of new trains that are being manufactured in South Africa but the irony of the situation is that we are manufacturing new trains yet the infrastructure that the trains have to rely on is unfortunately completely outdated."

Ajam said that having soldiers to protect national assets could help restore and bring new infrastructure in.

"If that fails to happen, we are going to continue to move on a path of destruction and Capetonians, in particular, from that perspective are going to be left in absolute despair and communities will once again be taking the law into their own hands."

Prasa said that the necessary contingency plans would be in place to ensure the demonstration doesn't negatively affect business operations and passengers.