Untu calls Railway Safety Regulator reckless after train fatalities spike by 36%

More than 280 people were killed after being struck by trains during the past financial year and just over 220 were injured.

FILE: A train collision near the Elandsfontein station in Johannesburg. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The United National Transport Union (Untu) on Wednesday said it was shocked by the State of Railway Safety report.

The document was released by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula on Tuesday.

More than 280 people were killed after being struck by trains during the past financial year and just over 220 were injured.

The union's Sonja Carstens said: “It’s quite clear that the Railway Safety Regulator is basically reckless in allowing the Passenger Railway Agency of South Africa to continue with train services across the country when you have fatalities that have increased by 36%. We will always say, one life lost is one too many and that is totally unacceptable to us.”

The report also revealed that injuries that came as a result of operational incidents, which included derailments and accidents, had increased to 2,660. That was a 23% increase from the previous financial year.

The safety report once again highlighted the plight of commuters who risked their lives each time they travelled on the trains. Trains that continued to face a multitude of problems included broken infrastructure, arson, and vandalism.