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Services restored to WC rail network after Metrorail pays bill

Eskom cut supply earlier because Prasa was behind with its January bill.

Commuters are standing outside the Cape Town train station on 27 February 2020 after services were suspended due electricity non-payment to Eskom. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN.

CAPE TOWN – Following the suspension of trains in the Western Cape on Thursday afternoon due to non-payment to Eskom, the power utility has now confirmed receiving payment from the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) with power restored.

Eskom cut supply earlier because Prasa was behind with its January bill.

Eskom spokesperson Sikonathi Mantshantsha said they terminated supply after lengthy negotiations. But, the acting regional manager for Prasa in the Western Cape, Raymond Maseko, said they were still in talks with Eskom when the power was cut.

“Those engagements were very positive and we had very good discussions in terms of them giving us time to make the payment. We did actually indicate to Eskom as late as yesterday [Wednesday] that the money was being made available and they shouldn’t cut power supply,” Maseko said.

COMMUTERS STRANDED

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula Is expected to visit Cape Town train station in the evening after the region’s entire rail system was suspended.

“I need to explain to the people how did that happen and how we are going to overcome this,” Mbalula said earlier on Thursday.

The minister was speaking at a meeting with warring taxi association's in Paarl and was expected to address the matter in full in the evening.

At the same time, commuters were left stranded. Scores of people were standing outside the train station after being told services were suspended.

The doors of Cape Town train station were shut with no commuters insight, and security guards were turning people away, saying they had to take alternative transport.

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