Mbalula pinpoints leadership instability, cable theft as Prasa's challenges

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula led a briefing on Monday following early morning inspections at the Mayfair, Kliptown and Germiston train stations.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula inspects Metrorail infrastructure at the Kliptown train station on 24 May 2021. Picture: @MbalulaFikile/Twitter

CAPE TOWN - Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula said challenges at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) include leadership instability, lack of critical skills and the vandalism and theft of rail infrastructure among others.

Mbalula led a briefing on Monday following early morning inspections at the Mayfair, Kliptown and Germiston train stations. The three stations were among Prasa infrastructure recently vandalised in and around Johannesburg.

READ: Vandalism, COVID-19 derailing struggling Prasa's efforts to get back on its feet

Mbalula said that Gauteng Metrorail was currently experiencing an alarming increase in the number of reported cases for infrastructure theft and vandalism, ranging from overhead electrical lines, electrical substations and vandalism of stations and depot buildings.

He said that at the core of the unprecedented levels of vandalism was the illicit trading of copper and steel on the black market.

He added that while this had been happening for a long time, it saw an increase during the COVID-19 lockdown countrywide.

"We would have seen today that most of our trains are running on electrical capacity, in terms of the locomotives that we have. We've had to shift from that to diesel, which is very expensive for the company because of the vandalism of sub-stations."

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