Johannesburg - A day after one of South Africa's worst rail disasters, Masabata Rannyane was desperately trying to determine whether five of her family members, including her nine-year-old daughter, were among the dead. Since Thursday afternoon, she has been frantically rushing between her Virginia home and hospitals in the Free State in search of her sister, brother-in-law, nephew and niece, who had been travelling with her daughter Puseletso. By Friday afternoon, Rannyane had just one more hospital to check before all hope was lost. “I don't know what to do. I need help,” she told the Saturday Star. On Friday, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) was clearing the accident scene and attempting to establish the cause of the derailment, which killed 19 passengers, including four children, and left 138 injured.5 posts and 4 image replies omitted. Click reply to view.
The RSR issued the directive against Prasa, after an investigating into the crash between two Metrorail trains at the Elandsfontein Station on 1 June 2017 revealed that the two trains were authorised into a section at the same time, thus indicating poor management and unsafe execution of the manual authorisation process. Manual authorisation was necessary because the signals were not working due to cable theft. A commuter was killed, and more than 50 others injured in the crash.
The RSR issued the directive in terms of Section 36 of the National Railway Safety Regulator Act No16 2002 (as amended) for abnormal working conditions, that is, manually authorising train movements, which led to the Elandsfontein train collision.
Failure to comply with the Directive is an offence in terms of Section 45 of Act 16 of 2002 as amended, (National Railway Safety Regulator Act) and will result in criminal charges and/or a penalty being imposed in terms of the Penalty Fee Regulations 2011 as amended.
Harris says that the RSR has no teeth and should have suspended the railway services in Gauteng unless the signals were working. “How can we sit back and blatantly allow innocent train crew members and commuters to put their lives at risk knowing that death is a likelihood? UNTU, who represents most employees working for PRASA, will leave no stone unturned until justice is done,” says Harris.
UNTU warned the RSR on 14 December 2017 that it is failing its duty to South Africans.
According to Wessels both the injured commuters can also submit civil claims for amongst other their injuries and loss of income against the RSR and PRASA.
“The time has come that South Africans stand up to the maladministration of state-owned enterprises and watchdogs that is funded with tax payer’s money without adhering to any of its Constitutional obligations,” says Harris.