The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) says the leadership vacuum that has been created by the protracted failure to appoint a permanent Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and a Board at thePassenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has aggravated a plethora of operational problems at the parastatal, notably the series of fatal railways accidents in which passengers have either been killed or seriously injured.
Hardly a week after 18 passengers were killed and more than 100 seriously injured when a train collided with a truck and burst into flames last week in the Free State, more that 200 commuters were injured in Germiston on Tuesday when a passenger train crushed into a stationary locomotive.
FEDUSA General Secretary Dennis George slammed the lack an ethical leadership ethos among the current crop of Prasa management, most of whom are occupying their positions in an acting capacity.
“They don’t care about serving the people; they are only interested in which tender goes to which person,” George said.
Last year FEDUSA filed a Section 77 at NEDLAC decrying the lack of competent and ethical leadership in major state owned enterprises including Prasa. Prasa has been cited to attend the NEDLAC Section 77 meeting on Monday in Johannesburg.
Enraged by the Germiston train accident, the United National Transport Union (UNTU), FEDUSA’s affiliated in passenger railway sector and the majority union at Prasa has called on authorities to charge both the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) and Prasa with attempted murder..
“Enough is enough, RSR and Prasa acted reckless by allowing trains to be authorised manually once again knowing very well that poor management and the reckless execution of the manual authorisation had resulted in a crash between two trains at the Elandsfontein Station on 1 June 2017 and a commuter was killed,” said UNTU General Secretary.
“RSR has no teeth and should have suspended the railway services in Gauteng unless 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 they could be killed”.