South Africa’s train stations are not only in a dilapidated state, more than 35% of them have no electricity at all, compromising the national rail operator’s ability to get trains back on the tracks.
The Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) manages 487 train stations, of which 174 have no electricity.
There are, however, 313 with adequate power supply.
In Gauteng though, Prasa faces massive problems as nearly half of train stations have no electricity.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has revealed that 142 stations – 101 in south Gauteng and 41 in north Gauteng – have no electricity.
Only 63 stations have adequate electricity in south Gauteng, and 27 in the northern parts of the province.
Gauteng has one of the country’s largest rail networks, with over 200 stations.
These figures were contained in Mbalula’s response to DA MP Thamsanqa Mabhena’s written parliamentary question on station infrastructure.
In KwaZulu-Natal, only 10 of the province’s 102 station do not have adequate power supply. Although train operations are yet to return to normal, 92 stations have electricity.
The Western Cape, which has been plagued by train torchings and vandalism, has 109 stations with electricity.
Out of a total of 124 stations, only 15 have no power.
In the Eastern Cape, seven out of 29 stations have no electricity and have a limited service operating – 22 stations have power.
Meanwhile, commuter organization Unite Behind has welcomed Mbalula’s decision not to appeal a Western Cape High Court judgment involving Prasa administrator Bongisizwe Mpondo.
Last month, the court handed down a judgment setting aside Mbalula’s appointment of Mpondo.
In statement, Unite Behind’s Zukiswa Vuka welcomed Mbalula’s decision not to appeal the court’s judgment.
Vuka also said the National Treasury’s move in appointing Badisa Mashego as an interim accounting authority at Prasa “came at the right time”.
“The decision to seek intervention on the matter by the high court sought to ensure that there is stability within Prasa’s management. The judgment encouraged a sense of appropriate appointments that would not be contested when it comes to decisions made pertaining to Prasa’s functionality. As a result, Prasa would be free of political influence and no longer vulnerable to looting of funds created by poor management,” Vuka said.
“The dominant belief held by many that intervention by the court’s order would reverse any progress made so far, remains a matter that misleads the significance and importance of the judgment. Prasa has suffered from poor management which cannot be left unchallenged as it poses a threat to the existence and effective functioning of Prasa.”
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