Public stranded as trains grind to a halt across EC

Issued by Marshall von Buchenroder, MPL
Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport

Shocking revelations by transport MEC Nqatha have revealed that Metrorail services have not been operational across the province since August this year.

These rail services are crucial to the public, providing much-needed transportation to and from work and a cheaper commute for our poorer communities.

MEC Nqatha, in response to a parliamentary question, revealed that Metrorail services to East London have been non-operational since 15 August 2022 and that services in Gqeberha also came to a halt on 22 August 2022.

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The passenger rail service in the Eastern Cape has been in dire straits for years, with erratic service availability due to vandalism, ageing infrastructure and broken trains.

MEC Nqatha also revealed that while the rail infrastructure belongs to Transnet, regional protection services are working with Railway South African Police Services and Transnet security to curb the vandalism of rail infrastructure.

He said an existing integrated security plan and asset protection plan is in place and is busy with a Depot fencing project.

However, this has not been enough to deter the criminal syndicates targeting our railway infrastructure, and more needs to be done if we are to get the trains moving again.

I implore MEC Nqatha to engage with his national counterpart and other stakeholders, such as PRASA and Transnet, to get Metrorail services back up and running before the festive season.

Without rail services, we are experiencing much higher traffic on the province’s roads, which could lead to increased fatalities over the holidays.

The DA will continue to fight for our communities to have access to freedom of movement and to protect their right to choose what transport they prefer.