South African Transport Minister, Blade Nzimande has blamed corruption in the activities of security companies for this week train crash.
The minister questioned the role of the security firms for their inability to secure railways signalling equipment,directing that henceforth “No security company must get a tender from Prasa if it is not able to demonstrate what it has done in order to be able to deal with this.
Nzimande said the accident caused R21m in damages.
Four people died and 620 other commuters were injured when two trains collided near Pretoria’s Mountain View train station.
“I believe that if we are able to sort out security between Prasa security and the police and working with the communities, we can actually find a solution and close these leakages of people who think they are just going to be getting cheap tenders.
“I don’t know how do people sleep when we’ve got a tender and people are mourning today. They’ve got their loved ones in mortuaries.”
Nzimande said cable theft led to signalling systems going down, forcing train drivers to use manual authorisation. A manual authorisation is when the two control officers in different stations are not speaking to each other and allow train drivers to continue on their route.
Nzimande wants Prasa management and the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) to compile reports on the crash in the next few days.
“How come we are spending so much money on security, yet we continue having cable theft? … It looks like it’s business as usual
“We have got state-owned companies being looted, being skinned, and these are the products of it. People are suffering. It’s ordinary working class people who are being killed.”
Prasa suspended trains running between Pretoria, Mabopane and De Wildt until further notice. Buses will transport commuters who have valid weekly and monthly passes until Prasa reopens the line.