Over R76 million lost to theft, vandalism of train stations in Gauteng, commuters forced to fork out more money for transport

It is extremely concerning that Metrorail in Gauteng has lost R76 810 980,00 due to vandalism and theft at its train stations during January 2020 and February 2021.

In addition, during this period, 271 Motor Coaches and 336 Plain Trailers were vandalised resulting in a total cost R810 800,00.

Currently, there are only six out of 17 lines operating due to this.

This information was revealed by the MEC for Transport, Jacob Mamabolo, to my questions tabled in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature.

According to the MEC, 4000 additional security guards will be deployed nationally by the Passenger Railway Agency of South Africa (PRASA) during this month and there will also be the additional deployment of security guards to Mabopane Corridor as part of the Presidential projects.

The vandalism of trains in our province is putting additional pressure on our already constrained transport system in the province, while also placing an additional financial burden on our commuters who use trains on a daily basis to and from work.

Out of all the public transport available, travelling by train to and from work is the most cost-effective way to commute on a daily basis.

For a long time now, the Democratic Alliance (DA) has been calling on the Gauteng government to establish a dedicated railway police unit to help safeguard and keep our train infrastructure secure from criminals.

Where we govern in the Western Cape, PRASA has signed a memorandum of agreement with the government for the formation of a dedicated enforcement unit which focuses solely on the safety and security of train commuters and infrastructure.

The DA will continue to demand that a similar agreement be reached in Gauteng. Our commuters deserve to have a public transport system that is safe, reliable and gets them to work on time. A transport system that works efficiently will ensure that we have an economy that works.

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Prasa failing to protect its infrastructure

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is concerned that the Prasa rail infrastructure in Gauteng is being pillaged and the company is not doing anything to protect its assets.

The damage has been so severe that Metrorail can no longer service the commuters of Gauteng and can only operate on one line, Pienaarspoort. Even this line had its services interrupted due to cable theft.

Prasa will maintain that that their services are limited due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the truth is that this is a veiled excuse. The company’s security, including the railway police, have failed to protect its infrastructure to the point that it can no longer operate its services in the province.

The latest example of this is the cable theft that happened on the line in Lyttleton in the early hours of Monday morning. The stolen cables, ready and cut for collection, were found by a local resident on Monday morning. He alerted Prasa who sent out an investigator.

See pictures here here  here  and here

What Prasa requires is a proactive strategy to protect its infrastructure or else its trains will never run in Gauteng again, leaving 5% of the province’s commuters stranded and placing undue pressure on other modes of public transport in the province.

I call on Prasa’s administrator to step in and arrest the rampant theft that will cost the company millions of rands, it does not have to repair the damage. Gauteng requires the services of this important public transport provider if it wants to restart its economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

DA welcomes Prasa arrests

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng welcomes the arrests of a Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa is a South African (Prasa) manager and a former employee found in possession of R2 million worth of railway equipment. Prasa’s services in Gauteng has been brought to a halt due to theft and vandalism of its infrastructure to the point that only one of their lines, Pienaarspoort, is currently operational.

The DA estimates that the damage to and theft of infrastructure, especially during the lockdown, runs into tens of millions of rand, a price tag the agency cannot afford.

This is once again confirmation that the protection of railway infrastructure in Gauteng requires urgent improvement to prevent a break in services. A combination of technology and police services should be used to protect railway infrastructure in the province.

If this does not happen, Prasa trains will not find their way back to their tracks and Gauteng commuters will be left stranded. It will also place pressure on other straining public transport systems that will struggle to absorb the additional load.

Public transport is a key economic determinant in Gauteng, the country’s economic powerhouse. It is therefore crucial that all public transport in the province operates at full capacity if we wish to grow the economy in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Urgent attention must be given to the protection of Prasa’s infrastructure. If this does not happen it will have dire economic consequences for Gauteng and the country.

Metrorail has collapsed in Gauteng

Prasa’s Metrorail service has totally collapsed in Gauteng. The service that was scheduled to open today on the Pienaarspoort line was unable to do so due to cable theft.

Prasa had previously announced that with the lifting of lockdown levels it will only start operating the Pienaarspoort line due to coronavirus considerations. However, Prasa is hiding its real problems behind the coronavirus.

The real reason Metrorail cannot reopen in Gauteng is because Prasa has neglected and failed to protect its infrastructure. Infrastructure failure combined with high levels of theft and vandalism is preventing Metrorail from resuming services in the province.

It is unlikely that Metrorail will be able to resume its full services once the pandemic has passed in the province due to the scale of the collapse of its infrastructure.

The DA calls on the Prasa administrator to come clean to the commuters of Gauteng about the true scale of its problems and why it cannot resume operations in the province.

More stringent measures needed to curb train accidents

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is calling on the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) to put more stringent measures in place to ensure that train accidents do not occur.

Prasa has been experiencing numerous incidents including train accidents, cable theft, vandalism and the burning of trains.

In the latest incident, a Premier Classe passenger train collided with a stationary goods train between Roodepoort and Horizon Station in Johannesburg.

One passenger was airlifted to Milpark Hospital but later died, while the other four injured passengers were taken to Krugersdorp Hospital.

This is one of many incidents which highlights the need for our commuters to be given a safe, reliable and affordable public transport system.

Commuters who are solely dependent on the services of Metrorail are always at the short end of the stick because they now have to make alternative transport arrangements.

The DA would like to extend its deepest condolences to the family of the deceased and wish those who were injured a speedy recovery.

The DA will continue to put pressure on the MEC for Roads and Transport, Jacob Mamabolo to liaise with the National Minister of Transport, Fikile Mbalula to speed up the process of handing over the Prasa services to the province. This process will ensure proper maintenance and security of our trains.

PRASA, SAPS should work together to increase security at public transport hubs

The Democratic Alliance (DA) in Gauteng is calling on the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) and the South African Police Service (SAPS) to increase security at public transport hubs in the province.

It is crucial to ensure the safety of those who use public transport as this will ensure that learners, workers and jobseekers are able to travel to-and-from their destinations and keep our economy going. If we allow the rail system to collapse this will add further congestion on the province’s roads.

Citizens will be hesitant to use public transport unless it is safe. Train services in the province have seen a decline in ridership. When commuters feel unsafe, they will increasingly avoid public transport in the province.

It is high time that the Metrorail service is handed over to the province as this will ensure that that service runs adequately and that there is sufficient security.

We will also be writing to PSIRA to investigate the behaviour of the security guards. Security guards should be held to a high standard due to the important work they do. Such behaviour is unacceptable and security guards guilty of damaging property and endangering the well-being of the public should have their registration revoked.

The DA will be tabling questions in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature to ascertain what progress has been made in getting the National Department of Transport to handover the running of Metrorail to the province.

PRASA funding to pay SANRAL debt highlights ANC inefficiency

Reports in this weekend’s City Press indicating that funds will be cut from struggling Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) to bail out the failing e-toll system once again highlights the fact that the ANC does not care about the plight of our people, nor do they have the aptitude to fix the country’s dilapidated transport systems.

Millions of commuters use rail to get to and from work and school.

Trains are frequently late, over-crowded, plagued with technical issues and are hotspots of crime.

The Bill that seeks to divert funding from one dysfunctional mode of transport to rectify the ill-conceived e-toll system clearly shows that there is no understanding of the hardships that commuters face on a daily basis.

The DA will continue to fight this unjust taxation of our people, but we will also not allow those who make use of our country’s ailing rail infrastructure to be disadvantaged by the poor choices of the ANC.

Gauteng has over a million cars registered and on the road, which means that there is revenue through motor vehicle renewal fees. Ring-fencing a portion of the fuel levy will aid in paying back SANRAL’s debt.

Robbing Peter to pay Paul is not how prudent financial management of the public purse is exercised.

E-tolls must go and our infrastructure must be upgraded to accommodate our people, but as it stands, neither of these two imperatives will be addressed.

Prasa shifting blame by dismissing Mountain View train driver

The dismissal by the Passenger Railway Agency of South Africa (Prasa) of one of the train drivers involved in the Mountain View train crash is shocking. This shows that Prasa is once again shifting the blame from itself to an employee who was a victim of Prasa’s failing infrastructure.

Rail Safety and the safety of passengers is the responsibility of Prasa. Prasa must be held to account for the lack of maintenance and safeguarding of crucial infrastructure necessary to ensure the safety of passengers.

The manual signalling of trains is becoming the norm because of cable theft and the lack of maintenance of train infrastructure. It is unacceptable that the train driver of one of the trains is being held accountable for something that was beyond his control.

It is clear that that the financial loss of R928 million due to corruption and mismanagement at Prasa recorded for the 2016/2017 financial year is clearly having a negative impact on Prasa’s operations.

The ANC is putting commuters’ lives at risk on a daily basis and is not in a position to provide safe and reliable public transport to the residents of Gauteng.

The only way we can ensure that our rail system is safe is by handing over the day-to-day running of Metrorail to the provincial government.

The DA will continue to hold Prasa to account, until such time that they can prove that they take the safety of train commuters seriously by fixing what is broken.

Under a DA-led government we will establish a Rail Enforcement Unit with resources from provincial government, local government and Prasa.

In the Western Cape, the Rail Safety Unit has been successful in ensuring that commuters are kept safe, trains are not vandalised and cable theft does not occur.

Gautrain Expansion Plans Continue To Exclude Majority Of Gauteng’s Commuters

Gauteng Legislature Roads and Transport Committee

Disclosures in the Gauteng Legislature Roads and Transport committee regarding the expansion of the Gautrain should be fully investigated as a matter of urgency.

The current, yet to be released, feasibility study will conclude that expansion is feasible given sufficient funds.

In the 2015/16 financial year the Gautrain enjoyed a subsidy of R1.56 billion. This is set to rise to R1.8 billion this year and consumes a sizeable portion of the Department’s R6.4 billion budget.

Whilst it is important to plan for the future transport needs of South Africa’s most populated province, it must be done in the most cost effective way possible while catering for the greatest number of passengers.

Gautrain fares are priced at too high a premium over PRASA rates, and cater for the more affluent, not for the majority of the provinces commuters.

Gautrain Management Agency

Auditor General staff criticised the Gautrain’s ridership contract, highlighting that it was poorly negotiated and stating that “even if the Gautrain was running 24/7/365 at full capacity the ridership guarantee would be payable”. This is strong criticism of the Department and its legal advisors.

Additionally, the underground network has only one tunnel which severely limits the number of train sets. The short-sighted approach of the designers, probably dictated by a huge escalation in construction costs from the original figure of R6-7 billion to over R32 billion, deserve to be criticised.

The Gautrain Management Agency is now hinting that only they can do extensions to the rail network as PRASA is still reeling from controversial purchase of locomotives which were too high for the overhead power lines.

The much needed rail links to the north-west of Johannesburg and Mamelodi to Naledi must enjoy priority

However, this cannot be done with an ailing fiscus. It cannot be resolved with the proposed Gautrain expansion plan, as high fares will continue to isolate the majority of commuters.

The DA will continue to monitor this issue to ensure that affordable transport services are prioritised over empire building exercises.


Media enquiries:

Dr Neil Campbell MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport

082 387 2540

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DA Debates 2016/17 Gauteng Department Of Roads And Transport Budget

Speech by: Neil Campbell MPL

“Roads and Transport budget will not get Gauteng moving”

  • Despite some departmental successes in the past year this budget fails to address urgent problems.
  • Corruption lurks in the Transport Department yet a budget plan to eliminate it is lacking.
  • The West Rand’s inferior transportation infrastructure requires long overdue improvement. But is Gautrain expansion the answer? Gautrain tickets cost more than PRASA’s and are unaffordable to most commuters as the recent Household Transport Survey revealed.
  • Premiere Makhura talks opposition to corruption yet it finds refuge in the Transport Department, right under his nose.

The full speech can be obtained here.


Speech by: Justus de Goede MPL

“Public transport not meeting demands”

  • What happened to the “radical” transformation we heard so much about over the last year? The Department’s spending framework for the year certainly doesn’t reflect that.
  • Subsidies are falling behind operating costs and new solutions will have to be found to keep routes from being abandoned.
  • Research estimates that for each Rand of investment spent on public transport, between R 4 and R 9 in benefit resulted.
  • This should be a wake-up call – our public transport systems are not keeping pace with strong and rising demand and need urgent attention.

The full speech can be obtained here.


Media Enquiries:

Neil Campbell MPL

DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Roads and Transport

082 387 2540


Justus de Goede MPL

DA Gauteng Spokesperson on Transportation

060 558 8305

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