Court Compels PRASA To Adhere To The Safety Requirements Of RSR

The United National Transport Union (UNTU) issued a media statement today, welcoming the order of Judge Cassim Sardiwalla in the North Gauteng High Court - compelling the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) to adhere to the safety requirements of the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR).

The Court acknowledged the importance of PRASA’s obligation to ensure that it provides a safe and reliable service for the workers who have to operate it and for the commuters who rely on trains to commute. Judge Sardiwalla according to the media release, described this case as a matter of national importance.

The minister of Transport Dr Blade Nzimande, has  been added as a the third respondent in the matter. This means that the Minister, to whom both the RSR and PRASA account, will be held accountable to the Court to ensure compliance with the order. 

The legal teams for PRASA and RSA have drafted a comprehensive plan to address safety issues and this plan has been made an order of the court. Part of the plan to limit the risk of human error will see that manual authorisations are overseen been by both a train control officer as well as a section manager.

PRASA has also been ordered to provide the RSR with a comprehensive integrated asset condition assessment report of all its rail infrastructure, including stations, perway and civil, level crossings, signalling, telecoms and rolling stock, by no later than 1 March 2019. This according to Harris, will allow all the stakeholders to get a true reflection into the state of PRASA for the very first time.

In addition PRASA is to submit a procurement plan with timelines and milestones to the RSR by 30 October 2018 and must submit a comprehensive Safety Improvement Plan to address all safety issues by no later than 30 November 2018.

Harris says that PRASA is still prohibited from using its new urban commuter train without prior written approval by the RSR. Currently the RSR only allows this train to operate on the route between Pienaarspoort and Pretoria as part of a pilot project.

The RSR won’t allow PRASA to roll-out the new rolling stock until it is satisfied that the passenger rail operator can secure the railway lines as this train reaches its maximum speed of 120 km per hour within seconds.

“PRASA is compelled to provide the RSR and the Registrar of the Court with monthly written feedback report of its progress. Judge Sardiwalla will continue to manage the case and will convene a general compliance assessment conference with the parties on 19 June 2019 at 10:00.” said Harris 

UNTU will monitor the implementation and will continue to keep an updated timeline of all safety related incidents occurring in PRASA. Harris says the Union will put its intended Court application on hold to see how the order of Judge Sardiwalla unfolds.

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