RSR Confirms High Court Order Regarding The Suspension Of Prasa’s Permit

The Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) hereby confirms that the High Court has held over the suspension of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (PRASA) safety permit imposed by the Regulator on 5 October 2018.

The RSR suspended PRASA’s safety permit in terms of Section 26 of the National Railway Safety Regulator Act, No. 16 of 2002 (as amended). Section 26 states that the Chief Executive Officer of the RSR may, with the approval of the Board, revoke or suspend a safety permit if the holder fails to comply with any conditions of the permit. 

The RSR’s decision came as a result of the accident that took place on 4 October 2018 and was further informed by the fact that PRASA Rail cannot demonstrate that it has the ability, commitment and resources to properly assess and effectively control the risks arising from its railway operations. PRASA was afforded 48 hours to wrap-up its operations and to inform all its customers, employees and contractors of the RSR’s decision to suspend its permit.

On Sunday, 7 October 2018, the PRASA Board sought an audience with the RSR Board, while filing court papers which were served to the RSR around 11h00, at the same time as the meeting.  The RSR was expected to file its answering affidavit by 13h00 on the same day. In light of the fact that PRASA had already made an urgent application to the High Court, the meeting could not proceed due to the impending court application.

The court considered the fact that the RSR was not afforded sufficient time to respond to the urgent application and granted parties more time to file their papers including their heads of arguments. Parties are expected to report to the court on immediate steps to address safety issues on 9 October 2018, where after the matter will be heard on 11 October 2018, which was yesterday and we await to hear the outcome. 

The Regulator is, therefore, unable to tolerate the continuation of unsafe practices within PRASA, considering that PRASA mainly serves the poorest of the poor with no alternative means of transport to travel to and from work. They should, therefore, not be made to choose between that and life.

The RSR is committed to its mandate and will continue to ensure that safety remains central to railway operations at all times.

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