Today President Cyril Ramaphosa took a train ride in Soshanguve, in what can only be described as a publicity stunt ahead of this year’s elections. The ANC has not shown any leadership on the rail crisis and has allowed our people to fall victim to a broken system which has claimed thousands of lives.
Daily, people are robbed, in trains and across trains stations due to the lack of safety measures to allow commuters to travel without fear. In addition, many lose their jobs because of delayed and derailed trains.
President Ramaphosa’s delayed ride today encapsulates what is exactly wrong with the system and the governing party. People are suffering daily at the hands of the ANC, and once every five years, politicians use their pain as an electioneering tool.
The Democratic Alliance (DA) has made numerous calls for President Ramaphosa and the failing ANC government to intervene in the myriad of crises which engulf our country’s railway services to no avail. Train delays, chaos and crime have become the order of the day on our trains.
Just last year, the DA handed over a memorandum to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), calling on PRASA and Minister Blade Nzimande to urgently intervene with regards to the state of rail transport. We are yet to receive a reply. What is clear is that there is no political will to solve this crisis, and the ANC does not know what needs to be done to turn Metrorail and PRASA around.
Added to this, President Ramaphosa has now become a stuck record, claiming he did not know how dire people’s lived experiences have been. He has apologised for power cuts and for rampant ANC corruption, as though he did not sit idly as the Deputy President who presided over a government which has – through its actions and inactions – killed South Africans. The broken rail system is one such example.
The DA is the only party that can build One South Africa for All and solve the train crisis. A DA government will ensure that there is provincial control of Metrorail and we will upgrade Metrorail to ensure a safe and reliable system for all passengers.