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An argument the government repeatedly uses to justify the e-toll roads is that we – motorists – should not be driving around in cars, we should be using public transport. Yet, by and large, public transport is a death trap. We know that about taxis: even though the death rate is comparatively low, per passenger kilometre travelled, the numbers of people who die when these vehicles crash is horrendous. Now, it has emerged that the commuter trains operated by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) – which carry hundreds of thousands daily – are just as deadly. Apart...
An argument the government repeatedly uses to justify the e-toll roads is that we – motorists – should not be driving around in cars, we should be using public transport.

Yet, by and large, public transport is a death trap. We know that about taxis: even though the death rate is comparatively low, per passenger kilometre travelled, the numbers of people who die when these vehicles crash is horrendous.

Now, it has emerged that the commuter trains operated by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) – which carry hundreds of thousands daily – are just as deadly.

Apart from the fact the organisation does not even have sufficient critical safety equipment – such as replacement brake shoes – available, it is also operating without up-to-date signalling systems.

This means that signalling – the most critical safety aspect in a rail system – is being done manually … and causing accidents. People have already died because of this and many more are under threat.

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula needs to get away from his smartphone and stop tweeting platitudes. He needs to start firing those responsible and replacing them with competent people.

If he does not, the blood of dead passengers will be on his hands.

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