The Gauteng Legislature’s Portfolio Committee on Roads and Transport expressed dissatisfaction with the measures presented by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) for COVID 19 level 3 Lockdown.
This emerged at the Gauteng Legislature where the Prasa Administration was briefing the Portfolio Committee on Roads and Transport in line with the Committee’s oversight mandate to ensure the provision of social protection and statutory services to safeguard the wellbeing of commuters in Gauteng.
As most working-class citizens go back to work, trains are expected to be operational effective from 01 June 2020. However, the Committee said plans presented by PRASA are short of a Gauteng province integrated system and could lead to a public transport disaster during level 3 COVID 19 Lockdown.
In the presentation, it emerged that PRASA/ Metrorail will only have one line in operation in the Gauteng province. This move only addresses the north Gauteng commuters and living out all other regions in the province.
Issues of safety, security, and screening measures presented by the Administrator of PRASA were not reassuring to the committee. Some of the doubts were prompted by the fact that PRASA has no indication of the average figures of their daily commuters.
“This is, therefore, making PRASA’s mitigation plans feeble as they are not informed on any context including that of daily commuters,” said Mr Dumisani Dakile, Chairperson of the Roads and Transport Committee.
He said the committee understands that PRASA is under administration and is facing immense challenges that were there prior to the lockdown.
“However, our responsibility as the committee is to ensure that all public transport in the province is ready to provide services by ensuring there is effective measures in place for the safe travel of commuters. Unfortunately, PRASA has not been convincing in their plans that they are ready to rise to the occasion,” he said.
The committee is expecting a revised presentation that is tangible, informed, and reassuring that PRASA is ready to deal with the COVID19 pandemic in trains.
The Committee has, as a result, requested the MEC on Roads and Transport, Mr Jacob Mamabolo, to convene an urgent meeting with all modes of transport institutions including PRASA to consolidate all public transport plans to be an integrated plan ensuring effective transport in the province during level 3 of lockdown.
The meeting is scheduled to take place in this week and the Committee is expecting feedback by the end of the week on the outcome of the meeting.