Our train service was once reliable and enabled many South Africans to earn a living. Now, If you are looking for a perfect example of how to destroy a strategic national asset, look no further than the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa).
This railway operator was once the most reliable and cheapest form of daily transportation for millions of commuters who needed to get to work. School children who had no affordable alternative form of transport, including this writer, were once entirely dependent on Prasa's suburban trains, now branded MetroRail, to get them to the classroom on time. Back then, it cost R1.50 for the train to town. Today the cheapest single ticket is R7.50.
Hailing down a minibus taxi, by comparison, will cost you at least R12 for the shortest distance. For millions of poor commuters the train was always the only transport available. But cadre deployment, corruption and incompetence has robbed the poor of this last asset available to them. "Metrofail" has replaced Metrorail in the experience of the most vulnerable commuters. Only the corrupt and the deployed but clueless cadres are smiling all the way to the bank.
This month, when it reports its financial...