In 2018/19, 284 people died after being struck by trains. When people face aged infrastructure, assaults, crime and death on South African trains, MPs questioned what the Railway Safety Regulator was doing to keep commuters safe.
When the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) appeared before Parliament's Portfolio Committee on Transport this week, the message was clear: what are you doing to keep the railways safe? This came as MPs interrogated the entity's financial statements.
The regulator, which is mandated to issue and manage safety permits for rail operators such as the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) and Transnet, quickly came under fire from MPs over the elephant in the room: the challenges commuters -- their constituents -- face while travelling on the rail network in South Africa.
ANC MP Nkosinathi Mangcu told the delegation from the regulator, including its CEO and Chief Financial Officer, that keeping the railways safe "has been a dismal failure".
It's not surprising -- in the entity's State of Safety Report 2018/2019, there had been 9,268 reported security-related incidents across South African railways. Additionally, there were 223 reported injuries as a result of being struck by a train.
The United National Transport Union (Untu) has...