Prasa wants more funds to save service

view original post

Cape Town – The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has revealed it will need at least a billion rand in security funding yearly for the next three years to ensure ongoing recovery efforts are not hampered.

Prasa acting chief executive, David Mphelo said the transport department would have discussions with the National Treasury on their behalf for the transfer of R6.9 billion of capital funding to operational funding.

Story continues below Advertisement

“Prasa has enough capital allocated for modernisation and recovery.

However, all we ask is permission and authority to transfer funds into operational funding.

“This would assist us to alleviate a lot of operational challenges we are experiencing,” he said.

Story continues below Advertisement

On Wednesday, Mphelo, alongside Prasa chairperson Leonard Ramatlakane, briefed the National Council of Provinces’ Select Committee on Transport (NCOP) on a progress report on modernisation of passenger rails and rehabilitation of the passenger rail network of priority corridors.

Mphelo said when security contracts were halted in 2019, this opened the door for vandalism along corridors across the country and the pandemic escalated the theft issue, leaving infrastructure damaged.

This has also impacted Metrorail’s operating revenue as paying passengers saw a decrease from 646 million in 2008/09 to 147 million 2019/20.

Story continues below Advertisement

“We are now faced not only with recovery including train services but also rebuilding of infrastructure in corridors.

“There is a need for operational funding to sustain the environment and security challenge,” he said.

Prasa has 40 corridors. However, only 18 are functional. Of the 12 corridors in the Western Cape, 6 are functional.

Story continues below Advertisement

Mphelo said the Central Line, which was a priority line, is expected to have trains running starting July 26 as part of Phase 1 recovery programmes.

“The big challenge in this line are the informal settlements in the Langa area. This stopped trains travelling after Langa affecting stations including Nyanga up to Khayelitsha.

“With Phase 1 we are working to get the trains to move from Cape Town to Langa and from there into Bellville.

“Cape Town to Langa through Mutual is now operational.

“We are collaborating with other stakeholders now to resettle people and we are hoping this will (be) by November so that we can meet the target of Phase 2 recovery in December,” he said.

Ramatlakane said the rail business was known to be hard and facing challenges.

Committee member Timothy Brauteseth said Prasa should also consider decentralising train services to provinces.

Cape Times