Rail safety regulator to issue temporary permits

The Railway Safety Regulator is to issue temporary safety permits to eligible operators later this week, the statutory watchdog said on Monday.

The body was established by an act of Parliament in 2002 to promote safety and ensure railway operations were effectively overseen, managed and co-ordinated.

Mpho Litha was appointed chief executive two months ago.

As a first step to issuing safety licenses, temporary permits will be granted to the rail operators who have committed themselves to adhere to at least minimum safety standards.

Litha said that with the establishment of the regulator, all operators are now required by law to be licensed. An operator will have to develop its safety management system in accordance with the guidelines specified by regulations.

“This [would] end the situation in which the operator is both referee and player at the same time,” Litha said in a statement.

“The regulator will oversee safety by conducting audits of the safety management system; by inspection; by carrying out accident investigations. We will analyse accident reports from operators, and accident trends.

“We will also benchmark operators and consult with interested and affected parties,” she said.

More than 200 operators, including Metrorail, Spoornet, Shosholoza Meyl, heritage railway steam clubs and surface railways would be issued temporary safety permits from Friday.
- Sapa

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