Report calls for urgent intervention in rail safety

Railway safety in South Africa requires urgent and sustained intervention, the Railway Safety Regulator said on Tuesday.

The Regulator released its State of Railway Safety in South Africa report, which showed a high number of incidents including collisions, derailments and security-related issues.

Chief executive of the Regulator, Mosenngwa Mofi, said the report indicated that there were 2 847 security-related incidents including theft, muggings, assault and murder, as well as vandalism.

There were also 2 950 incidents of collisions and derailments.

The major contributory factor to accidents was human error.

The ageing rail infrastructure had been identified as an area that played a significant role in the lack of improvement in the state of railways.

“I think we come from a legacy off gross under-investment in the industry, and I think we are mindful of the fact that there is a lot that still needs to be done to jack up the railway system,” said Mofi, who was speaking at the National Press Club in Pretoria.

The report, already tabled in Parliament, was the first of its kind, and Mofi said it had already led to improvements by railway operators.

“While the report itself may highlight areas of concern, tremendous progress has been made during the past year to correct the state of affairs reflected in this report, and the directives we have issued to operators from time to time in order to avoid recurrence of incidents have yielded notable results,” he said.

These would be noted in the 2006/07 report, due before the end of the year.—Sapa

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