DA demands local control over commuter rail

Staff Writer | Apr 25, 2019
Western Cape Democratic Alliance (DA) premier candidate Alan Winde calls for the province and City of Cape Town to be given control over the local rail network.

Cape Town’s Metrorail – a logistics lifeline on which large numbers of people in the region depend –  is currently run by the Passenger Rail Association of South Africa (PRASA), but the DA says it should be given to the city and provincial authorities to manage.

The DA argues that the province and city have demonstrated an ability to deliver efficient and effective governance, and could bring this to bear on the local rail network.

Addressing journalists at the Cape Town station, Winde – currently the MEC for Community Safety in the province, and the party’s Premier candidate – said: ‘We can have a safe, fast, reliable and cheap transport system. We want good management of new infrastructure, to appoint the right people for the job and to transform management completely. We just need to be allowed to manage it.’

He blamed poor management at PRASA for the current difficulties.

PRASA has long faced allegations of corruption and mismanagement, along with issues relating to vandalism, crime and infrastructural deterioration. President Cyril Ramaphosa made headlines in mid-March when attempting to take a rail trip between Soshanguve and Pretoria – the train broke down, leading to an hours-long delay. This, part of the daily reality for hundreds of thousands of South Africans, causes not only severe inconvenience, but can place people’s employment or prospective job opportunities on the line.

The retention of control by central authorities of services that are provided within specific and unique local contexts has been an ongoing source of controversy since the transition to democracy. South Africa’s governance system denied key powers – notably that of the fiscus – to the provinces. Policing, which is generally regarded as best organised on a local level, has also been retained as a national competence.


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