President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to visit the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) in Cape Town next week where he will be briefed on efforts to improve commuter services.
The meeting, set for Tuesday, will allow the President and the agency to look at ways to stimulate economic activity and industrialisation through PRASA’s modernisation programme, the Presidency said on Friday.
The President’s visit to Cape Town follows his recent personal experience of commuter frustration and technical problems with rolling stock between the Mabopane and Bosman train stations in Pretoria earlier this month.
During an engagement with commuters, the train on which the President was travelling broke down, turning a 45-minute journey into a three-hour delay.
On Tuesday, PRASA will take the President through elements of the 20-year modernisation programme which aims to revitalise the rail industry through local manufacturing of parts, maintenance, the establishment of training facilities, the achievement of 65 percent local content, and training and skills development for PRASA employees and young people interested in the rail industry.
Furthermore, President Ramaphosa will observe the testing of new train sets that were manufactured locally.
The new trains will be deployed on upgraded infrastructure, as part of PRASA’s Rolling Stock Fleet Renewal Programme that will see the manufacturing of more than 7 000 new trains over a period of 20 years – or close to 30 per month.
The Presidency said the visit is part of government’s commitment to providing safe and sufficient passenger rail services that will benefit commuters and the economy is reflected in its investment of more than R170 billion.
This will to ensure that passenger rail services offer modern, safe and reliable trains for commuters, faster trains which will increase capacity of the network, improved overall safety of trains and reduced energy costs as well as improved, predictable and reliable services to passengers.