The United National Transport Union (UNTU) plans to hold a national protected strike to highlight the continuous issues linked to ailing parastatal Prasa.
This decision follows almost 10 months after the Public Protector announced that she would conduct an investigation to determine the causes behind the countless attacks on Metrorail in the Western Cape, to which nothing has materialised.
The strike is scheduled for the 26th July 2019.
UNTU Spokesperson Sonja Carstens said it is high time that something is done to better the security at the service provided to ensure the safety of commuters and staff members.
“The application for the protected strike was submitted by UNTU to allow all South Africans to get involved to indicate to government and that we had enough of the poor quality of the passenger rail system in South Africa and that we expect decent, reliable and safe services,” she said.
Carstens said with all the issues highlighted over the last year, Metrorail remains the most trusted form of transport.
“Compared to other forms of transport, not only is Metrorail the most economical, it is also safer compared to other modes of transport and it has a lower rate of fatalities compared the other service providers,” she stated.
Carstens said although a lot has been done to improve the service provider in the Western Cape, a lot more needs to be done.
“The rail unit has prevented a lot of crime and many arrests and convictions took place over the last year which improved the service, however, the general issue is that PRASA cannot fight this battle alone. It is the constitutional mandate of the police to protect South Africa and its citizens as well as its assets including state-owned enterprises funded by tax payer’s money,” she said.
Carstens said former Minister of Transport Blade Nzimande said by 15th April this year a permanent CEO would be appointed to take over at the rail agency but to date nothing has happened.
“There is a lack of political will to do anything and it should be addressed. So many people rely on the service provider, but we are not seeing any improvements to better the service provider,” she reiterated.
Carson said the no work no pay strike called by UNTU will take place in Cape Town, Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Johannesburg on the 26th of July 2019.
“It is time we stand together to bring about change. Let’s unite behind one cause to ensure a safe and reliable service for all,” she said.