Prasa slammed for re-using old brake blocks, putting commuters' lives at risk
An unannounced inspection at a maintenance facility found that the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has no new brake blocks available for the replacement of worn brake blocks on its trains.
The inspection was carried out by the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR).
The Democratic Alliance (DA) says it's seen a letter sent to Prasa on 22 January in which it's ordered to address the crisis and come up with a permanent solution by 4 February (Tuesday past).
The embattled rail agency was placed under administration in December last year.
On the Afternoon Drive show, John Maytham speaks to DA Deputy Shadow Minister of Transport, Thami Mabhena.
He says they've had access to "harrowing" photographs which show Prasa technicians scratching in bins of used brake pads to find any that can still be used as replacement pads.
What their technicians discovered was that in actual fact Prasa was re-using old, worn out brake pads or brake blocks on their train sets.Thami Mabhena, DA Deputy Shadow Minister of Transport
That's a situation that's just unimaginable, just crazy... It is putting the lives of many South Africans and many commuters at risk on a daily basis.Thami Mabhena, DA Deputy Shadow Minister of Transport
Mabhena says, in addition to this shocking discovery, the technicians also found that not enough oil was available to lubricate train wheels.
He adds that the DA has written to both Prasa and the RSR requesting they make public their plans to address the problem, but has received no feedback.
The Afternoon Drive team's requests for comment have also met with no response.
Mabhena says the DA will pursue the matter urgently with the portfolio committee on transport
We will also be calling on the Prasa administrator as well as the minister to come and appear before the committee to also just brief the committee.Thami Mabhena, DA Deputy Shadow Minister of Transport
If at all there are no new brake blocks, then I think in the interim if there is no permanent solution found or they're unable to replace the worn out brake blocks with new blocks, then I think there's no other option that they need to temporarily halt the service in order to preserve the lives of commuters.Thami Mabhena, DA Deputy Shadow Minister of Transport
Listen to the conversation with Mabhena here:
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