#UnitedBehind demands rail crisis be declared a national disaster

Supporters chant "Fix our trains, no more delay"

#UniteBehind staged a peaceful protest in front of the African National Congress (ANC) regional offices in Cape Town on Wednesday to voice their grievances against the rail service crisis and to demand that it be declared a national disaster.

Last week, as Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) rolled out two new trains at the Cape Town Train Station, the coalition addressed a letter urging President Cyril Ramaphosa to make the declaration.

Head of Western Cape Equal Education Nontsikelelo Dlulani said until the new trains are made available to commuters, they would remain meaningless. She urged the ruling party to act and protect commuters.

“We’re here today to say the ANC must stand up and hold the Minister of Transport, Blade Nzimande, accountable to fix the trains and that the President should declare this situation a national disaster so it can be taken seriously,” said Dlulani.

The safety of commuters has been a concern for years. Some reports include sexual assault, train accidents, robbery, and death. Last year Keeno Abib lost his life when he fell off a moving train while running away from robbers. Last week two lives were lost on the tracks: a young pupil, Simo Maninginingi Kwepe, and Fabian Karels.

“We believe if trains were effective and they were safe and operating in the right way, Simo would be alive today,” said Dlulani.

Ten #UnitedBehind activists met with ANC Western Cape elections leader Ebrahim Rasool to request a response to the letter the organisation had sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa last week.

One of the ten, Nkosikhona Swaartbooi of Ndifuna Ukwazi, said Rasool saw #UniteBehind as an ally to help clean the corruption within PRASA and the government.


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