CONCERNS ABOUT MOVING FUNDING FROM RAIL (PRASA) TO ROAD (SANRAL), CALL FOR URGENT RESOURCING OF RAIL
9 July 2019 10:05 a.m.
Dear Portfolio Committee On Transport,
We write to express our deep concerns about the government’s plan to divert funding from the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) to the South African National Roads Agency (Sanral).
According to media reports, a bill that would make provision for R2 billion of Prasa’s budget to be shifted to Sanral was discussed this week by Parliament’s Standing Committee on Appropriations. This follows a disturbing precedent of November 2018, whereby R3 billion of Prasa’s funding was moved to Sanral. While last year, the Department of Transport requested the shifting of funding from PRASA citing that the SOE was ‘not in a position to spend’, this time, the reason is to cover the e-toll debt. We understand that PRASA has not been able to spend its capital allocation, but that is because there has been no disaster management plan. Government cannot starve PRASA of desperately-needed capital.
As #UniteBehind we firmly believe that commuter rail is vital and should be the most affordable, efficient and convenient form of public transport. However, it has been crippled by a decade of corruption and maladministration. R24billion has been lost through corrupt tenders.
We have also been calling for a national disaster to be declared on commuter rail for more than a year. This will unlock government funds to be able to sustain PRASA and commuter rail. Diverting government funds away from PRASA will make it even more difficult to #FixOurTrains.
Commuters are often late for work and pupils are also lose on of school time because of constant delays and cancellations. Commuters lose their jobs and sometimes even there lives on the trains in the overcrowded and unsafe conditions. Women are sexually harassed on a daily basis.
We call upon your Committee to ensure that Government's priority is on rail and not the roads. Commuter rail is vital to growing our economy as well as tackling climate change. It is also what millions of working-class commuters rely on to get them to school and work across the country. We simply cannot allow commuter rail to fail.
#UniteBehind is a coalition of people's movements joined by legal, policy and research organisations working for a just and equal society where the people share in the country's wealth and our environment is protected for future generations.
For more details please contact Mmeli Dube on 0658694583 or via email.