Minister Fikile Mbalula faces arrest
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula comes under fierce fire for the breakdown of Gauteng’s railway system, government moves ahead with its plan to accelerate land reform by passing the revised Expropriation Bill onto parliament.
Railway infrastructure in Gauteng has been torn apart, with trains, responsible for transporting millions of residents to and from places of employment in the province’s central business districts, unable to get back on track.
Wanton vandalism and theft have dwindled MetroRail’s services down to just three functioning corridors; Pienaarspoort to Pretoria, Tembisa to Elandsfontein and Soweto to Johannesburg. Gauteng Metrorail spokesperson Lillian Mofokeng added that costly diesel locomotives were being used as part of a contingency plan, owing to the ‘loss’ of electrical cables. Mofokeng elaborated on the dire state of affairs, saying:
“Management is concerned about the ongoing theft of cables and infrastructure components which make it impossible for MetroRail to provide reliable train services for millions of commuters.”
On Sunday, the Umkhonto we Sizwe Military Veterans Association (MKMVA) in Gauteng
called for Mbalula’s arrest , adding that several affiliated organisations — including the SA National Civic Organisation (Sanco), the Congress of SA Students (Cosas), and the SA National Cargo Transport and Drivers Association (SANCATDRA) — would embark on a march to the provincial premier’s office on Monday.
While the march is expected to deal with multiple issues, the MKMVA took direct aim at the Mbalula, saying:
“Among other issues, the march is focusing on the plight of the poor and forgotten freedom fighters, rampant corruption in the country, the demand for the arrest of apartheid killers, the arrest of transport minister for the damaged railway network, the plight of truck and taxi drivers, crime and gender-based violence.”
Facing fierce public criticism over the railway system’s collapse, Mbalula recently launched a ‘Security Plan’ — spearheaded by the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s (Prasa) — which insourced over 3 000 security guards to protect vital infrastructure.