TRANSPORT MINISTER, DULLAH OMAR'S, WARNING AFTER THE TRAIN ACCIDENT IN DURBAN
Minister of Transport, Dullah Omar, has conveyed his condolences to the families of those who died in yesterday's train accident between a Metrorail passenger train and a stationary Spoornet goods train about 70km from Charlotte's Dale, north of Durban.
Omar also expressed his sympathies to the injured and wished them a speedy recovery. He said immediate steps would be taken to thoroughly investigate the causes of the accident. He said all rail authorities are working together with the assistance of the police to investigate the matter. Omar said the South African Commuter Rail Corporation (SARCC) has undertaken to provide assistance to the bereaved families and the injured.
Omar raised serious concern about the number of train accidents that have caused loss of life, injury and grief to passengers and their families. He said he was not satisfied with the current situation, which effectively locates both operations and regulation within operating companies. "It should be noted that both Metrorail and Spoornet are service providers, they are players in the business. I cannot allow them to be referees at the same time," Omar warned.
"To address this problem, my Department has now completed draft legislation for the establishment of an Independent Rail Safety Regulator for South Africa. This will take the form of an independent agency with the legislative power and enforcement capability to effectively monitor and manage all areas of rail safety risk. I will be submitting the Bill to Cabinet and then to Parliament shortly. Once set up, I am confident that the new body will ensure that rail safety standards are raised to internationally accepted norms, Omar assured the public.
"The South African government is committed to ensuring that South Africa's rail system is safe," Omar said.
Contact: Mike Mabasa at 083 680 7048
Issued by: Ministry of Transport, 6 February 2002