South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union (SATAWU) commends newly appointed executives at the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) for the swift manner in which they dealt with problems on the Western Cape’s Central Line last week.

Prasa’s newly appointed acting Group CEO Cromet Molepo and acting CEO of Rail Mthuthuzeli Swartz moved swiftly this week to form a steering committee after a vandalised section on the Central Line caused a test train to derail. The train was testing the line in preparation for re-opening after service was suspended for a week following the murder of a security guard at Chris Hani station, Khanyelitsha.

A day prior to the derailment, Molepo and Swartz had convened a meeting of stakeholders including SA Police Service (Saps), labour unions operating within Prasa, SATAWU and Untu, and other interested parties. In that meeting, stakeholders agreed to restore service to the line which caters for commuters from Khayelitsha, Philippi, Mitchell’s Plain, Bishop Lavis and Langa. As a result of the meeting, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) would be signed between Prasa and Saps to reintroduce railway police to safeguard commuters, employees and rail infrastructure, Molepo said.

But unbeknownst to those attending the meeting vandals had cut out section of copper wire on the line subsequently causing the test train to derail.

Unruffled, Molepo and Mthuthuzeli went to assess the damage the next day (Thursday) and later held another stakeholders meeting where a steering committee comprising representatives of Prasa, Saps, labour unions and their federations Cosatu and Fedusa, and the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) was formed to address the various challenges facing the rail agency in the Western Cape.

SATAWU commends Molepo and Swartz for putting in place stringent security measures on the line – something SATAWU in the Western Cape has been calling for since 2016. Sadly, our calls fell on deaf ears, as Prasa regional management refused to act even after Saps offered new recruits to reinforce security on the Central Line. To date those new recruits were never assigned to protect the Central Line, which also happens to be the city’s busiest. The recruits were, however, posted on the Southern Line which services the predominantly white affluent suburbs, leaving commuters on the Central Line, which runs along less affluent parts of the city to endure criminality daily.

Given Molepo and Swartz have already set the standard, we expect them to continue delivering. We therefore call on them to address the historical imbalances regional management has so far been happy to perpetuate and ensure that railway police are proportionally assigned based on need.

We also call on Swartz, under whose direct authority rail falls, to address overcrowding on trains.

SATAWU looks forward to working together with these two executives as they continue the hard task of turning Prasa into an entity that provides safe, reliable and affordable transport service to millions of South Africans.

For media queries or to arrange an interview contact:

Jack Mazibuko
Coordinator SATAWU CEC Task Team
+27 51 813 9025


Zanele Sabela
SATAWU Media Officer
+27 11 403 2077


It Is NOT #Metrofail

People vote for your future and mine, they make choices based upon opinion and not fact. This is what scares me about democracy – that reason sometimes have to yield so that delusion may flourish.

Free speech is a right, not a duty. It has to be used with circumspection.

Human nature is to be negative, destructive. It takes civilization, evolution, self-control, not to become destructive savages. Some people are just that – savage, if only with the tongue.

Discrimination abounds, one fifth of the nation live with some form of disability or another and suffer a most terrible silent discrimination.

If all were of a specific race, would that still have been the case? Yet a top provincial leader openly used them as a political pawn and went on to call me “clueless” on Twitter. So I proved her wrong and did the job she was called upon to assist with. Former Minister Dipuo Peters, Prasa ACEO Mthura Swartz shone in reaching out to the forgotten, voiceless sector of the community. They stepped in where the private sector, in this case the Golden Acre, dismally failed.

So much for the Prasa critics. It is so easy to gang up the Earl September and Brett Herron, even Helen Zille, way and be outspoken hypocrites. To such, I say: get your act together as you are part of the problem and by no margin a way to a positive outcome.

Show some real, pro-active leadership and be selfless.

It was easy to be oblivious, to not seem to notice, to allow harm to be done while looking the other way. Terrible leadership, whitewashed with a sudden zeal to prosecute the perceived offender into submission. Failing to realise who the victim is. Just another proof that discernment is in deficit at the top.

It would take a commoner without any social standing to see truth.

Central government’s disinvestment over three decades, their passivity in funding and protecting our essential services, was followed by an arrogance at provincial and government levels. When it was time for leaders to employ the troops when #FeesMustFall or #RhodesMustFall spilled over, resulting in arson, sabotage, looting and common vandalism, they remained mum.

The hooligans found unexpected support in the form of passive onlookers who seemed blissfully unaware of the micro civil war raging between the lines. Railway lines.

When these leaders finally woke up, it was to beat all and sundry going by the name of Prasa, fiercely into submission. Did they ever realise that it were their own communities, not even Metrorail, that were the real problem? That they gave licence to this radical culture of destruction by being passive onlookers, or just even just passive. For onlookers are prone to notice.

Society follows the bad examples set by said leaders and influencers, then replicate. Negativity abounds in the city of Whineberg.

Did Zille, De Lille, Herron or September bring forth anything constructive, did they bring positive news of rebuilding our railways?

No! They want to take control yet cannot even properly manage their own heavily subsidised, often-failing service. Perhaps if Brett Herron sees in the blind spot of his own Jo-Hari window, the beam my be less obfuscated.

I have on good authority that tabloid “journalist” cum activist Earl September travels on a FREE monthly Metrorail ticket but bites the hand that feeds him. It is disgusting to see how a journalist can harass, pester, to get attention drawn to himself. It reminds of the transport manager with toilet paper holding his buses together.

People make public displays of their own importance. If only they were as diligent in getting a real stitch of work done.

If people took themselves out of the equation, did not try to score political points but really attempted to benefit society through fair and just, also diligent, service delivery, perhaps we could see a turnaround in Prasa, especially in Metrorail.

We are South Africans. We, not government, own all national assets. These are given to government to manage on our behalf. Political leaders are public servants whose duty it is to manage our communal property for our benefit. They are servants, not masters. The aforementioned, egotistic “leaders” are in positions well above their pay grade. I have, in the past, proposed to them the idea of leading by example, in showing others how to resign.

Meanwhile, we have basic and essential needs to address. Cape Town has 700,000 commuters to transport every day. That equates to 8,750 buses, yet absolute idiots even in leadership positions ask Metrorail: “Why don’t you provide buses instead?”

Imagine that. A magic wand and abra kedabera, 8,750 buses appear instantly. Of course, in the minds of the delusional free speakers, this won’t affect the already congested roads at all. This kind of logic reminds of the travel guru who said that Voëlvlei was 500m deep.

Such people vote for your future and mine. Such people become public servants by the grace of such votes. A few instantly morph into despots, dictators, autocrats. Who gang up instead of teaming up.

So, can we fix Metrorail?

Loot the stores of Shoprite every day, kill their staff, set their stores on fire. How long will you have food?

Metrorail is still providing a rail service, despite rolling stock badly vandalised, staff constantly having to duck to avoid being hit by flying objects, verbal or material. A tenacious lot, these Metrorailers.

There is a spark left, kindle it, nurture it, bring it on, let the fiery passion of the #RailLoveRevolution grip your heart.

Stand up for Metrorail.

Stand up for what is yours.

The Old Man and the School Mistress

There once was an elderly gent who had to take the kids to school on his donkey cart every day. He served his community as best as he could and, so many times, the farmers in that area refused him a better wagon or faster horses so that he could transport their children and their farm workers’ children more efficiently. They just ignored his pleas and just added children from more farms and villages to be transported.

The wagon he had was really getting old, the donkeys too. Then, one night, someone stole one of his twelve donkeys. Soon after, the wheels were stolen from the wagon and he had to find another. They sawed chucks out of the seats or just stole them, took the wheel nuts, even an axle once. Every time, the old man had to find a spare part or two, even when he had very little money, yet he believed to take the kids to school. As, who else would have?

One morning, he saw that even the workers’ kids had killed and eaten his best donkey. His bridles and reins were cut to pieces by vagabonds. Nobody wanted to help him and few even paid him.

One day, the school mistress became angry because the kids were always late. She went to the judge and asked that he gets fined for not doing his duty, despite much of his work having been a free service. Of the twenty kids that went on each trip, only four really paid the fee, the others just stormed his wagon and jumped on board. The kind old man never could chase them off as he was a good man not given to violence.

Eventually, the school mistress stood ready to whip the old man. She never educated the kids, never taught them manners, same as the parents.

One night, the old man passed away in his sleep and his donkeys only knew his voice, refused to pull the wagon.

So, everybody had to walk.

Premier Helen Zille wants to hold Prasa accountable for lack of service delivery without understanding the problem, just as she had shown before. But then, she made a comment that perhaps fits, at another time she acted inappropriately. Yes, cane people into submission, whip them when they can’t drive a car with a stolen engine. I wonder why it had taken her so long to wake up to the problem and why she did not intervene to help save the old man and his wagon instead of taking him to the judge.

Beating The Train #levelcrossings

There are upward of 7,500 level crossings in South Africa. No country has the money to replace all of these with road bridges. Neither is it affordable pr even practical to fit all of these with automated booms as our expansive rural regions simply don’t have electricity all over. We have also seen that, at the Albertyn Road level crossing at Muizenberg, Cape Town, an obstinate truck driver tried to skip through the automated booms and practically ruined it, causing tremendous cost and discomfort to passengers, roughly for a year to follow.

Level crossings are fitted with signs, which every K52 or K53 driver will know is a STOP sign. If only vehicle drivers would be disciplined enough to heed to that.

On January 5, 2018, a truck driver tried to beat a train. Arrogance, ego, stupidity, lawlessness – and so far, it killed nineteen people and injured 254. A day later, motorists whined on social media because their municipality had set up a speed camera. Speed kills, period. Speeding across level crossings calls for a particular margin of sheer stupidity. You cannot beat a train, but you can do it and murder many in cold blood.

We grew up with level crossings and respected them with an acute reverence. That was fifty, sixty years ago.

The level crossings are still there, of necessity. To many, this is their only access route between home and the big world out there, even if your world doesn’t go beyond Rondomverskrik or Regtigverdwaal.

Relatives of my late grandmother’s were always very careful. In darkness, worsened by a thick fog, once looked left, then right, left again and slowly drove forward, straight into a stationary train! It remained a family joke, to repeat their conversation every time we encountered a railway crossing.

People are less careful nowadays. If one visits any of these level crossings, it is almost scary to see that most vehicles don’t even reduce speed, let alone STOP when the sign indicates so. Rules are there to protect and mischief leads to disaster.

The day before the accident, shown in the picture, had happened, a car hit an oncoming train at a level crossing in Cape Town. A week prior to the one depicted here, the very same train driver was part of a team raising awareness for road & rail safety at this very same level crossing. A month prior, I was a passenger on this very same train and saw, at this level crossing 1,100km away from home, how a father with his young children on board, sped towards the crossing to try and beat the train to it. Sheer arrogance, recklessness, to place one’s loved ones at such an unnecessary risk. The train is roughly five hundred metres long and moves at around 60km/h, so anyone needs only to wait a few seconds for it to pass. Why risk lives by trying to cross the railway line before the train does?

At the time of this accident, I was a passenger on another train and saw where a train had hit a stray pedestrian. The train did not swerve, as trains can’t – they are directed by the railway lines. As these rail tracks are meant for trains, best advice is to give them a wide berth. Two serious accidents in one day, caused by people disrespecting the rules of society. There is an adage that “rules are there to be broken” but this is false dogma and it can be fatal. As the stray pedestrian discovered much to his own destruction. As his body lay between the railway tracks, I could not but help to wonder how their loved ones would react to the sad news.

I told a friend about my experience earlier this morning and he then told me that his sister had died this way.

Lots is being said on social media about the Police needing to be more strict – why do we adults need cops to turn us into good citizens? If only we lived according to the official rules of society, this world would have been a better place. Why is it always someone else’s fault, never just our own?

Dice with death and your gamble may fail. I hope that your Last Will & Testament is in place and that your passwords are where your next-of-kin can find it.

Look for trains!

Cape Town on a Shoestring

Not all locals or visitors are affluent enough to afford luxury tours, yet you can see the very best even on a  shoestring budget. My wife and I usually do this every three months or so, here is my latest review.

Please do visit but also share, as so many miss out on this when they visit South Africa.

My blog review of the #Southernline



Waar Die Treinspoor Ophou

As die treinspore in die sand verdwyn, weet jy dat jy aangekom het op Simonstad!

Soveel maal in die verlede, oor die afgelope 42 jaar, het ons as gesin hierdie lekker treinrit onderneem. Dis toe ek nog aan huis van my ouers was. Daarna, sowat dertig jaar gelede, het ek en my vroutjie vriende oortuig om dit saam met ons te doen. Vele treinritte na Simonstad sou volg. Elke rit bly vars in my geheue. Daarom dat ek dink dat geen mensdie moet misloop nie.

Binnelanders kan gerus die tipe ding aandurf wat ons weer op Sondag, 16 Oktober 2016 gedoen het. Sommer vroeg die oggend was ons op die stasie en het ons die Day Pass gaan optel. Dagpas? Ons dra pas want ons reis eersteklas! Met dié slim kaartjie ry jy heeldag lank, soveel jy wil, waar jy wil, wanneer jy wil op die Simonstadlyn. En die lae prys van R36 (Oktober 2016) bly immergroen. Jy betaal geen bloue duit meer nie.

So klim ons toe mos af by Muizenberg. Of Amuzingberg soos ek my geliefde

ou kusdorpie graag noem. Daar is te veel dinge om te doen, ons gaan weer

hieroor gesels. Ek sal weer ‘n draai gaan maak en die drade daar optel.

My jy kan gaan leer branderski, of vis eet, stap op die myle lange

strande af, daar is die Zandvlei waar jy kan gaan braai vir die

dag….te veel om te noem.

Maak soos ons en raak voetvaardig met die netjies gepleisterde

betonpaadjie na St James. Dis so ‘n outydse myl oftwel 1,6 km ver en

selfs geskik vir ouer mense en ander, soos ek, met beperkte mobiliteit.

As dit nader is, of verder, gaan dit jou nie pla nie.

By St James kan jyvir jou ‘n kleurvolle kleedkamertjie huur en gaan baai in die lekkergroot getypoel. Wanneer die Noorkaper-walvisse aandoen, is dit maklik om hulle vanaf die rotse waar te neem, veral regoor die stasie. Hierdie

kolosse is baie nuuskierig en hou graag dop wat op land aangaan. Die

rotse aan die Kalkbaai-kant van St James is redelik regaf en die see

diep, derhalwe swem die walvisse na aan die kus. Noorkapers kry hulle

naam van die Noorse Kaap en is nie “noordkappers” soos wat mense op RSG

hulle noem nie. Dag ek seg maar net.

Vanaf St James het ons die trein geneem tot op Simonstad, maar langs pad

baie foto’s geneem want jy sien soms net die see as jy afkyk. Min plekke

op aarde bied jou ‘n treinrit wat soms soos ‘n bootvaart voel. By

Simonstad raak die spore weg in die sand en jy gaan later weer

daarvandaan terug Kaapstad toe, maar verder is jy aangewese op ‘n lekker

stap. Neem gerus die motor wat HGTS Tours so gerieflik op die stasie

aanbied. John het ons geneem na die Quayside Sentrum, waar ons middagete

by Harbourview Restaurant genuttig het.

Toe eet hierdie Bolander mos iets anders as waterblommetjiebredie! Eers

het ons ‘n Griekse slaai gedeel met olywe wat so lekker was dat my vrou

glad daarvan geëet het! En Deense Fetakaas daarby, lekker sag en

romerig. Toe kom die regte kos!

Vir mevroutjie was daar net mooi presies die heel beste stukkie stokvis

met calamari. Nou kyk, daardie stokvissie is agterna oor en oor

getakseer en so het hy moes kompeteer met Salty Sea Dog naasaan se

uitstekende stokvis, of met Lusitiania in Waterkantstraat (Kaapstad se

middestad), of met die uithaler-stokvis van Manny De Gouveia se Da Gama

Fisheries in Van Rieebeckstraat, Kuilsrivier en selfs met die befaamde

twee viswinkels op Worcester, wat landwyd bekends is: Heuwel Vissery en

Lamouette. Na meer as ‘n uur het ons besluit dat Harbourview tog die

wenner is; die vis is net meer perfek as die ander se perfek. Ag nee,

man, nou sit ek in Seepunt en skryf en Simonstad is aan die ander kant

van ons geankerde eiland!

Bolander soos ek, Blootvoet daarby, ken toe mos nie vir bok se kind nie.

Van sien, ja, ook van sien hoe die geelkatte van die wildtuin hulle

plattrek. Maar toe is dit my beurt. Nee, daar was nie leeus nie, maar

genoeg vleis om ‘n trop gelukkig te hou. My baard is af maar ek speel

toe maar maanhaar en eet al te lekker aan die wonderlikste stukkie

rooibok daar. En toe wei ‘n koedoe homself onder my mes in. Vlakvark het

kom kyk en ook nie oorleef nie. Hulle is binnetoe. En baie lekker

daarby, veral die rooibokkie. Murgsag, man, maar ek beveel die hele

drie aan – Three Game Medallion. Amper by Kaappunt, kan jy dit glo?!

Vir die effense Ingilse kultuurtjie durf my vrouwtjie toe die Apple

Crumble aan en dit was heerlik. Maar tradisievaste Afrikanergelowiges

hou mos by die bekende; ons eer nie vreemde afgode nie en dus het ek

oordadiglik eer betoon aan ‘n lekker skep Malvapoeding. Net soos Ma se

poering het dit gekom met twee bolle roomys daarby. Maar, Boera, was dit

nou vir jou agter die oor!

Geurige koffie, lekker milde Arabica smaak dit my, het die dag se

eetverrigtinge formeel afgesluit.

En dis hoe ons Wêreldvoedseldag op Simonstad gaan vier het. Hoe ry doe

trein, hoe ry die trein, Simonstad se trein! (Askies, Kimberly.)

Toe nou, moenie in Kaapstad kom rondflenter oor Desember en my verkla

oor julle nie weet hoe om die dag om te kry nie. As ek nou nog so ‘n

draai of twee gaan ry het, sal ek beter idees gee van alles tussenin

Muizenberg en Vishoek. Daar is nog ‘n wêreld om te gaan ontdek!

Metrorail maak dit maklik!