On the 17th of May, the Department of Transport released a call for PRASA Board of Control nominations. #UniteBehind notes the urgency and importance of the appointment of a competent, permanent Board to stabilize PRASA and #FixOurTrains.
For the past two years we have campaigned for this. However, we are concerned about the time-frame given for public participation. This is in view of the current context (COVID 19 lock down). Two weeks is too short for nominations, given the pandemic which has disrupted the public’s usual ways of accessing information and participation.
We urge the Department of Transport to consider extending the time for nominations to a month. This should be complimented with publicity of the process as far and wide as possible and in ways that are fully cognisant of the limitations in the current context. An extension of the time for nominations and wide publicity may allow the commuters and public to participate in the process as envisaged by the constitution and standard democratic practices.
We are concerned that PRASA continues to deteriorate and pose more security risks and socio-economic burdens to the poorest who depend on rail transport. During the current crisis, a properly functioning rail transport can de-congest public transport and assist in the fight against COVID-19. Whereas a dysfunctional one adds to the crisis.
We therefore emphasize the need for the Minister to comply with the law and appoint competent and corruption-free individuals. We also reiterate the need for inclusion of a representative of commuters in the Board. A permanent Board will likely return PRASA to legality, accountability and #FixOurTrains.
The Board should start work as sooner rather than waiting for the end of the term of the Administrator.
We hope that the Minister will, follow through with the appointment of the Board this time. For the past year, we have observed instances where the pronouncements were not followed through with action. Sometimes the opposite was done.
Through the #FixOurTrains Campaign, we will continue to resist corruption and fight for an affordable reliable and safe commuter rail transport.
For more information contact Zukie Vuka on 065 822 5862