Johannesburg - The
Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) resumed some long-distance
services on Monday after suspending operations last week
in a dispute with Transnet, an official said.
"Prasa has started maintaining their own locomotives at the various
rolling stock depots in order to immediately resume servicing
our customers," said Prasa spokesperson Nana Zenani.
Prasa announced last week that it would suspend its Shosholoza Meyl
long distance service and blamed Transnet for the problem.
It said Transnet did not provide proper maintenance services and caused
severe delays to Shosholoza Meyl trains by giving preference to
Zenani said Prasa hoped to have several routes reopened soon.
"So far, the Johannesburg to Cape Town service long distance service
has resumed its services along with Johannesburg to Durban. Further
travel routes will be reopened soon," she said.
Talks between Prasa and Transnet continued to try and sort out the
"Prasa and Transnet leadership are currently engaged in talks to find
long-term and lasting solutions to the current impasse,"
Prasa CEO Lucky Montana criticised Transnet in a statement on Monday
"Prasa is not receiving quality and reliable services from Transnet
to enable it to render decent train services to passengers,"
"It will be difficult to continue to run these services when service
levels are deteriorating on any given day."
Montana said Prasa paid Transnet "huge amounts" for maintenance and
additional amounts for access to the Transnet network.
"It is totally unacceptable that Shosholoza Meyl's on-time performance
stands at 35%, with passengers experiencing delays
of up to 12 hours (daily) due to failure by Transnet to do its
work despite its high prices."
Zenani said an agreement was made in April 2009 when Prasa took over
the running of Shosholoza Meyl that long distance trains will be
guaranteed access on the lines historically operated by Transnet.
"In addition, Prasa gave Transnet the first right of refusal to take
over all engineering works such as the servicing of locomotives,
the inspection of locomotives, refurbishing of trains and
access to the system in order to run the long distance trains," said
"A capped amount of R300m per annum was agreed upon between
Prasa and Transnet and over R461m has been paid by 15
July 2010, the rest of the amount awarded stands in dispute between
the two entities."
Zenani said Prasa had asked Transnet for an itemised invoice for services rendered, which Prasa was yet to receive.
"The situation is untenable... Our reputation is being tainted," said
But Transnet has denied all the allegations.
In a statement on Friday, Transnet said there were no maintenance
or other disputes behind the suspension.
While there were significant payment delays and pricing disputes,
Transnet continued to provide maintenance and upgrade services
to Prasa, said Transnet spokesperson Mboniso Sigonyela.
Transnet blamed Prasa for a backlog in maintenance, which has led
to 70 locomotives awaiting maintenance.
"Numerous attempts by Transnet officials for Prasa to address this
serious matter have been unsuccessful and the situation continues,"
Sigonyela said on Monday that he had nothing to add to Transnet's
The Democratic Alliance said on Monday Prasa had several problems
to deal with.
"The first is a chronic lack of funding and the second is mismanagement
of what little funds it does have," said DA MP Manny de
Freitas in a statement.
"It is time to seek alternatives. The DA believes that the most likely
solution to Prasa's under-resourcing is a public-private partnership
deal whereby certain state-owned assets and operations, such
as Shosholoza Meyl and Metrorail, should be transferred to the private sector."