Transnet and Prasa bury the hatchet
Johannesburg – Differences between the Passenger Rail Authority (Prasa) and Transnet over the Shosholoza Meyl have been ironed out according to a statement release by the
Shosholoza Meyl, the long-distance passenger train service, will soon be back on track following a high-level meeting between two cabinet ministers and top executives at two parastatals, Transnet and Prasa.
The department said that Barbara Hogan the Public Enterprises Minister and Sibusiso Ndebele the Transport Minister met with the head of Prasa, Lucky Montana, and the acting chief executive of Transnet, Chris Wells, on Friday morning.
Ndebele described the meeting as constructive and said the differences between Prasa and Transnet have been ironed out.
"Prasa and Transnet are working on a plan to ensure that Shosholoza Meyl is back on track as soon as possible," he said.
Transnet used to own the long-distance rail service but passed it to Prasa last year. Instead of providing a reliable service to the country, the two state-owned entities have been at each other's throats.
Transnet is supposed to maintain Prasa's trains and locomotives. Montana said it was inefficient and expensive and therefore he would not use it any longer.
Transnet says the quality of its work is acceptable and the real issue is that Prasa owes it money. It says the same work is done on Shosholoza trains, and by the same maintenance teams, as on Transnet's own freight trains, whose reliability has improved consistently.
The two state-owned enterprises were at loggerheads over the R1.3bn debt and maintenance of locomotives.
Prasa suspended its entire long distance passenger train service on August 13, 2010, claiming that Transnet Rail Engineering (TRE), Transnet's division, had refused to perform maintenance work on its locomotives.
Transnet insist that Prasa owed it R1.3bn, saying this debt is "due and payable".
The meeting sought to resolve the impasse between Prasa and Transnet.