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PICS: Cosatu, #UniteBehind protest over Western Cape 'transport collapse'

PICS: Cosatu, #UniteBehind protest over Western Cape 'transport collapse'
Cape Town - Hundreds of members from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and the civil society #UniteBehind led a march in the Cape Town CBD on Thursday morning in protest against what it called “the transport collapse in Cape Town”.

The unionists were calling for an improvement in the province’s public transport system, and raised issues regarding challenges in the public transport sector.

Cosatu provincial secretary Malvern de Bruyn said: “The current situation with Metrorail is a terrible burden to workers and something must be done.”

“It is a protected strike and the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) has granted Cosatu a Section 77 certificate to proceed with the strike,” said De Bruyn.

#UniteBehind organiser Zukiswa Vuka said: “It is crucial for us to support the strike and demand an affordable and reliable commuter rail service, especially for women, children and the elderly. We have said it before... a commuter safety plan is needed.”

Vuka said the rail network had deteriorated, trains were overcrowded and unsafe and workers were bearing the brunt of the system’s dysfunction.

“They constantly arrive late to work because of the trains, and this has led to people losing their jobs or getting warnings.

“Also, we believe that if the train system is fixed, we can help climate change as rail is among the most efficient and lowest emitting modes of transport,” she said.

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) provincial acting regional manager, Raymond Maseko and Dikeledi Magadzi Transport deputy minister accepted the memorandum of demands from provincial leadership of Cosatu.

Magadzi thanked Cosatu for engaging with the government during last week’s meeting and today’s march and urged workers to continue working with the state, to ensure progress.

Magadzi briefed the unionists about the GoGeorge agreement facilitated by Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and the resumption of discussions on the MyCiTi project. She also provided an update concerning the closure of the Central Line rail corridor as well as its recovery plans. 

"The Ministry of Transport will continue its engagements with all stakeholders regarding transport challenges in the Western Cape and is confident that amicable solutions will be found and implemented swiftly," Magadzi said.

@MwangiGithahu

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Cape Argus

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