Metrorail fires driver involved in Soweto train crash

Wednesday, May 25, 2011
By: 
Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria - The train driver involved in last week's train crash in Soweto has been fired, Metrorail boss, Mosenngwa Mofi, said on Wednesday.

Last Thursday, a Metrorail train which was travelling from Mzimhlophe station, towards Phomolong station in Orlando, collided with a stationary Soweto Business Express train, injuring 857 people. No fatalities have been reported.

"Disciplinary action against the driver involved in last Thursday's train accident has been completed and the driver was dismissed yesterday," said Mofi.

Mofi said the driver, who was earlier put on a 12-month warning for speeding, was traveling at 87km/h in a 30 km/h zone when the accident occurred. He is also said to have skipped two signals at danger (passing a stop signal without authority to do so).

"The safety of our passengers is not negotiable. We've agreed to take a zero tolerance approach against train drivers who pass signals at danger," he said.

According to Mofi, a total of 19 train drivers are currently facing disciplinary hearings for offences ranging from speeding to passing warning signals.

He said these acts are viewed in a serious light and swift action will be taken against those found guilty. Mofi said they will continue working with the Rail Safety Regulator in its ongoing investigation.

"Metrorail will not tolerate any deviation from the updated and strengthened safety procedures and will take stern action against any transgression by our employees. Our main mandate and commitment is to transport our passengers safely to and from their areas of work, school and recreation," he said.

Last month, on the Mabopane route, two trains en route to Pretoria collided, leaving one dead and scores injured.

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) boss, Lucky Montana, said they were concerned about the two train accidents that happened two months in succession due to human error.

"We view the accidents in a very serious light and we want to reaffirm to the public and commuters that our system is based on strict safety policies, rules and procedures," he said.