Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula and the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) on Thursday conducted a pre-departure inspection at the Transnet Freight Rail yard in Durban.
The pre-departure inspections such as the one conducted this morning are a critical element of safety management, as these seek to prevent accidents before they occur.
As our safety management regime matures, we continue to learn valuable lessons through these inspections and strengthen the capacity of the Regulator to deliver an incident-free environment, the Minister said in a statement.
The inspection sought to assess the condition of rolling stock against predetermined train pre-departure criteria in order to make informed decisions.
It was also aimed at investigating the robustness and efficiency of the procedures applied by Transnet Freight Rail for certifying their trains as ready for service.
In addition, the objective of the inspection was to verify adherence of Transnet Freight Rail personnel to the set standards and procedures when performing these ready for service inspections. As well as to enforce regulatory instruments where non-compliances are detected.
As custodians of safety in the railway environment, we have an obligation to ensure that railway operators adhere to the highest safety standards in line with international norms.
The Railway Safety Regulator is an agency of the Department of Transport whose mandate is to develop and enforce a robust railway safety management system for the country, Mbalula said.
In 2017/18, the RSR reported that a total number of 4 478 incidents were reported in the railway environment across all categories, representing a 10% increase from the previous year. A total of 2 360 of these were attributed to Transnet Freight Rail.
Our commitment is to implement measures that will significantly reduce these incidents over time. In order for the economy to thrive and our people to be safe, railway safety must become an integral part of our normal operations at all times, the Minister said.
The Department of Transport will later this year table before Parliament a Railway Safety Bill that seeks to strengthen the country's railway safety model and ensure tighter alignment with the South African Police Services in addressing incidents of personal safety and crime in the railway environment.
Source: South African Government News Agency