Pretoria – The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has set aside R20 million to compensate those who were injured when two passenger trains collided at Denver Station, last year.
At a media briefing in Pretoria, on Monday, Chief Executive Officer of Prasa, Mosenngwa Mofi, said more than 200 people have received a pay-out since the accident.
On 28 April, at around 7:10am, at the station which is in the south eastern part of Johannesburg, a Business Express Train collided with the rear end of a MetroPlus Express Train.
As a result of the collision, 240 injuries were reported from both trains.
The driver of the Business Express train was seriously injured and is still recuperating from her injuries while a Metro security guard in the MetroPlus Express train died.
Transport Minister Dipuo Peters had directed the Railway Safety Regulator (RSR) to conduct an investigation into the cause of the accident.
On Monday, the Minister released the findings of the RSR board of inquiry on the Denver Train Station collision.
According to the report, there was a power failure which affected the normal functioning of the George Goch CTC telephone lines as well as the trunk radio system.
Due to the power outage, the VoIP telephone and trunk radio system were not functioning at the time of the incident. The voice recording system was also not functioning at the time, said the report.
Minister Peters said the driver of the MetroPlus Express train stopped at signal “DN11” as a result of his inability to clearly see the aspect of signal “DN11.”
“After stopping, the driver proceeded to contact the local George Goch Centralised Traffic Control Office [CTC] to request a directive or authorisation to proceed,” she said.
Minister Peters said the MetroPlus Express train was protected by signal DN2 which at the time of the accident was displaying a danger or red aspect.
“Signal DN1, which precedes signal DN2, was displaying a yellow aspect, which served as a caution to the driver of the Business Express Train 1602 to take certain actions from a train handling point of view, in order to stop at the following signal, should that signal display a danger aspect.
“Whilst in the process of contacting George Goch CTC, Business Express Train 1602, which had been proceeding in the same direction as MetroPlus Express Train 0600, passed a signal displaying a danger aspect and collided with the rear-end of MetroPlus Express Train 0600,” Minister Peters said.
According to the report, the cause of the collision under review can be attributed to human error on the part of the driver of the Business Express Train 1602, who was speeding and failed to apply breaks timeously to avoid the collision.
Other findings by the RSR board of inquiry included a lack of maintenance, ineffective communication, human factors and ineffective allocation of capital funding.
Mosenngwa assured members of the public that Prasa has a zero tolerance to non-accountability to safety. He said there have been a lot of employees who have been let go for various incidences as a result of transgression of safety procedures and policies.
Chairperson of the board of inquiry, Baitseng Rangata, said the driver of the MetroPlus Train was no longer an employee of Prasa.
Prasa has initiated a programme to transform and modernise passenger railways in South Africa.
In this instance, Prasa will be investing approximately R172 billion over 10 years which has already commenced in the 2013/2014 financial year, the Minister said.