Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) chairman, Popo Molefe, has reportedly admitted that the controversial locomotives brought into the country this year are not suited to the local rail infrastructure.
This according to EyeWitness News, which reported Molefe as saying that the locomotives do not meet the ‘necessary criteria’.
“But technical teams are working together on that matter and locomotives are undergoing a series of tests under the railway safety regulator, we will wait for the railway safety regulator,” he said.
Prasa has been under the spotlight after it was reported that the Afro 4000 trains, purchased from Spanish manufacturer Vossloh Espana on a contract worth R3.5 billion, were too high for South African rail lines.
The contract is for 70 locomotives, 13 of which have already been delivered to SA, at a cost of over R600 million.
Having dismissed concerns about the specifications, Prasa reported in mid-August that an 11-carriage train lead by one of the new locomotives had derailed, injuring several passengers.
Amid concerns about the Afro 4000 locomotives, it’s lead engineer, and company CEO, Lucky Montana, have subsequently been sacked.
Public Protector Thuli Madonsela was tasked with investigating the organisation, and in a report published last month, she found evidence of widespread maladministration and impropriety in the awarding of tenders worth R2.8 billion.
The report found that Montana had acted in breach of the Constitution and improperly on a number of dodgy deals at the company.
Montana has said he will have the Public Protector’s report reviewed in court.