Due to rising fuel costs, the union said workers could no longer afford to travel by other modes of transport.

Metro train in Cape Town. Photo: Abigail Javier/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN – The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) in the Western Cape on Wednesday said its call for the railway to be fully operational was in the interests of the working class.

Due to rising fuel costs, the union said workers could no longer afford to travel by other modes of transport.

The troubled rail services of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) have been well documented in the Western Cape after years of vandalism and theft.

This has resulted in many people choosing to travel by bus or taxi, which are more expensive options.

Cosatu marched to Cape Town station to speak to the Iron bosses. The trade union federation said workers were forced to walk off the job due to high transport costs.

Trains were much cheaper, but with services on the busy Central Line not running at full capacity, many workers are turning to other modes of transport.

Prasa Group CEO David Mphela said progress has been made in setting up the rail infrastructure. He urged residents to work together with the state-owned company: “The journey to restore Prasa also requires all of us. The security of our assets and infrastructure also requires work to rally behind us and make sure we protect what we are busy rebuilding.”

Cosatu said it would hear from Prasa on the way forward, otherwise it may organize another protest in the future.

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