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Draft Railway Safety Bill on Track

August 16, 2019

Department of Transport

16 August 2019

The transport department has confirmed that the Draft Railway Safety Bill will be tabled in parliament in 2019.

In a statement, the department indicated that the proposed legislation “seeks to strengthen our 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”.

The update follows a departmental inspection of the Transnet Freight Rail yard in Durban designed to assess whether rolling stock is trackworthy, the efficiency of the certification process by Transnet Freight Rail and adherence to set standards and procedures by Transnet Freight Rail personnel.

The draft bill was published for comment in March 2018.

The proposed legislation is aligned to the Draft White Paper on National Rail Policy and government’s plan to move passengers and freight from road to rail.

According to the department, once enacted, the draft bill will facilitate an improvement in general safety within the railway environment.

This will ensure that rail becomes an attractive mode of transport and contributes towards economic growth.

The draft bill seeks to:

• provide for the regulation of railway safety in the Republic;
• provide for the continued existence of the Railway Safety Regulator;
• provide for the board and governance structures of the Regulator;
• provide for railway safety permits;
• provide for railway safety critical grades and safety management systems;
• provide for a national railway safety information and monitoring system;
• provide for a legal framework to enforce compliance with the Act and to deal with railway occurrences;
• provide for an appeal mechanism;
• provide for transitional arrangements and the repeal of the National Railway Safety Regulator Act, 2002; and
• provide for matters connected therewith.

The department emphasized that “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”.