Pretoria – The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has refuted media reports that victims of the Soweto and Pretoria train accidents were being unfairly treated or forced to accept money for compensation.
Prasa reiterated on Sunday its position that financial assistance to the two train accident victims was done on a voluntary basis to the affected individuals.
Prasa last week announced it would offer immediate financial assistance to the victims of the two train accidents that took place in April and May this year.
According to Prasa, financial assistance will be given to individuals directly upon receipt of a green bar-coded ID, medical reports and a copy of the train ticket as proof of authenticity.
Prasa will then transfer the money within five working days once all the documentation meets the necessary requirements. The financial assistance is separate from medical costs, which are being covered entirely by Prasa.
Prasa said it did not infringed on the constitutional rights of the victims to choose to accept its financial assistance or decline the “assistance and seek the legal route.”
“We are however determined to ensure that some unscrupulous lawyers who for years have fed off the Road Accident Fund are not allowed to make the passenger rail system their next feeding through.
“We are also aware of cases where individuals have sought the legal route and have received around 20 percent of the total amount claimed from the lawyers,” said Prasa spokesperson Lesedi Mapheto.
“We are also alarmed by reports that patients were collected by buses from the hospital by people pretending to represent Metrorail in an effort to have them hand over their medical records prior to them reaching Prasa’s financial assistance,” Mapheto said.
According to Mapheto, Prasa will defend any legal action against it, but will continue to prioritise commuter safety.
“Prasa is committed to supporting the victims and will act sternly and decisively against employees who place the lives of our valued customers at risk,” she said. – BuaNews