Infrastructure damage to Gauteng rail lines puts brakes on provision of health services to the poor

Infrastructure damage to Gauteng rail lines puts brakes on provision of health services to the poor

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Johannesburg – The continuing destruction of the rail infrastructure has put the brakes on the provision of basic health services to the most vulnerable and poor people.

The scheduled arrival of Phelophepa Health Care Train from Olifantsfontein to Dube Station in Soweto was postponed.

Transnet said the train was delayed because the rail lines in Gauteng were severely damaged, and there had been technical and logistical challenges.

“Transnet in attending to this as a priority. In view of this, the scheduled services, both in the community and on Phelophepa, has to, regrettably, be postponed until further notice.

“Transnet and the Department of Health, Gauteng sincerely apologises for any inconvenience caused and may be caused due to circumstances beyond its control,” the state-owned company said.

Transnet-Phelophepa trains are free, mobile health-care clinics that travel to various parts of South Africa, especially rural ones where there is just one doctor for every 5 000 patients. They started operating in 1994. The services include HIV testing, eye tests, cancer testing, counselling and a dental clinic.

Rail infrastructure has virtually gone extinct in Gauteng. Train stations like New Canada, Westgate, Kliptown and many others across Johannesburg are shells of their former selves, stripped down to the last metal.

It is believed that vandals targeting Gauteng’s railway lines have caused loses amounting to hundreds of millions of rand.

Vandalism also threatens to derail the vital and affordable train service that transports thousands of commuters daily.

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