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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

The SAHRC Calls for Urgent Action to Be Taken to Secure the Rights of Rail Passengers

MEDIA STATEMENT

Attention: Editors and Reporters

Tuesday, 26 June 2017

The South African Human Rights Commission (the Commission) is extremely concerned by the accounts of Metrorail commuters, in an article published by the City Press on Sunday, 25th June 2017, entitled, “Groped, doped on the train”.

These accounts compel the Commission to call on all relevant authorities to ensure that the 1.7 million commuters, that use our rail system daily, are kept safe as they travel to work and school. The Commission is particularly concerned with the safety of women and children.

With accounts of smoking and drinking alcohol on train carriages - activities that are illegal in public spaces, particularly within the public transport system - the Commission is particularly concerned with the danger these activities pose to public health, particularly the health of children.

The Commission is further concerned by reports of the abuse of women on trains. Important constitutional rights such as right to Dignity (Section 10 of the Bill of Rights) and Freedom and Security of the Person (Section 12 of the Bill of Rights), part of which clearly states that “Everyone has the right to bodily and psychological integrity, … to security in and control over their body;” are reportedly being seriously violated.

Apart from the limited security throughout the rail system, allegations of corruption and bribery (highlighed in the article) exacerbate the situation. The Commission is thus concerned with the precedent of lawlessness being set on these public trains, which have a direct impact on the rights of commuters.  

The Commission notes that the rights of commuters and passengers in other modes of public transport, such as the Gautrain or our airports, are protected by strict enforcement of laws governing health and safety. The Commission is thus concerned that the poor are being unfairly discriminated against, in that their rights are not being prioritised, nor enforced.

The Commission will be engaging the Department of Transport and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) on the matter.

Ends

Issued by the South African Human Rights Commission

Gail Smith – Spokesperson Tel: 0609883792 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Gushwell Brooks – Communications Co-ordinator Tel: 082 645 8573 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The South African Human Rights Commission.

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About us

The Human Rights Commission is the national institution established to support constitutional democracy. It is committed to promote respect for, observance of and protection of human rights for everyone without fear or favour.

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