Ed's Note

Light from darkness?


Monday 18 March may well prove to be the day that reality bit for President Cyril Ramaphosa, when he, along with Gauteng premier David Makhura and ANC elections head Fikile Mbalula, boarded a train around 7am from Mabopane to the Pretoria CBD.

It was intended as an electioneering stunt, to canvas votes, but the Metrolrail service did not play along, and the train was stuck on the tracks for over two hours.

The president got a taste of the frustration faced daily by hundreds of thousands of commuters, as he was late for his two meetings, with the ruling party's National Executive Committee as well as with the National Union of Mineworkers.

Images of the President putting a brave face on it while commuters hung out of the windows were heralded as symbolic of South Africa's situation by media around the world.

However, the incident could prove to be a ray of light. Now that the President has experienced at first hand what the people endure daily, perhaps things will change for the better.

"It's no longer a fable; it's the lived reality of our people - and we are going to take steps to change the situation because our people deserve the best," Ramaphosa said.

"I'm rather glad that I came. I've seen for myself."

Talk is notoriously cheap, of course, and there has been talk of fixing the trains in the past. But if the President can get this one right (and PRASA is known as among the rottenest of the rotten apples that need to be thoroughly dewormed) he can probably get the rest of it right too.

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