cyril ramaphosa train

Cyril Ramaphosa boards a packed commuter train in Tshwane. Photo: @MYANC / Twitter

Cyril Ramaphosa ridiculed by the DA after taking a nightmare train journey

If Cyril Ramaphosa was looking for an authentic experience on a Metrorail train, he got more than he bargained for: Much to the delight of his political foes.

cyril ramaphosa train

Cyril Ramaphosa boards a packed commuter train in Tshwane. Photo: @MYANC / Twitter

All aboard the blame express: Cyril Ramaphosa was left red-faced when he jumped on the 6:30 train from Soshanguve to Pretoria on Monday morning, only for the carriage to breakdown on its way.

The president was taking to the rails to experience first-hand the troubles faced by ordinary commuters every day. The service provided by Metrorail has been lambasted for poor time-keeping and frequent breakdowns. Ramaphosa was to endure the full brunt of these failures, as the locomotive came to an unexpected halt in Marabastad.

He would be two hours late in reaching his destination. That’s all well and good when you’re the president – Jacob Zuma made a habit of it, even – but for the working class citizens of Mzansi, these delays can cost you employment and a reliable source of income.

DA revel in the president’s misfortune

That’s the message the DA was keen to stress on Monday. Ramaphosa, caught up in the madness of a Prasa-run network, was even criticised for staging the “PR stunt” in the first place by party spokesperson Solly Malatsi:

“President Cyril Ramaphosa took a train ride in Soshanguve, in what can only be described as a publicity stunt ahead of this year’s elections.”

“His delayed ride today encapsulates what is exactly wrong with the system and the governing party. People are suffering daily at the hands of the ANC, and once every five years, politicians use their pain as an electioneering tool.”

Solly Malatsi

DA leader Mmusi Maimane also revelled in an opportunity to snipe at Cyril, saying that his nightmare journey was indicative of the failures produced by the current ANC government:

“President Ramaphosa got to experience what millions of South Africans face daily due to his failing ANC government: Overcrowded, unsafe & unreliable trains that run late more often than not. The solution is simple: Dissolve Prasa, and let provinces manage their own rail and port networks.”

Mmusi Maimane

Cyril Ramaphosa reflects on “unacceptable” train journey

The president did hit back once he had disembarked the train, saying that “heads must roll” over the service he experienced on Monday – and what many poorer citizens face every day of their working lives. “Dysfunctional”, “unacceptable” and “really bad” were just some of the terms Ramaphosa used to describe the ride.

Sympathy was in short supply from the opposition, however. DA Chief Whip John Steenhuisen took particular offence to claims that the DA-run metro of Tshwane was to blame for this “rail fail”. He denied the city had any control over the running of trains, and scoffed at suggestions load shedding was to blame.

“It’s desperate when a president tries to blame load shedding and disastrous train failures on the DA-run city when both know full well the issues are with [the ANC’s] policy failures and corruption at a national level. Cities don’t run trains or manage the national grid.”

John Steenhuisen