New railway regulations in South Africa heighten safety and security obligations. (Credit: Unsplash)

New railway regulations in South Africa heighten safety and security obligations

New railway regulations in South Africa have been published which hope to enforce safety and security measures for passengers and reporting incidents.

The Minister of Transport for South Africa recently announced new regulations relating to the National Railway Safety Regulator Act (Act) under Government Gazette No 46471 (Regulations). The Regulations aim to improve the level of railway security in South Africa, which was once cited as the most advanced railway system in Africa. The rail network has been severely compromised by cable and scrap metal theft over many years, but criminal activity increased dramatically during the Covid-19 lockdown.

The Regulations focus on safety and security requirements at various stages of design, construction, operation or alteration of infrastructure and operations. The Regulations also set out what accidents and incidents need to be managed and reported to the Railway Safety Regulator (Regulator).

This entails conducting risk assessments of security management within the railway operation, therefore allowing for tightening of measures where needed. Operators must adopt a ‘Security Management Plan’ to ensure a more secure railway operation and a ‘Safety of Persons Compliance Plan’ to ensure the safety of persons within the railway environment in terms of sections 30(d) and (f) of the Act.

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