The election is happening now-now (not just now), which means that politicians are pulling out all the stops on the campaign trail.
Cyril Ramamphosa pulled more of a stop than he bargained for when a PR stunt alerted him to just how awful public transport is.
The president decided to connect with the people by taking a Metrorail train from Mabopane to Bosman stations in Pretoria on Monday, reports News24.
The journey usually takes 45 minutes – and by usually, I mean it takes 45 minutes when there aren’t delays, strikes or general incompetence.
Watch this supposedly lighthearted exchange which ends with a succinct summary of what’s happening.
WATCH: A lighthearted moment with @MYANC President, Cde @CyrilRamaphosa as he engages with commuters who share their dissatisfaction with the train operations and functionality #GrowSouthAfrica #ThumaMina pic.twitter.com/HbeINqiIJO
— ANC Greater Tshwane Region (@TshwaneANC) March 18, 2019
Yes, Pres. Yes, it is very bad.
Ramaphosa and his fellow commuters boarded the train at 7:30AM. Three hours later, they still weren’t moving.
“Levels of frustration are quite high, but people surprisingly have been patient, patient because they are hoping the ANC would see what’s happening and bring about changes,” said Ramaphosa.
He added that he and the premier were inspired to take action and said it was not what they wanted to see.
Uhm, the ANC has been in power for more than two decades, and the trains have been a disaster for most of that time. This shouldn’t be news.
Alan Winde, the DA candidate for Premier of the Western Cape, didn’t need an epiphany on a crowded train to know that.
Anyway, here’s everyone being “patient” while the train sits there:
Frustrated commuters Including President Cyril Ramaphosa have been on this train for almost 3 hours in a journey that is suppose to have been 45 minutes. The train had stopped and no reason is given and now commuters are beginning to be impatient and agitated #sabcnews pic.twitter.com/sDG0p4rfJc
— Ntebo Mokobo (@MokoboNtebo) March 18, 2019
This was an hour in and people were already losing it.
WELL we are still in the train with Pres Ramaphosa enroute to Bosman Station. It’s been 1HR20 min and counting.
There is a regular train church service to keep us going … @eNCA pic.twitter.com/PNy0tZtVM3
— Aldrin Sampear (@AldrinSampear) March 18, 2019
The president responding to overcrowding by dangling out of the window.
President @CyrilRamaphosa takes a Metro- rail train from Soshanguve to Pretoria #GrowSouthAfrica #Thuma pic.twitter.com/Bn1sPLk5Sc
— #GrowSouthAfrica (@MYANC) March 18, 2019
When it all began, he even tried talking to the conductor. This was ineffective. Obviously.
EARLIER: President @CyrilRamaphosa speaks to the metro- rail train conductor #GrowSouthAfrica #Thuma pic.twitter.com/n2Oh2QhluA
— #GrowSouthAfrica (@MYANC) March 18, 2019
Following this life-changing train commute, which eventually got Ramaphosa to Pretoria, he made a speech about his findings:
President @CyrilRamaphosa describing the horrible conditions at Prasa trains. He promises to do something about it @TeamNews24 pic.twitter.com/9KhKcuWYjr
— Tolokazi (@lizTandwa) March 18, 2019
Ramaphosa said that they would bring attention to the “lived reality” of South Africans.
The president told the eNCA reporter that he had not communicated with the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) yet but said he wanted to hold meetings with senior officials over the issues South Africans experienced daily on the trains.
“We haven’t interacted with Prasa yet, but we are going to interact with them at the highest level to make sure that the board chair, the CEO, acting or otherwise, will get to fully understand the level of anger and frustration that is amongst our people here,” said the president.
Welcome. We’ve been expecting you.
I also feel like he didn’t get the full Metrorail experience.
He came out of this with his wallet, cellphone and no great emotional turmoil, which leaves us with the question:
Did he even train?
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