Transnet Freight Rail’s employees held hostage

Transnet Freight Rail (TFR) condems the criminal acts perpetrated against employees who were held hostage in Ogies, Mpumalanga, early Monday morning. Lives were put at risk when members of the Ogies Phola Taxi Associassion (OPTA) hijacked the vehicles transporting staff from various areas. The incident happened shortly after 06:00 when staff were on their way to collect colleagues in four Transnet branded vehicles. Staff and drivers (five people in total) were driven to a nearby taxi rank against their will and held for several hours. The incident was sparked by an outcry from OPTA wanting to provide the transport services for TFR staff. TFR currently outsources the services to a third party service provider.

TFR security personnel with law enforcement officials negotiated the release of employees , but members of OPTA held on to the vehicles unlawfully. Employees were not physically harmed but are receiving trauma counselling. Investigations into the matter continues and formal statements will be provided on Tuesday by the victims to the South African Police Services (SAPS). TFR staff successfully negotiated for the release of vehicles.

No arrests have yet been made by police.

The contract for the leasing of vehicles by TFR was concluded in 2020 and a winning bidder appointed, through an open tender process which by it’s very nature affords any company the opportunity to participate in a fair manner.

The vehicles are specifically utilised to ferry employees in the Operations and Infrastrcture departments of TFR who work outside normal working hourse – early in the morning and late into the night, when no public transport is available. These vehicles due to the nature of the TFR business are not a specific type (it ranges from hardbody vehicles that is used to access service roads, normally gravel roads). It also operates in accordance with shift schedules as our operations are 24 hours