South Africa bans preaching, gambling, inside new trains

South African authorities have banned any form of preaching inside the newly launched trains in the country. The decision was contained in a circular by the South Africa’s Passenger Rail Agency (Prasa), on Friday, with a stern warning to preachers, gamblers and informal traders to stay away from the new trains.

Local media outlets report that the Prasa warming is part of measures meant to ensure that “one particular behavioural system of any other group cannot be imposed on other commuters on board,” quoting the agency’s spokesperson, Lilian Mofokeng, as saying.

“We are doing this in an effort to ensure that there is the free passage of movement for our commuters, so that they are kept clean and safe. It will also enhance passenger safety and onboard cleanliness,” – she said.

Pastor Malesela Ledwaba of Bus and Train Ministries said Prasa has misdirected its priorities.

“What harm do we cause spreading God’s word? Instead of making sure that trains come on time and don’t break, inconveniencing commuters, [Prasa is] targeting God. We pray that, like Saul, they will have their Damascus moment,” – he said.

Commuter Bertha Mtsweni said she would defy the regulations.

“I will not be the first one; there were once the likes of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. I will be singing the loudest, without any fear, for I trust in the Lord,” – she said.

Mofokeng said [the rules were] in the interest of prioritising commuter safety, information, journey comfort, cleanliness, convenience and universal accessibility.

“Prasa has embarked on a campaign to educate commuters about the new rules. These activities have demonstrated over the years that they inconvenience many commuters and limit free movement inside the train,” – she said.

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