The Egyptian transport minister has asked the House of Representatives to introduce legislation that would allow the dismissal of extremists, saboteurs, and drug users working at the country's railway facility, which recently saw a series of deadly accidents.
Addressing the country’s parliament on Monday, Transport Minister Kamel El-Wazir called for amending the Civil Service Law, which covers the country's public employees, to allow for firing people who undermine the railway sector.
These employees include "instigating elements, extremists, and drug abusers," according to the minister, who also said that “boys” are being incited to loosen the nails off tracks and throw stones at the rails, which causes trains to turn over.
El-Wazir talked to MPs on Monday about the reasons behind the latest accidents and his ministry's plans to modernise the railway system.
Over 40 passengers lost their lives and dozens were injured in two train accidents in the past month in the Upper Egyptian governorate of Sohag and the Nile Delta governorate of Daqahliya.
Probes into both accidents are underway, and the country’s top prosecutor has ordered the detention of many railway staffers pending investigations.
The preliminary probes into both accidents have shown human error and negligence by railway employees, according to official statements. Also, a drug test for a signalling tower employee and the assistant driver involved in the Sohag accident has shown their abuse of narcotic substances.
The minister said that the railway sector involves "instigating elements" that attempt to prevent the development process of railways, noting that the ministry is exerting efforts to direct railway staffers not to comply with these instigators.
"We have 162 Muslim Brotherhood members working at the railway sector, and whenever we demand to have them transferred to other ministries, these ministries refuse," El-Wazir said.
"It would be better if they stay in their homes and get paid, because they are saboteurs and discharging them would spare [the sector] disruptive acts. Unfortunately, the number of these categories is increasing," he stressed.
He asked for transferring these workers to other ministries in positions that are not sensitive until the legislative amendments are complete.
The minister also played clips showing acts of theft that occur along railways as well as "random markets" that he said are situated near railway stations and impede the movement of trains.