Ramaphosa said this during an election campaign drive in Pretoria on Monday where he took a 50-km train journey from Mabopane Township to Pretoria – a journey of 30 minutes but took three hours to complete. South Africa goes to the national polls on 8 May.
Noting that the experience was far from positive, Ramaphosa said he did not expect the trip to take three hours due to delays, with the train getting stuck along the way.
The president, who was accompanied by Gauteng Provincial premier David Makhura, said his "new dawn" and "renewal" project must find expression in the turning-around of train services in the country.
"We saw for ourselves how the train service is really bad for the people of our country. First the trains arrive late. This means therefore that everybody arrives very late at their work places. And people tell me that this is the same situation of late arrivals every day," Ramaphosa said.
He added: "We also saw that at the stations, essential services such as toilets, are dysfunctional. And we saw that there is no safety at the stations nor inside the train.
"And once we were on the train, it was moving slow and stopping abruptly without any explanation. It is unacceptable that a trip of 50-km can take us three hours. This must come to an end. We are going to talk to Prasa to get things right or otherwise heads must roll."
Ramaphosa said it was "unacceptable" that people who commuted to and from work daily were getting fired for arriving late because of train delays, thus having a negative impact on productivity and ultimately the economy of the country.