The Passenger Railway Agency of South Africa (PRASA) has made a call to government, stakeholders and communities to assist in the fight against cable theft.
The call was prompted by the ongoing criminal activities that take place on the railways that result in loss of lives and derails trains.
“The stakeholders have made a passionate appeal to government to come to the party and provide the necessary intelligence and resources to enable the passenger rail system to implement preventative measures to fight crime,” said PRASA Acting Group CEO, Cromet Molepo.
Last week, PRASA chaired a meeting with stakeholders consisting of the South African Police Service (SAPS), labour unions Cosatu, Fedusa, the United National Transport Union (UNTU), the South Africa Transport Allied Workers Union (Satawu) and the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) in the Western Cape.
The aim of the meeting was to resolve the challenges faced by PRASA with combatting criminal activities on the railway lines.
The talks also related to the closure of the Central Line on Wednesday, the 10th of January 2018 following an incident in Khayelitsha of the fatal shooting of a security guard at the Khayelitsha Station.
According to PRASA spokesperson Nana Zenani, following the killing, the Central line had to be suspended.
Zenani explained that not only does crime damage valuable infrastructure but it also affects commuters.
“Trains are delayed due to stoppages, it requires Metrorail to manually authorize train movement which adds to the stoppage delays, overall, the rail operations becomes ineffective and does not deliver value to passengers who arrive late to their destinations,” she said.
The railway agency said its efforts to modernise its aging infrastructure, have been hampered by the rampant crime and destruction of rail assets.
CEO Molepo also called on communities to assist the railway agency and report crimes such as cable theft.
“The stakeholders call upon communities to be our eyes and ears and report crime and isolate these criminal elements within our communities. If there is no market for the stolen goods, there will be no need for crime. Those individuals who are brave enough to stand up and make a difference, will be protected,” said Acting CEO Molepo.
PRASA urged commuters or anyone with information on cable theft, or other issues related to rail matters to call:
- Metrorail Protection Services: (021) 449 4336/5056
- Rapid Rail Police Units:
- Cape Town: (021) 443 4325
- Bellville: (021) 941 6800
- Philippi-Stock Road: (021) 370 1011
- Rapid Rail Police Retreat: (021) 710 5129
- Radio Control/Ops Room: (021) 449 4309/10
- SAPS Crime Stop: 0860 10111
Molepo further emphasised that this challenge can only be resolved if there is intergovernmental collaboration between all three spheres of government.
At the conclusion of the meeting with stakeholders, it was resolved that a joint Project Steering Committee, to be jointly chaired by Major General Motlala-SAPS and Molepo will be established to monitor progress in resolving this challenge monthly.
The Committee will be supported by various task teams.