PRASA’s passenger rail operator, Metrorail, is reeling from a series of senseless staff assaults, train hijackings and attacks against its commuter trains on the Mamelodi Corridor. In a period of less than a week, more than 10 employees were attacked and withdrawn from operations. In addition more than 6 trains have been withdrawn from service due to malicious damage to property.
Consequently, all Metrorail trains running on the Mamelodi corridor have been temporarily suspended with immediate effect until further notice. This hard decision comes after yet another case of train vandalism last night at Eerste Fabrieke Station. Train crew, security an customer services officials were assaults and left traumatised.
Train service arrangements are as follows:
Mabopane / De Wildt / Saulsville via Capital Park train service will terminate at Queenswood station
Pretoria via Loftus train service will terminate at Haartebeespoort
Important to note:
No train service will run between Koedoespoort and Pienaarspoort station.
No alternative transport will be made available
Commuters with valid weekly and monthly train tickets can claim refunds from Rissik, Haartebees and Pretoria Stations.
“These senseless and barbaric behaviour of vandalising Metrorail assets and attacking personnel totally unacceptable. This is in our view pure criminality, and such lawlessness cannot be tolerated and is condemned in the strongest possible terms. We will ensure that law enforcement agencies prosecute those perpetrators to bring an end to this wanton destruction of our assets. We are determined to throw the book at those found guilty of this criminality and will work hand in hand with the prosecuting authorities to ensure that they are charged with wilful destruction of public property and economic sabotage. It is regrettable that these acts of vandalism will inconvenience thousands of loyal train commuters who rely on this affordable mode of transport. These assets belong to the community and employees, thus it is equally their responsibility to ensure that they are well protected,” said Mr Goodman Matampi, Acting Provincial Manager of Metrorail Gauteng.
Although we sympathise with the alleged concerns of commuters around train service challenges experienced within our system, most of which most are being dealt with by Metrorail, and the destruction of property is in no way complementary to this process. This criminal behaviour not only affects Metrorail but has compromised the lives of many commuters hence Metrorail’s decision to temporarily terminate the service with immediate effect. However, Management will continue engaging with all stakeholders to find a long lasting solution to these many problems.
We call on commuters to work with Metrorail and the Police by ensuring that those vandalising these news trains are reported to the authorities. We invite the public to play an important role in protecting and preserving public assets belonging to them. It cannot be that while the country is desperately trying to improve its public transport system, with government injecting billions to make this a reality, others are determined to undermine this at all costs. This is a call to the public and leaders to expose those who place the lives of innocent commuters at risk through acts of arson and vandalism. Management emphasises the fact that in a case where such criminal activities continue, it will not hesitate to suspend services that will pose a risk to employees and the commuting public.
Metrorail sincerely apologises to all its customers for the inconvenience caused and appeals to commuters to exercise patience and care at all the time.