Saturday, August 25, 2018

Here’s how many train carriages Cape Town has lost to arson and vandalism

The City of Cape Town’s Mayoral Committee has approved the
appointment of 100 law enforcement officers who will serve in
the dedicated Rail Enforcement Unit, following a recent spate
of arson attacks causing millions of rand in damage.
The city’s Law Enforcement Department will commence with the
recruitment of 100 officers with immediate effect, it said.
The officers will be selected from the Law Enforcement
Department’s database of qualifying personnel.
“The Rail Enforcement Unit will focus on the safety and
security of Metrorail commuters and infrastructure. This
approval by the city’s Mayoral Committee cannot have happened
soon enough. Our urban rail service is under siege with
numerous arson attacks the past few weeks. The Rail Enforcement
Unit must be operational as soon possible, and they must hit
the ground running.
“Metrorail’s train fleet in the Western Cape has lost a
staggering 149 carriages from May 2015 to date
, with
the cost of the last two arson attacks alone amounting to R51
million. In the meantime, it is our rail commuters who suffer
the most with longer travelling times, delays and cancelled
trips,” said the city’s mayoral committee member for transport
and urban development, councillor Brett Herron.
The city’s safety and security directorate has been talking to
the various rail entities about placing our law enforcement
officers on trains for a number of years.
The formation of the Rail Enforcement Unit follows on from the
commitment that was made during the rail summit convened and
attended by the city’s Transport and Urban Development
Authority (TDA), the Western Cape Department of Transport and
Public Works, the Passenger Rail Service of South Africa
(PRASA), rail experts and business leaders in Woodstock on 9
February 2018.
“That summit followed years of negotiations and engagements
about the loss of rail capacity through destruction of rolling
stock and vandalism; and the role that the city can play. The
first collaboration agreement was signed in October 2012. The
establishment of this dedicated unit is a major breakthrough,
and as far as I am aware it is a first in South Africa,” said
Herron.
The officers will receive training at the city’s Safety and
Security Training Academy.
“In fact, I foresee that the training will commence within a
few days, as soon as we have completed the selection process.
We hope to have the officers on the job either in September or
October at the latest,” said the city’s mayoral committee
member for safety and security, and social services, Alderman
JP Smith.
The cost to establish and operate the unit for a period of 12
months is approximately R47.9 million and is jointly funded by
the city, the Western Cape Government and PRASA.
“Apart from commuter safety and vandalism, the unit will focus
on the theft of crucial Metrorail infrastructure and assets.
The unit’s members will rely on technology and predictive
analytics, and will support the South African Police Service to
identify those who are involved in the illicit metals theft
industry.
“Given the state of the rail network, it goes without saying
that this will be a top priority for us,” said Smith.
The ultimate goal is to address the safety and security issues
in an effort to stabilise the urban rail service in the short
term.

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