Call for subway safety

2016-08-02 06:00
Heathfield residents are teaming up to clean their subways so that criminal elements are deterred from using the subway for unsavory activities.

Heathfield residents are teaming up to clean their subways so that criminal elements are deterred from using the subway for unsavory activities.

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Subways have been a cause of concern for train commuters for a long time due to the risks they pose.

Despite being dirty, they have always attracted a lot of unfriendly characters as most of them tend to be quiet and dark.

Deon, a member of Hands Off Our Subway committee, who didnt want his surname published says there is always an element of crime and unsavoury characters hanging around the subways. “There is also a lot of graffiti which is related to gangs, which makes the subway look unsightly. It’s not nice to walk there. Elderly people and kids use the subway, so it has to be made safe,” he says.

Deon says crime often takes place in the subways – mostly robberies – which is very unsettling for any person who uses the subway. Drug pedalling and antisocial behaviour are also common in the subway, he says.

In an effort to fight crime in the subways, the community members of Heathfield and the surroundings are embarking on an initiative called Hands Off Our Subways.

Ward councillor, Kevin Southgate says: “A group of residents from within the Heathfield community recently decided that it was time to address the crime and grime associated with Heathfield station. The community was concerned that the station was not being effectively managed and as a result there was litter all over, the walls were covered in graffiti and the subway is always (dirty).”

“Because of this that people of the community are exposed to on their way to work and learners on their way to school, it was felt that something had to be done to change the situation,” Southgate says.
The initiative is inclusive, he says.

“Residents, Phew neighbourhood watch, schools, churches, business and Metrorail will be involved in this initiative. We will be approaching businesses as potential sponsors of the paint.
“We had an on-site meeting with Metrorail and they are on board. Schools will be invited to assist with the artwork as we intend to soften the space and make it pleasant for people as they pass through.”

Deon believes a clean subway will chase away the criminal elements.

“If we clean it up, it will send a clear message to those who usually use it for bad things to not even go there. Also when we keep the subway clean it won’t be easy for it to be used for criminal activities. We want everyone to be involved. Once painted we will also invite schools to paint murals and to beautify it,” he says.

Deon says they constantly put pressure on Metrorail to speak to the people that they pay to supply services like cleaning the subways and security.

“We talk to Metrorail to have their security to patrol the subway and have it cleaned often.
“It’s a hidden place, even if police patrol the area they won’t see what’s happening in the subway unless they get out of their vehicles and walk there, which normally doesn’t happen because this is Prasa/ Metrorail land,” he says.
Plans to hold a cleanup of the subway on Sunday 25 September are going forward provided the relative stakeholders give the green light.

Those who want to be part of the initiative or donate paint to for the subway can email


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