Station poses risk

2018-05-08 06:00

Steenberg train station is a growing concern for local residents.

The fencing at the station is old and missing in some places, making it easy to gain access from any side.

Residents say several people have been robbed at the station as it is easy for criminals to rob from the platform and run into the nature reserve (Train station in need of fix, People’s Post 5 July 2016).

Up to this day commuters are still waiting for the station to be fixed and risk their lives daily to commute to various
places

Their pleas to the Passenger Railway Agency of South Africa (Prasa) to have the area fenced off properly continue to fall on deaf ears.

The locals say Prasa is turning a blind eye to the rusty fence, which has been stripped off and broken down.

Now their major concern is a building just outside the station. It has been broken into and is being used for illegal activities.

A resident who spoke on condition of anonymity says it’s a disaster waiting to happen. “The area is filthy and there are illegal activities taking place there. The room is being used for drugs, by the homeless, for prostitution, you name it. Our concern is that it’s winter and it gets dark early.

“Women and girls are at risk as they use the station to go to work or school. Someone can easily be grabbed into that room, they can be raped or something, because all sorts of characters hang outside that room. We need something done about it. If there is no plan it should just be demolished,” he says.

He adds that he believes with security being tight at a neighbouring complex, all the illegal activities are being pushed to the station’s side.

“A lot goes on there. The room was used for cellphone repairs but since that business moved, that room has been a haven for crime. It has been vacant for sometime and now it looks like a mess.

“Our suggestions to Prasa have been very simple – if they can’t look after the room, they should demolish it. If they can’t do it themselves, they must just give us the permission to do it.

“We are ready, we just need the go-ahead, because this is a risk in every way. Must someone first die before they do something?” he asks.Building can be useful

Beatrice Twigg from Gems Watch says the room must be used to help the area.

“We wanted the room for a control room but we never got any feedback on that. Now the room is being run down, and who knows what really goes on in there. There is a mattress and it’s dirty. There is no doubt that it is being used by the homeless as well. Prasa is not coming to the party. We have sent emails but you never hear from them. Things at the station are deteriorating and commuters are at risk but nothing seems to bother them,” she says.

Twigg adds that the area surrounding the room is filthy.

“It is so dirty and makes it difficult to even walk close by because it stinks very badly. It is disgusting. People even relieve themselves there and every other thing which is also very unhygienic. The smell that comes from there is choking – it needs to be cleaned. We need commuters to be safe but there is no plan for it,” she says.

Riana Scott, Metrorail spokesperson, says they will alert the Protection Services Department to the security risk.

Prasa had not responded to questions by the time of going to print. However, the agency did promise to look into the matter.

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