We cannot fight railway crime alone – Prasa

2016-07-29 10:44
Hundreds of mourners turned out for a memorial service at Netreg Station for slain train driver Piet Botha in Cape Town. (Paul Herman, News24)

Hundreds of mourners turned out for a memorial service at Netreg Station for slain train driver Piet Botha in Cape Town. (Paul Herman, News24)

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Cape Town - The Passenger Rail Agency SA (Prasa) says it cannot fight increasing violent crime at South Africa's train stations on its own.

Prasa was responding to the United National Transport Union (Untu) after the union slammed the body on Wednesday, following a number of violent murders in the last few weeks.

- Read more: Prasa must account for 'barbaric' railway killings - union

Spokesperson Lesedi Mapheto told News24 on Friday that Prasa acknowledges its duty to provide a safe working environment, but depends on other law enforcement groups to aid in the fight against crime.

"While all employers have a common law duty of care and providing a safe working environment, Prasa alone cannot fight and win the war against crime," he said.

"It depends on the key stakeholders, which are the law enforcement agencies and communities, commuters and employees."

'Train drivers in constant fear'

Two armed robbers shot and killed a security guard in Cape Town on Monday while he was patrolling the central line near Thambo Village. The killers escaped.

Malmesbury train driver Pieter Barend Botha was shot twice in the head for his bag while waiting for a train at the Netreg Station in Cape Town two weeks ago.

Untu council member Brian Davids this week said the central line between Cape Town and Khayelitsha on the Cape Flats was getting increasingly dangerous and should be closed if Prasa was unable to secure it.

"Train drivers live in constant fear. The railway line has become so dangerous that they cannot properly focus on the signals they need to look at, allowing them to proceed, as they are constantly on the lookout for criminals," Davids said.

He said Prasa must be held accountable for the recent "senseless and barbaric" killings.

'We have invested heavily'

Mapheto said Prasa had invested in various technologies to combat crime, including segways and CCTV cameras.

"In the last five years, Prasa has taken the lead and partnered with the SAPS in appointing rail police, as well as private security, to augment our own Prasa security personnel.

"We have also invested heavily on technology and equipment, such as two-wheeled segway mobiles and CCTV cameras, to assist our security to track and deal with incidents of crime timeously.

"It is therefore, doubly tragic when criminals with no respect for life violate our environment and target those who are meant to protect."

Mapheto said Prasa will continue beefing up its security operations, and asked for "all hands on deck" to report crime and prevent more loss of life.

Read more on:    metrorail  |  untu  |  prasa  |  cape town  |  crime  |  transport
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