Cape Town - Metrorail services in the Western Cape are due to get no less than R8bn in new investment to improve ailing infrastructure, Transport Minister Joe Maswanganyi says.
Maswanganyi told Parliamentarians on Tuesday that his ministry is working to address the inefficiencies in the province, made worse by instances of vandalism and arson.
"Metrorail in the main should be fully functional. In the Western Cape alone we are going to spend not less than R8bn to improve the Metrorail services.
"There are problems of vandalism which have been reported here on several occasions. We have also raised the matter of security with the Minister of Police."
Police assistance was definitely needed, as the department can only do so much on platforms and at stations.
Maswanganyi said they have also made progress in repairing train tracks and carriages that had been set alight in the Cape Town metro and elsewhere in the province.
They were confident of restoring around 60 full "sets", consisting of 12 coaches each, and bringing them back into the system.
He understood commuters were getting frustrated. However, from time to time vandals struck and it was hard to predict a pattern.
They also will be investing in "high walls" in hotspots in the Western Cape.
"It's something that is undesirable - to build walls between communities and the railway line - but we believe that it is one of the things we have to do."
They would also be recapitalising the signalling system in the province, to avoid stoppages and potential collisions.
Maswanganyi told News24 after the meeting that the Western Cape community relies heavily on rail services to commute, and are hindered by the geography of the city.
They thus decided to take R8bn of Prasa's R20bn budget to upgrade services in the province, and have already identified stations that will receive the high walls.
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