14 arrested for theft at Metrorail facilities in Cape Town

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Metrorail says 14 arrests have been made in Cape Town in the last seven days. The passenger rail service in the Western Cape has been the target of vandals for years.

Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott says a revised regional security strategy focusing on known hotspots and maintenance facilities led to four arrests early Sunday morning at a Metrorail depot. She says armed security guards found the suspects in possession of copper cables and a significant amount of cash.

The cash was allegedly meant to be used to bribe PRASA employees. Following a tip-off, an employee was arrested shortly afterward. All the copper cables were recovered.

The suspects are being detained at the Woodstock police station. Metrorail has encouraged employees and the public to continue to report crime.

Earlier this year the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) set aside about R1.4 billion to restore services on Cape Town’s Metrorail central line. Services on the central line have been suspended since November last year due to vandalism and arson.

The central line between Langa train station as well as Khayelitsha and Mitchell’s Plain on the Cape Flats has been the hardest hit by the arson attacks on Metrorail trains, cable theft and vandalism of infrastructure which continue to affect the passenger rail service over the past three years.

PRASA says train services on the central line are expected to be fully operational by May next year.