Metrorail in the Western Cape has praised the work of the Rail Enforcement Unit. It says it’s recorded a slight improvement in its rail system since the launch of the Unit in the province in October 2018.
Its aim was to crack down on theft and destruction of rail infrastructure and to ensure passenger safety.
The unit, which is a collaboration of all three spheres of government, is made up of 100 officers and was launched by Transport Minister, Blade Nzimande.
The quarterly report indicates that 26 convictions have been secured, with more than R22 million worth of goods recovered.
“What helps is that, there isn’t while we are bringing back train coaches or sets, that there is an outflow, and we don’t lose them. There has never been a situation where we stopped bringing coaches into service, it was just the issue that the losses to arson and vandalism just utstripped the number of coaches we were able to bring back; and therefore this intervention is so critical to make sure we safeguard and secure the system,” says Richard Walker who is the Metrorail Regional manager.
By late last year, the rail service in Cape Town was teetering on collapse. Ongoing cable theft and arson attacks left it reeling.
Thousands of commuters abandoned the rail system due to safety concerns and lack of reliability.
Authorities say the the Rail Enforcement Unit and other law enforcement agencies are making steady progress in protecting commuters and rail infrastructure.
Provincial and local government says the positive results is a step in the right direction to win back the confidence of rail commuters.
Western Cape Transport MEC, Donald Grant says, “I’m optimistic that with the positive results and noticeable impact achieved that far by the Rail Enforcement Unit, it’s a sign of better things to come. We hope the confidence in rail transport will be restored, and that communities will work with us in combating rail crimes.”
The number of operational train sets have increased from 37 last year, to 48 currently.