Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Transport has criticised the Passenger Railway Agency of South Africa (Prasa) for the continued lack of security at train stations.
The rail agency had planned to insource over 3 000 security personnel following the termination of irregular security contracts with service providers.
Train services across the country remain limited while some corridors are closed due to vandalism and cable theft. But the process seems to be taking longer than expected resulting in many unguarded stations.
The committee was on a two-day oversight visit to Mpumalanga and Gauteng. Committee chairperson Mosebenzi Zwane says the termination of contracts was premature.
“That left a vacuum and left some stations unguarded. As we speak some of the stations are still unguarded. In fact, a large percentage of cable theft and everything that can be stolen is not there. We now have to start afresh. The presentation made to us that R3.2 billion has been lost in this theft which is unfortunate. We must say we are not happy about that issue. We addressed this matter in the meeting.”
Prasa loses about R3,2 billion to vandalism and theft:
Zwane has also described as misleading, reports that there are just over 3 000 security employees at train stations across the country.
“We must dispel the notion as a committee of the announcement that PRASA made we are from the meeting and they agree that that announcement was wrong that there are currently 3100 trained security officers in the country that is not so.”
Beef up security at stations
Chairperson of the Prasa board, Leonard Ramatlakane, says they will engage with other state-owned enterprises in order to beef up security on trains and at stations across the country.
Ramatlakane says they are working on a solution until the issue can be resolved.
“There’s been a discussion about collaboration even with the other SOE’s that has security to be able to help us during the time that we are dealing with the insourcing of the security making sure that we can complete the task of having boots on the ground so that by December 1 we are able to say we have bodies that are going to be performing.”
On Friday, the committee met with the Moloto Rail Corridor Community representatives in Kwa-Mhlanga. Residents want money to be made available to complete the project which they say they were promised as far back as 1994.
The committee has criticised the government for not being transparent with residents on the project, which it seems will not be completed in the near future.