Statement by Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works
Last week’s vicious attacks on Metrorail infrastructure by criminals deliberately setting out to sabotage the service, adversely affected the train service between Nyanga and Khayelitsha/Chris Hani and Kapteinsklip/Mitchells Plain. These vandals left tens of thousands of commuters without their usual means of getting to their various destinations, whether it be to work or otherwise. We immediately came together as public transport stakeholders in condemning such acts and worked in unison to lessen the already disastrous effects that these acts had on commuters.
Metrorail immediately set out a R2.5 million repair upon inspection, deployed buses to affected areas, and issued a R50 000 reward and plea to members of the community to assist in bringing these criminals to justice. Golden Arrow Bus Services, MyCiti and the mini-bus taxi industry also came out in full support and did all they could to ensure that commuters got to work and arrived safely home.
I should like to repeat this government’s strong condemnation of such acts of vandalism and sabotage that not only threaten the commuters’ ability to commute safely, but also cripple the economy while costing it billions. These acts, are acts against the state and should carry severe consequences that send a clear message to the perpetrators that we, as South Africans, will not tolerate such a direct threat to the livelihoods of ordinary citizens who rely heavily on public transport to provide a decent life for themselves and their children. The perpetrators of these crimes must face the full might of the law and we will support SAPS' efforts to ensure that this happens.
My department continues to work closely with Metrorail on a number of issues relating to their service, and has provided funding to support their efforts in addressing security issues at some of their stations though our scramblers and high mast lighting project. We will continue to provide such assistance where possible, in keeping with our objective to provide safe and reliable public transport in this province.
Normal service has been restored and resumed early this morning. I should like to thank our public transport stakeholders and partners for their continued commitment to providing safe and reliable public transport for the residents of the city and the province. I should like to commend the SAPS on affording this incident the seriousness that it deserves, and the hard work that they are doing to bring these criminals to justice.