Latest rail attack highlights urgent need for criminal prosecution
Statement by Donald Grant, Minister of Transport and Public Works
On Friday evening, 7 September 2018, yet another violent attack occurred on a Metrorail train which was travelling between Lynedoch and Eerste Rivier. This latest attack cost a man his life, and left another commuter seriously injured. It is also reported that another 8 commuters were robbed by criminals of their belongings during the attack.
I wish to condemn this latest attack in the strongest terms, and extend my sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of the man who has lost his life so tragically. I should also wish those injured a speedy recovery.
The Western Cape Government has partnered with the City of Cape Town and PRASA on various initiatives aimed at improving safety over the last few years. We hope that these initiatives will result in improved safety conditions for the thousands of commuters that rely on the service on a daily basis.
While we are optimistic about these efforts, I remain disappointed at the South African Police Service’s (SAPS) inability thus far to investigate these incidents of criminality effectively, and to successfully prosecute and convict those responsible and place them behind bars. Crime in the rail network runs rampant and with impunity, largely due to the SAPS’s shortcomings.
These matters have been raised with the highest level of SAPS management on a regular basis, and most recently at a meeting in my office on Friday, 31 August 2018. At this meeting, Minister of Community Safety, Dan Plato, and I requested that SAPS make a commitment to prioritizing rail crime, and report back to us soonest on progress made towards apprehending these criminals that threaten the safety of commuters and target this essential service on a daily basis.
The Western Cape Government, through the Department of Community Safety, has already committed a R100 000 reward to anyone who provides information to the police which results in the arrest and successful conviction of those responsible for crime on the Cape Town rail system.
We believe that effective criminal investigations and successful prosecutions, coupled with the necessary and urgent overall improvements by PRASA, will send a strong message to would-be culprits that their acts will not be tolerated and that they will be brought to justice. Only then will we see conditions improve for commuters in the Cape.