Metrorail Responds to Concerns over Recent Incidents of Violence
Recent reports of assaults on Metrorail commuters have been condemned by Robin Carlisle, Minister of Transport and Public Works.
“These incidents are deplorable and the threat that they pose to commuter safety cannot be tolerated. We must prioritise the need to ensure that paying public transport users are safe at all times when on trains or at stations. I am pleased that this concern is one shared by Metrorail who continue to take the necessary actions to address this very serious issue,” said Minister Carlisle.
Mthuthuzeli Swartz, Metrorail Western Cape Regional Manager reiterated that violence against customers or any member of the public is condemned in the strongest possible terms:
“We will not hesitate to take action against employees behaving atrociously”.
He confirmed that a private security company involved in the most recent reported incident of violence at Cape Town Station had immediately dismissed their implicated employee:
“The disciplinary case against the other three guards involved in the incident is in progress”.
Mr Swartz also revealed that cases were pending against commuters who have assaulted Metrorail employees, noting that these too are of serious concern to Metrorail and also not to be tolerated.
“I’d like to assure the public that Metrorail adopts a zero-tolerance approach against contractors, employees or commuters who conduct themselves violently. Injuring a commuter is a dismissible offence, and we encourage people to report these bullies immediately so that we can act decisively,” said Mr Swartz.
“It is imperative that Metrorail focus as much of their resources as possible to addressing the escalating safety and security concerns. Threats to the safety of Metrorail commuters, as well as that on Metrorail staff and security personnel must be dealt with swiftly and authoritatively. A clear message must be sent to both perpetrators and commuters that these acts will neither be tolerated, nor allowed to continue to threaten the safety of commuters,” added Minister Carlisle.
Safety and Security Concerns for Metrorail
- Intimidation and robbery of commuters by rogue elements.
- Assaults and threats to safety by these elements on Metrorail security personnel and staff.
- Vandalism contributing to delays and incidents of violence on trains.
“These are just some of the concerns that threaten Metrorail’s ability to provide the most effective and efficient service to its commuters. In my many discussions with Mr Swartz, I am reassured that Metrorail is working hard to ensure that these matters are prioritised and addressed,” added Minister Carlisle.
Reported Incidents of Assault
“When incidents are reported involving our contracted security firms, we immediately call for an explanation of the incident; disciplinary action to be taken; and for the redeployment of the personnel involved.
“Our interventions are focused on improving train security and tightening access control. Commuter safety is paramount in the way that we conduct our business and any threats or deviations will not be tolerated,” added Mr Swartz.
Effects of the National Strike Action on Metrorail Service
Metrorail Western Cape is responsible for around 700 000 passenger trips daily, growing recently by an additional 32 000 due to the National Bus Driver’s Strike action.
Reacting to persistent calls for train drivers to join in a sympathy strike, Regional Manager Mthuthuzeli Swartz said that there were no indications that this was the case:
“Employers must be issued notice of intention 48 hours in advance.”
He committed to inform the public immediately should such notice be received by Metrorail:
“We want to reassure our commuters that should there be a strike by Metrorail train drivers, they will get advance warning so they can make alternative arrangements.”
“Metrorail has responded commendably to the National Strike action, putting commuters first and optimising their resources to lessen the impact of the strike on everyday commuters. I am pleased by the assurance by Mr Swartz that no notice has been given to Metrorail, by their train drivers, of an intention to join the strike action. Train drivers joining the strike would have a disastrous impact on ordinary citizens who rely on public transport to commute to and from their places of work,” added Minister Carlisle.