Enforcement unit on the way to protect Metrorail commuters and infrastructure
The City of Cape Town, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), and the Western Cape Government signed a memorandum of agreement which will see the formation of a dedicated enforcement unit to focus on the safety and security of Metrorail commuters and infrastructure. Read more below:
The details about how the dedicated enforcement unit will be funded, established and managed are addressed in a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between PRASA, the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works.
The MOA follows on from the commitment that was made during the rail summit convened and attended by the City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority (TDA), the Western Cape Department of Transport and Public Works, PRASA, rail experts and business leaders in Woodstock on 9 February 2018.
The cost to establish and operate the unit for a period of 12 months is approximately R47,9 million and will be jointly funded by the TDA, the Western Cape Government and PRASA. It is foreseen that the unit will be operational within the next two to three months.
‘The unit will consist of at least a hundred members and will focus on commuter safety as well as vandalism and the theft of crucial Metrorail infrastructure and assets. The unit’s members will rely on technology and crime intelligence, and will support the South African Police Service to identify those who are involved in the illicit metals theft industry. The ultimate goal is to address the safety and security issues so that we can stabilise the urban rail service in the short term,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, Councillor Brett Herron.
The City will be responsible for the appointment and training of the law enforcement officers.
‘PRASA is confident that rail commuters will benefit from an increased focus on safety,’ said acting PRASA Group Executive, Mr Lindikaya Zide.
‘I am pleased to see this initiative come to fruition after years of discussion. It was apparent at the summit in February that stakeholder collaboration and resource integration is a more effective way of tackling issues that impact on all modes of public transport,’ said Metrorail Western Cape regional manager, Mr Richard Walker.
The Metrorail Western Cape region will designate 50 members of the current Protection Services Unit to be trained in peace officer, traffic warden, and tactical street survival skills. They will form part of this task team.
‘This initiative will support and assist in expediting our PRASA plans to professionalise and transform our own Protection Services Department to a more effective, better skilled and equipped transit-oriented unit to combat crime. The unit will have a two-pronged focus – primarily to deal with the vandalism, theft and illegal trade of non-ferrous metal and copper, and secondly to increase visible policing on trains and stations for improved commuter safety,’ said Mr Walker.
From a Western Cape Government point of view, the socio-economic and environmental benefit of a well-functioning rail service cannot be overstated, said Donald Grant, Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works and convener of the Rail Management Task Team.
‘A functioning, safe and secure rail network has the potential to connect in a way that is inclusive, efficient, and competitive, providing access to opportunities to the City’s population. Rail is likely to remain the biggest mode of transport of Cape Town’s workforce, even though passenger numbers are on the decline. I have always been excited by the potential of rail to be the foundation of commuter transport through a safe and affordable service for those without cars, and as a viable alternative mode for car users. Now is the time for inter-governmental cooperation in the spirit of the Constitution, and for the private sector and all other stakeholders to work with government to improve the situation. Addressing security as an urgent priority will go a long way towards achieving this. The present and future commuters of Cape Town and this region deserve a functional and effective rail service that fulfils its potential,’ said Minister Grant.
Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town
Councillor Brett Herron
Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, City of Cape Town,
Tel: 021 400 1298
Cell: 082 518 3264
Email: email@example.com (please always copy firstname.lastname@example.org).
Spokesperson: Metrorail Western Cape
Cell: 083 284 3508