Disgruntled Security Guards Delay 51 Trains on Central Line
Security staff locked in a wage dispute with their employer, CHIPPA Securities, are believed to be behind a spate of vandalism that left thousands of commuters stranded on Monday morning, 11 November 2013.
Signal head cables cut at Stock Road, Lentegeur, Nyanga, Heideveld and Khayelitsha wreaked havoc with trains bringing commuters into the city centre this morning.
Seventeen trains had to be cancelled altogether, a further 51 were delayed for a total of 4 187 minutes. Some trains were delayed by more than 70 minutes.
The acts of vandalism were perpetrated between 04:00 and 06:00 on Monday morning.
Speaking at Philippi Railway Police Station on Monday, 11 November, Regional manager Mthuthuzeli Swartz says it is unacceptable that commuters should be held ransom by those with hidden agendas: "We are laying charges of sabotage and expect their employers CHIPPA to take decisive action against these employees".
Swartz was accompanied by Minister Carlisle, Mayoral Committee Member for Transport Councillor Brett Herron and CHIPPA owner Simon Mpengezi.
"Perpetrators of these very serious crimes must be made to pay the consequences for their actions. I was at Philippi Railway Police Station on Monday, 11 November to support Mr Swartz in making sure that this happens. I am encouraged by my discussion with the owner of CHIPPA Securities, Mr Mpengezi. He will not only assist bringing them to justice for these crimes, but also ensure that those in possession of a firearm license are effectively stripped of these and not allowed to carry one. Their acts have not only threatened the provision of reliable public transport to the hundreds of thousands that use trains daily in and around the City, but have also threatened the safety of commuters. Obstructed signaling systems can have deadly consequences as trains rely on them to transport their commuters safely and on time to their destinations," said Minister Carlisle.
"Over 300 000 commuters make use of trains and public transport daily to get to and from work. The provision of this essential service must not be threatened by criminals who have no regard for the law. The City’s economy relies largely on our ability to transport commuters safely and efficiently. Those responsible must answer to, and suffer the consequences of these deplorable acts of sabotage," said Councillor Brett Herron.
Technicians battled the better part of the day to restore the multicore cables that provide power to the signals to enable trains to operate safely. Although the direct cost of vandalism is conservatively calculated at R155 000 rand this year alone, Swartz said the knock on effect of lost productivity due to thousands of commuters arriving late at work is much more: "Employers are getting understandably exasperated as diminished productivity affects their businesses adversely".
Target-hardening measures, protection of assets with data dot technology and asset protection in staging yards have mitigated against vandalism and contributed to improved punctuality.
Metrorail Western Cape’s rail network comprises 481 km, stretching from Cape Town to as far as Worcester, Kuyasa (Khayelitsha), Malmesbury, Stellenbosch, Strand and Simon’s Town.
There are four Railway Police Stations: Bellville, Philippi, Retreat and Cape Town Station. Their contact numbers are listed below for ease of reference.
Anyone with any information regarding these incidents can also phone their information through anonymously to our all hours security line 0800 21 00 81/ 021 449 4336.
Metrorail is offering a reward of up to R25 000 which is payable for further information leading to conviction.
Railway Police Contact Numbers:
- Cape Town (platform one) : 021 443 4334
- Bellville : 021 940 3627/ 8
- Stock Road : 021 374 7045
- Retreat : 021 710 5129
- Radio Control : 021 449 5111
- SAPS Crime Stop : 0860 10111
- Crime line SMS : 32211