Weapons seizures and cable thief sentenced: Cape Town acts on train safety

Prasa investigators are helping prevent crime on Cape Town's valuable train network.
Prasa investigators are helping prevent crime on Cape Town's valuable train network.
Image: Gallo Images / Rapport / Deon Raath

Cape Town's recently established Rail Enforcement Unit is actively combating crime on the metro's vital train network, seizing 24 knives, scissors and tools that can be used to vandalise assets, in just one week.

The unit inspected 66 hotspot areas and scrapyards last week. 

Teams from passenger rail agency Prasa also attended 27 court cases in various magistrate courts to see that suspects are brought to book.

A convicted cable thief received a 12-year sentence suspended for six years last week after pleading guilty.

"As for the other court cases, all other suspects were denied bail and will remain in custody until their next appearance," the city said in a statement.

Metrorail Western Cape regional manager Richard Walker added: "The majority of suspects pleaded guilty as a result of the solid evidence provided by Prasa investigators. The arrests and convictions contribute to the improved predictability of the train service and the reduction of crime on trains and at stations."

Among the arrests during last week's operations were four people suspected of robbery, damage to essential infrastructure, and being in possession of stolen property.

The unit also issued warnings or fines to people for holding train doors open, entering or exiting a moving train, crossing railway lines illegally at stations, and standing between coaches while trains were in motion.

The Rail Enforcement Unit is a special security initiative funded by Prasa, the City of Cape Town and the Western Cape department of transport and public works to focus on by-law compliance, metal theft prevention and to support SAPS Railway Police in the protection of commuters.

Crime and vandalism can be reported to various agencies including the: Metrorail Protection Services hotline on 021-449-4336; RRPU Radio Control/OPS room 021-449-4309/10; SAPS Crime Stop 086-010-111; Crime Line SMS 32211; and City of Cape Town Metals Theft Unit 080-022-2771.

Rewards of up to R25,000 are payable for information leading to successful conviction.

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