The Herald (South Africa)

Prasa urged to reopen crime-ridden rail line

- Nomahlubi Jordaan

PARLIAMENT’S portfolio committee on transport has called on the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) to reopen the Khayelitsh­a railway line.

The central Cape Town railway line has been shut since January 9, after the murder of a security guard in Khayelitsh­a.

Members of the United National Transport Union (Untu) also threatened to halt northern-line trains after a ticket control officer was robbed.

The portfolio committee on transport advised Prasa to consider a multi-disciplina­ry approach that will involve the metro police‚ the SA Police Service and the Intelligen­ce Service to develop safety plans to protect passengers and also prevent cable theft.

“This situation is a crisis and necessitat­es a holding arrangemen­t while a permanent solution is being sorted out‚ Autopax [a subsidiary of Prasa] can dispatch buses to be used by the stranded commuters,” acting committee chairman Leonard Ramatlakan­e said.

“Prasa must find additional resources to make sure the central line is reopened urgently.”

Ramatlakan­e said it was unfortunat­e that train services on the Cape Town central line had been shut for such a long time.

“For five weeks, people have not been able to get to their places of work. We are failing the people of Cape Town.

“People are struggling to go and make a living – and are being dismissed when they don’t make it to work.

“We don’t have six months. The state does have resources – why not dispatch engineers from other regions?”

Last week, a massive security operation was unveiled.

Steps include a 1 500-strong security unit, costing R45-million a year, two bulletproo­f walls to seal off a 15km stretch of Cape Town’s central railway line and drones to monitor criminal activity on railways.

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