Cape Town - Western Cape transport MEC Donald Grant on Wednesday condemned the vandalism of Metrorail infrastructure.
“These vandals reportedly butchered signal cables at the busy section between Philippi and Nyanga, adversely affecting the train service between Nyanga and Khayelitsha/Chris Hani and Kapteinsklip/Mitchells Plain,” Grant said in a statement.
Acts of vandalism threatened the provision of reliable transport and jeopardised the safety of commuters.
“Obstructed signalling systems can have deadly consequences as trains rely on them to transport their commuters safely and on time to their destinations,” Grant said.
Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) chief executive officer Mosenngwa Mofi said cables were cut at various points in Khayelitsha on Wednesday morning which disrupted the rail services.
“We know who is responsible for the cable theft in the Western Cape. We have issued a reward of R50,000 for the positive identification of the suspects as well as any accurate information regarding this incident,” Mofi said in a statement.
Prasa had spent a total of R382 million over the past three years as a result of theft and vandalism.
Mofi said four National Prosecuting Authority prosecutors would be appointed to deal with Metrorail cases.
“Our memorandum of understanding with the NPA demonstrates the seriousness with which we regard cable theft and vandalism of our assets which potentially destabilises the whole economy if commuters cannot get to their places of work.
“We are also continuing our partnership with the police through their Rapid Rail Police Unit which then links with our security teams on the ground,” Mofi said.
He said Prasa had established cable theft units nationally.
“Our replacement costs are escalating beyond our control, these are monies we could be using to improve our service and upgrade our assets.
“Closing the central lines in the Western Cape or even the Vereeniging line in Gauteng may be the only solution to this pandemic,” Mofi said.