Cape Town - The Rail Enforcement Unit (REU) arrested nine suspects and inspected 147 hot spot areas and scrapyards the past week. Furthermore, the Metrorail Protection Services made nine arrests and ensured that 25 suspects remain in custody.
Metrorail Protection Services arrested nine suspects this week and ensured that 25 offenders were denied bail. The teams also searched 1 042 individuals and patrolled 842 trains.
Up to 29 illegally erected structures were dismantled and 49 street people removed from PRASA-owned property.
Furthermore, the REU conducted eight operations and 1 520 stop-and-search operations last week; inspected 147 hot spot areas and scrapyards; and conducted 74 patrols at stations.
Two suspects were arrested in Delft and Ravensmead in terms of the Criminal Matters Amendment Act for tampering and malicious damage to essential infrastructure; and another seven suspects were arrested in Bishop Lavis, Lentegeur, Langa, Claremont, Kraaifontein and Kensington for the possession of suspected stolen property, dangerous weapons, and drugs.
"Our focus on improving the rail service is unwavering as offenders continue to pay a high price for their crimes. Thieves mostly still target underground signal cable but our teams recover about 93% of it," said Metrorail Western Cape Regional Manager, Richard Walker.
"Our teams collaborate well with various law enforcement agencies, the quality of their reporting is good and court submissions comply with prosecuting standards. We believe that this is the winning recipe for the high conviction rate in this province."
Mayoral Committee Member for Transport, Felicity Purchase said: "The REU and other protection services did a sterling job this past week. The arrests in terms of the Criminal Matters Amendment Act are very important because this act provides for stricter bail conditions and harsher sentences, including up to 30 years’ imprisonment for those caught and convicted for destruction of essential infrastructure.
"The purpose of this act is to ensure that those who undermine and sabotage our urban rail service stay behind bars for a long time. The more arrests we make the better our chances of stabilising the rail service and ensuring that the trains arrive and depart on time. This is ultimately what we want to achieve: to restore our commuters’ faith in rail so that more commuters shift from road-based transport to passenger rail," Purchase said.
Western Cape Transport and Public Works MEC and Chairperson of the Rail Management Task Team, Donald Grant said: "The work of the REU continues to bear fruit and improve safety in the rail network. The progress we see and the arrests being made every week are encouraging and necessary to rid the network of all criminal activity.
"Using intelligence to address the issues at their source has been critical to the success of the various operations that the REU has been involved in. Hot spot areas and scrapyards are increasingly no longer the safe haven for criminals, with more and more stolen equipment being recovered.
"In all of our efforts to improve the conditions in our rail network, the safety of commuters and the reliability and affordability of the service remain our main priority," Grant said.
Members of the public can assist the REU by reporting crime and vandalism as this forms part of the intelligence that drives deployment and operations.
Illicit and suspicious activity may be reported to any number listed below:
- Metrorail Protection Services hotline - 021 449 4336/5056
- RRPU Cape Town (platform 1)- 021 443 4325
- RRPU Bellville - 021 941 6800
- RRPU Philippi/Stock Road - 021 370 1011
- RRPU Retreat - 021 710 5129
- RRPU Radio Control/OPS room - 021 449 4309/10
- SAPS Crime Stop - 0860 10111
- Crime line - SMS 32211
- City of Cape Town Metals Theft Unit - 0800 222 2771
* Rewards of up to R25 000 are payable for information leading to successful conviction.