Cape Town City's mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith accompanied the rail enforcement unit (REU) officers during a patrol of trains and railway stations in Cape Town on Friday morning. PHOTO: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN - The City of Cape Town's mayoral committee member for safety and security, JP Smith, accompanied the Rail Enforcement Unit (REU) officers during a patrol of trains and railway stations in Cape Town on Friday morning.

The unit was launched in recent weeks to assist the existing security services with the challenges the Metrorail service faces, which include attacks on the rail infrastructure and assets, the sabotage of the urban rail network, as well as the safety of commuters and rail employees.

The City said the formation of the unit follows a memorandum of agreement it signed in May with the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) and the Western Cape government in which the three stakeholders committed to jointly fund the R47,9 million needed to establish and operate the unit for a period of 12 months.

“Passengers say they feel much safer with REU on trains. We will be engaging Prasa via MEC Donald Grant in the next week or two to explore the expansion of the initiative beyond pilot programme to ensure permanent deployment of officers on every train set and squads to patrol infrastructure,” Smith said.

REU officers with commuters during the patrol. PHOTO: Supplied.
REU officers with commuters during the patrol. PHOTO: Supplied.

During the patrol, Smith said he also noticed that many passengers did not have valid train tickets.

“On the carriage, I am on, one out of 18 passengers have a ticket at the moment. Next carriage has zero tickets out of 42 passengers,” he said.

Last month activist group Unite Behind organised a big protest outside the Cape Town train station, calling for the swift recovery of troubled rail services and prioritising of passenger safety and security.

Cape Town City's mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith, during a rail enforcement unit (REU) officers' patrol on Friday, travels in a train carriage where he says only one out of 18 passengers has a valid ticket. PHOTO: Supplied.

African News Agency (ANA)