Fines to the value of R21 600 were issued by the REU over the past week. Furthermore, 14 stop-and-searches were conducted. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Cape Town - The Rail Enforcement Unit (REU) inspected 10 hot spot areas and scrapyards this past week, and PRASA’S multi-disciplinary teams recovered more than R200 000 worth of stolen goods in March 2019.

Another cable thief remains behind bars after receiving a 10-year sentence that was suspended for four years. Furthermore, over the past week PRASA Protection Services and private security contractors patrolled 1 232 trains, conducted 1 324 searches and arrested five suspects, including one for the possession of drugs.

The teams also attended 32 court cases, dismantled five structures and removed 12 indigent people from rail reserves.

Fines to the value of R21 600 were issued by the REU over the past week. Furthermore, 14 stop-and-searches were conducted.

"Well done on another conviction this past week. Due to the diligence of the teams a cable thief is behind bars for an effective six years with the remainder of his 10-year term suspended for four years. During March goods to the value of R200 000 were recovered as the teams steadily make inroads into crime. We are also encouraged that a drug arrest was made and will continue to clamp down on unsavoury elements on trains and at stations," said Metrorail Western Cape Regional Manager, Richard Walker.

Mayco Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith said: "We’ve seen in recent months that public transport is becoming more vulnerable to crime; not only the infrastructure, but also staff and commuters. This rail enforcement initiative could provide a blueprint for future interventions to safeguard our public transport system as a whole. 

"Cape Town needs public transport that works, and works well, not only for economic stability and growth, but also to ease congestion by getting motorists onto our trains and buses. The REU is a step in that direction, but as recent incidents in the media prove, there is much work that lies ahead."

Transport MEC and Public Works and Chairperson of the Rail Management Task Team, Donald Grant added: "We are heartened by the convictions for rail-related crimes that are being handed down by the courts. We have long held the belief that harsh consequences handed out by the criminal justice system are the only way to deter criminal activity, particularly crimes that occur within the rail network. 

"We hope that more and more of the suspects apprehended by the REU and the PRASA security services will be effectively prosecuted, convicted, and sentenced to time behind bars. We will continue to work with and support our public transport partners in ensuring that this happens."

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.

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