Scrap metal collectors are purging Prasa’s property in Woodstock

Scrap metal collectors are busy purging Prasa’s property in Woodstock.

Scrap metal collectors are busy purging Prasa’s property in Woodstock.

Published Jan 24, 2024


Cape Town - Street scrap metal collectors are purging what is left of a recycling business property that burnt down on Christmas Day as a result of a fire that broke out in a problematic Prasa building nearby, leaving more than 40 people unemployed.

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) said it had employed security guards to monitor and prevent criminal activities in its unoccupied building situated in Tide Street, Woodstock.

However, the two guards stationed at the building cannot cope as criminals continue to vandalise the premises and smoke drugs right in front of the guards.

When the Cape Argus visited the premises yesterday, right after Prasa said it had implemented security measures for the facility since December 13, a number of scrap metal collectors, drug addicts and established companies, with their vehicles, were reaping metal from the walls and roof of the facility.

One security guard said all they could do was watch because they are overwhelmed “by the number of people who have turned this place into an illegal scrap yard”.

“This has been happening for almost a month; since the fire broke out. Every official you can think of has been here, from law enforcement to the SAPS, to even Prasa, but all seem to not be doing anything, or at least to fence the property,” said the guard, who wishes not to be named.

“There’s not much we can do here as some of these people are armed and dangerous. Imagine there’s only two of us and we carry no weapons against an army of them,” said the guard.

The guard said that these criminals start reaping the metal from the early hours of the morning and throughout the night. “They take turns; some also have generators to help them work at night.”

One of the scrap metal collectors said that with the steel, they can get up R80 a kilogram, depending on who they take the metal to.

Prasa said that it was aware of the illegal activities taking place on the premises and that is why it implemented a security measure.

“Prasa plans to demolish the dilapidated structure before March.

“Prasa had appointed a security company to guard the building as of December 13.”

Ian McMahon, Woodstock councillor, said they welcomed Prasa’s decision to demolish the building.

“That building needs to go.”