Some of the officers being trained on rail commuter safety. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) has promised to pay their R16 million contribution towards the joint venture between the City and the provincial government to train and deploy 100 security officers to protect the City’s rail network.

The training of the rail enforcement officers forms part of a memorandum of agreement signed earlier this year between the provincial Public Works and Transport Department, Prasa and the City of Cape Town.

The projected cost to operate the unit is R48m per annum.

Mayco member for transport and urban development Brett Herron said the City and provincial government had already made available their R16m contribution.

Premier Helen Zille visited the Metro Police Training Academy where 71 rail enforcement officers are currently being trained on rail commuter safety.

Zille said train arson attacks were increasing, but had made only two arrests and secured no convictions in 10 years.

“Train burnings is grand economic sabotage and the question must be asked: where is crime intelligence?” Zille said next week they would be meeting the police and justice sectors to probe the reasons for the broken criminal justice pipeline.

Mayco member for Safety and Security and Social Services JP Smith delivers his speech at the Metro Police Training Academy, where 71 Rail Enforcement officers being trained on rail commuter safety. Video: Sisonke Mlamla/Cape Argus.

Train commuters have faced direct safety risks between 2015 and 2017, and 32 murders and 114 assaults were reported on trains or in stations in the province, with only 12 arrests for murders and 59 arrests for assault.

Mayco member for safety and security and social services JP Smith said: “The rail enforcement unit is desperately needed. Apart from commuter safety and vandalism, it will also focus on the theft of crucial Metrorail infrastructure and assets.”

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Cape Argus