File picture: African News Agency (ANA)
File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Metrorail hopes to be back on track after ’sabotage’

By Okuhle Hlati Time of article published Jan 19, 2021

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Cape Town – Metrorail is hoping to have all its train services in the Western Cape operational today after a temporary suspension.

Commuters who depend on the service were left stranded yesterday morning and forced to seek alternative transport.

Acting regional manager Raymond Maseko said the rail network was suspended at about 8.30am after a problem arose.

A preliminary investigation indicated that damage was deliberately done overnight to two strategic relay rooms responsible for providing information to operate trains safely, he said.

Signal equipment failure was reported at Cape Town station and between Ysterplaat and Kentemade.

“We condemn the deliberate damage in the strongest possible terms. Deliberate destruction of a limited service used by commuters heavily reliant on affordable rail transport is nothing short of criminal.

’’We are aware of our customers' frustration. Our technical teams will work around the clock to repair the damage to ensure that services are restored as soon as possible.”

Maseko said due to the situation, all stations had to be temporarily closed. Trains stuck in sections were taken to depots and commuters on trains were assisted to the nearest station.

This comes while the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) has revised its regional security strategy to focus on hotspots and maintaining facilities.

Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott said safety and security was beefed up to enforce Covid-19 Legal Succession Act compliance and to conduct joint crime prevention actions with law enforcement agencies.

“These have been very successful as reported crime within rail precincts dropped by 76% during the last three months of 2020 compared with the same period in 2019.

’’Regional arrests soared by 81% over the same period. The incidents last night were deliberate sabotage,” said Scott.

United Commuters Voice spokesperson João Jardim accused Prasa of only sharing information when it is frustrated.

“An example is the employee who was arrested a month ago for accepting bribes from criminals to steal cables. This also goes back to what we've been saying about implementing a by-law for bucket shops.”

Cape Times

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