File photo: African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town – Three suspects appeared in court for various rail-related crimes following the Rail Enforcement Unit's (REU) clampdown on hot spots and scrap yards over the past week.

The suspects were accused of the possession of dangerous weapons, suspected stolen property and malicious damage to property in Ravensmead, Elsies River, and Diep River by the REU.

About 588 stop-and-searches were conducted, 84 hot spots searched and fines to the value of R8 300 were issued.

This was followed by the arrest of another five suspects by Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) Protection Services, the SAPS Rapid Rail Response Unit and private security contractors. 

The arrests were made in terms of the Criminal Matters Amendment Act for malicious damage to property, being in possession of stolen property and suspected rape.

There were a total of 27 court appearances and bail was successfully opposed in all cases.

Metrorail regional manager Richard Walker said the arrests were encouraging and stolen goods recovered.

“We have noted an increase in robberies at stations and on trains. Teams will address this as a matter of urgency to ensure we nip it in the bud.”

Transport Mayco member Felicity Purchase said: “Our investment in the Rail Enforcement Unit, which is focusing on the safety and security of commuters and the rail infrastructure, is a serious commitment to improve the urban rail service in the short term.

"I'm heartened to say the REU is making progress, together with the efforts from Prasa Protection Services and SAPS Rapid Rail Response Unit.”

Transport and Public Works MEC and Rail Management Task Team chairperson Donald Grant applauded the REU’s stop-and-searches conducted at various hotspots.

“It has yielded positive results, and the recovery of property and various weapons used to commit crimes. Their presence in these communities has been impactful and will go a long way towards restoring commuter confidence in the system.

“The strides made in improving safety and security within the rail network have increased optimism,” Grant said.

Cape Times