9 860 volunteers to protect railways
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Durban - ABOUT 9 860 community-based volunteers have come forward to protect what is left of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa's (Prasa) infrastructure in South Africa.
About 1500 police reservists will be deployed and trained across all 46 rail corridors. Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula said the long-distance train corridors would exclusively make use of the existing Railway Police contingent. A total of 80 military veterans would be deployed in these 46 corridors, where they would be performing corridor co-ordination duties.
This is part of Prasa’s Crime Prevention and Security Strategies. Mbalula launched the People’s Responsibility to Protect (PR2P) programme on Monday in Pretoria. He said the volunteers would focus on stations and corridors experiencing the most crime.
“The focus of this intervention is to manage the downward spiral resulting from rampant criminality through the implementation of crime prevention strategies and working with communities and stakeholders,” said Mbalula.
The programme is aimed at creating partnerships between Prasa and local communities living near railway lines. Communities will provide a force multiplier in addition to Prasa security in protecting rail infrastructure.
The first phase of the programme entails the roll-out of a public engagement programme led by the Prasa board.
The second phase entails the training of volunteers in security and neighbourhood watch. The third phase entails the integration of 20 volunteers from each station area in the 46 Prasa corridors.
“They will also be trained on how to work with communities, with the police as well as Prasa Protection Services,” Mbalula said.
On completion of their training, the volunteers will be equipped with grade C security certificates accredited by the Private Security Industry Regulatory Authority.
Mbalula said that once the volunteers were “rigorously trained and accepted”, they would assist in the reduction of crime and vandalism risk inside the trains, on platforms, at ticket offices, rail infrastructure and to protect rail commuters.
“Community volunteers will be in partnership with Prasa for 12 months and will undertake various key integration activities under the guidance of Prasa security,” Mbalula said.
“Facilitation of the deployment at stations, on the trains, on the platforms, across rail infrastructure and the outer perimeters of the rail precinct will be undertaken,” Mbalula said.