The organisation said the ongoing crime had affected its operations and led to the derailment of trains. TFR spokesperson Mike Asefovitz said the war room would include various law enforcement agencies like the South African Police Service.
“The sabotage of the coal line in December, where the line was cut with an industrial blowtorch and resulted in a serious derailment, gave impetus to urgently implement the war room to co-ordinate daily security incidents, analyse the information, develop proper action plans with the support of law enforcement,” Asefovitz said in a statement.
Last year a coal line at Elubana near Richards Bay was cut with a blowtorch resulting in the derailment of a 200 wagon coal train. Asefovitz said for security reasons he could not divulge details of the cost of damages that TFR had sustained from that act of sabotage. Asefovitz said the challenge was that they had to secure 20000 kilometres of rail track and that the organisation operated some 800 trains per day, which carry about 8000 wagons, which required detailed planning.
“Each incident necessitates re-planning and re-allocation of resources, which leads to delays for which TFR pays the ultimate price in reputational damage. The consequence of theft is not limited to financial losses but can also result in human disaster and tragedy. Theft also often leads to the destruction of freight rail assets, such as locomotives and wagons, and can cost the company millions of rand in repairs and replacement,” Asefovitz said.
Apart from TFR, Metrorail has also been the victim of numerous acts of sabotage and theft over the years. These incidents included the burning of coaches and cable theft, which cost the company millions of rand.