cape Town 121218. Metrorail will beef up its security by hiring 100 former SANDF members, installing CCTV cameras and using tactical response units. Metrorails Riana Scott said on Monday that the ex-soldiers would be employed by Metrorail . Pic: Masixole feni

Cape Town - Former army officers have been deployed by Metrorail to boost safety measures aboard trains this festive season.

Yesterday, some commuters were puzzled when ticket verifiers dressed in army uniforms boarded trains.

The move to include ex-army officials during the holiday season was a “strategic” move, said Metrorail regional manager Mthuthuzeli Swartz.

“We wanted to ensure that our customers, our employees and our assets are secured,” he said.

About 280 ex-soldiers, former non-statutory Apla and MK combatants have joined the ranks of Metrorail’s protection services. Swartz said they were deployed to key points and were set to become a permanent feature.

Despite constant calls for the army to be deployed in gang hot spots and, more recently, to quell the unrest during farm protests, premier Helen Zille’s spokesman Zak Mbhele said the use of ex-army officials on the trains was welcome.

“A boost to law enforcement and visible patrolling capacity is always welcome, especially over the festive and tourist season, provided it’s within the law and regulations,” Mbhele said.

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Cape Argus