Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula. File photo: ANA/Thobile Mathonsi
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula. File photo: ANA/Thobile Mathonsi

Blind spots in security at stations

By MAYIBONGWE MAQHINA Time of article published Sep 17, 2019

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Johannesburg - Nearly a third of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras do not work at railway stations that are managed by the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa).

Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula revealed this in a written response to a parliamentary question from the DA’s Okkie Terblanche, who asked about the number of CCTV cameras that were installed but not in working order at each station.

The same question was posed to Police Minister Bheki Cele in July.

“The SAPS has not installed CCTV cameras at train stations. The Minister of Transport will be in a better position to respond to this question,” Cele said in July.

In his written response, Mbalula said only 181 railway stations had CCTV cameras.

There were 56 stations in South Gauteng with CCTV cameras, 57 in North Gauteng, 26 in KwaZulu-Natal and 42 in the Western Cape.

Mbalula said there were 10505 CCTV cameras installed in the 181 railway stations.

South Gauteng had 3629 cameras, North Gauteng 2084, KwaZulu-Natal 1965 and the Western Cape 2817.

“A total of 2824 of the installed CCTV cameras at Prasa managed railway stations are not in working order,” he said.

Mbalula said that there were various reasons for this, including the theft of electrical and telecommunication tables, theft and vandalism of CCTV equipment, delayed maintenance, and CCTV project installations that were in progress or not yet completed.

Terblanche said the statistics were alarming considering the fact that crime was on the increase.

“In 2018 alone, an estimated 495 people lost their lives while making use of our trains, and 2079 were injured,” he said.

“To make matters worse, around 26.8% of all the cameras installed nationally are not working. How can we have effective policing at train stations when most stations do not have cameras, and those that do are not guaranteed to have operational ones?” Terblanche asked.

He charged that Prasa’s outdated infrastructure placed many commuters across the country under constant threat of being attacked by criminals.

Terblanche pointed out that his party had a rail plan that would create a safe and well-managed railway system that put commuters first and would ensure job security.

This entailed merging Transnet and Prasa under the Department of Transport and ceding control of Metrorail services to the metros.

“Poor railway infrastructure and mismanagement make it hard for South Africans to reliably depend on trains to deliver them to their destinations safely and on time,” he said.

Political Bureau

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