Prasa condemns Newclare vandalism
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Johannesburg - Prasa on Monday condemned the torching, vandalism and theft of its property at the Newclare train station, near Westbury in Johannesburg.
Group CEO Lucky Montana said the vandalism and looting took place under guise of service delivery and had nothing to do with the Passenger Rail Agency of SA.
Montana said he was disappointed that a second building used by an employee was “burnt while members of the SA Police Service were watching”.
“I have learnt with serious disappointment that the second building was torched in the presence of the police, who actually stood there and did nothing to stop this criminality,” he said in a statement.
“It is unacceptable to allow people to destroy property without taking any action. We are seriously disappointed.”
Montana has called on Prasa's protection services to protect its assets at the station.
Metrorail in Gauteng has suspended the train service between Randfontein and Johannesburg.
Prasa said the protest spilled over to the railway environment and people forced their way into the ticket office to steal money collected. But the safe was locked and they stole computers, ticket machines and printers.
On Monday morning, security guards at the Newclare train station shot dead a man during a protest, police said.
“The protesters from Kathrada Park informal settlement were complaining about houses, when they came to the Newclare train station and started burning the offices and breaking windows,” said Warrant Officer Jerbes de Bruyn.
“The security of the railway station shot one of the protesters, who was killed.”
Police had yet to determine the man's age and name.
“The police escorted all the security off the premises to a safe place,” De Bruyn said.
“Police dispersed the protesters with rubber bullets, but now they are back again.”
Police would maintain a strong presence at the train station.
Montana said the protest, theft and vandalism was unacceptable and a “pure act of criminality”.
“There is absolutely no excuse for it. The protest was about service delivery and had nothing to do with Metrorail's train service,” he said.
“This unbecoming community behaviour is really worrying as it negatively affects commuters, employees and has resulted in damage to our properties, which would cost millions to rebuild.”
The station was under construction and the contract to upgrade the station was worth over R3 million.
Prasa had spent almost R1 million to date.
Damage to the entire station was estimated at R6.5 million.
Earlier, Gauteng human settlements MEC Jacob Mamabolo expressed his concern over the extent of the damage and destruction.
“The tragic loss of a life is not only sad but totally unacceptable under this or any such circumstances,” said Mamabolo.
“This type of lawlessness, violence and destruction is totally uncalled for and is condemned in the strongest possible terms.”
Mamabolo said he was willing to listen to the residents and extended an invitation to meet their leadership in the area.