File photo: Independent Media

Cape Town - The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) has condemned violent attacks against workers on duty and will intensify pressure on the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) and Chuma Security company to "force them to do what is necessary" to improve the safety of Numsa members.

Numsa was shocked at the news that one of its members - a Chuma Security employee - was recently raped while on duty. Her male colleague who was with her at the time was also attacked, Numsa Western Cape regional secretary Vuyo Lufele said on Sunday.

"This shocking incident happened in the early hours of Saturday morning on the 12th August 2017 while our members were patrolling the train coaches at Strand Metrorail New Yard in the Western Cape. They were confronted by knife-wielding thugs who tied them up before robbing them and raping one of our members.

"As Numsa we are truly disturbed by the violence being meted out against workers while they are on duty. These barbaric criminal acts must stop. We call for an end to violence, particularly against women in our communities," he said.
 
It had also been brought to Numsa's attention that this was not the first time such incidents occurred. In 2014 and 2015 there were other incidents of rape which occurred at the workplace, but nothing had been done by Prasa to improve safety for workers. 

"As Numsa we will intensify the pressure on Prasa and Chuma Security to force them to do what is necessary to improve working conditions for all our members. They cannot use cost as an excuse; they must demonstrate that they value human lives, and the lives of their employees," Lufele said.
 
Numsa believed this crime could have been prevented if more security guards were deployed to patrol the dangerous zones. Numsa demanded that Chuma management and Prasa urgently beef up security for the sake of the employees working there. Numsa intended to meet management soon to find a long-term solution to "this disastrous situation".
 
"We will leave no stone unturned until the perpetrators are brought to book and in ensuring that these two companies adhere to the law in improving working conditions for all workers.
 
"We also want to express our deepest sympathies to our members and their families for the horrific ordeal that they have been subjected to. We will stand with them and do everything in our power to soothe the pain of their suffering. We will fight with them for justice," Lufele said.
African News Agency