Prasa in WC works with neighbourhood watches to combat rail vandalism, theft

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The acting regional manager of Prasa Raymond Maseko said under level 5, Prasa technicians were not working because there were no trains in operation.

Cape Town train station. Picture: @CapeTownTrains/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN – The acting regional manager of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) in the Western Cape, Raymond Maseko, on Monday said arrests were made daily in Cape Town in connection with rail-related offences.

Maseko said the lockdown had done nothing to deter criminals from targeting rail infrastructure.

He said under level 5, Prasa technicians were not working because there were no trains in operation.

“Under level four when the technicians came back, they started doing an assessment of the damage in the network. Then we started picking up where hotspot areas were. That’s why some of the lines that we are bringing back, we only bring them back gradually because there’s a lot of work we have to do before we reintroduce the train service,” Maseko said.

He said the state-owned company’s was working with neighbourhood watches in crime hot spots.

“We are partnering with neighbourhood watches and we train those people. We train them on basic security techniques and some of them go on to get the grade B certificate in security,” Maseko said.

However, the United National Transport Union’s (Untu) spokesperson Sonja Carstens said she feared it was a losing battle.

“They put up a new signal today, and tomorrow when it needs to be switched on its stolen already,” Carstens said.

The transport minister again promised operations on the Cape’s central line would be up-and-running soon, but he did not give time frames.

It used to the busiest railway corridor in the province, but due to ongoing vandalism and theft, it had to be shut.

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