The fight back against the criminals destroying our vital suburban rail service gathered new impetus this week with the start of recruiting of 100 new law enforcement officers to protect passengers and rail infrastructure.
In welcoming the development, the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry congratulated the City, the Provincial Government, Metrorail and PRASA on the joint initiative which they are also funding.
I am delighted to see that recruitment is already underway and that many of the candidates will be selected from those who already have law enforcement training
The faster we can get the officers on the trains and stations the better.
What made the initiative so significant was the way everyone was working together with the Railway Police and the S A Police Service.
Metrorail has lost 149 carriages since May 2015 with the last two arson attacks causing damage estimated at R51m.
This is the kind of destruction one would expect to find on a battlefield, not in a peace-time city.
What we need now is support for the new force, especially information or intelligence that will enable them to anticipate problems and to follow the trail of the stolen items, scrap metal and copper wire to the people who are profiting from this destruction.
The cost of the new force for 12 months is nearly R48 million which is less than the cost of the two most recent arson attacks.
The Chamber believes Cape Town’s rail corridors and the infrastructure are priceless assets that are vital for the City’s future.
Making the trains safe and reliable again will make a huge impact on peoples’ lives, and it is the best way to deal with the congestion on the roads. It must be our top priority.
Janine Myburgh is President of the Cape Chamber
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