Cape Town To Improve On Railway’s Security

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A huge security operation was unveiled on Friday for Cape Town’s collapsing and crime-ridden railway system.
Steps agreed on at a summit in Woodstock between the City of Cape Town, the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) and the Western Cape government include:

  • A 1,500-strong security unit costing R45m a year;
  • Two bulletproof walls to seal off a 15km stretch of Cape Town’s central railway line, which has been closed since the beginning of the year due to concern about security; and
  • Drones to be deployed “within days” to monitor criminal activity on railways.

Cape Town mayoral committee member for transport Brett Herron said: “A lot still needs to happen, but I think we have achieved our goal for the summit by agreeing on a plan of action that can be implemented as soon as possible.”

The central railway line has been shut down on 9 January 2018 after the murder of a security guard in Khayelitsha. On Thursday, members of the United National Transport Union threatened to halt northern line trains after a ticket control officer was robbed.

Prasa acting CEO Mthuthuzeli Swartz said: “All of our efforts are focused on reinstating the central line service during the coming week.

“We will deploy drone technology within days, which should assist us to monitor any criminal activity on the system.”

Herron said an agreement on the new security measures would be signed within the next few weeks.

“The city is ready and willing to contribute R16m to get this plan off the ground,” he said.

“I asked the Transport and Urban Development Authority’s acting commissioner to reprioritise projects and to find the money somewhere in our budget, and he did.

“I am grateful that we have agreed on a starting point to address the safety and security issues to stabilise the urban rail service in the short term.”

Swartz said that Prasa would contribute R3m a month to the city council for managing and deploying Metrorail security personnel. He said the council was “better equipped” than Metrorail to do this.

Metrorail would use a new product developed by the Department of Environmental Affairs, made of alien vegetation, to build walls on either side of the rail reserve for 15km.

“The construction cost will amount to about R45m,” said Swartz.

“The wall will be constructed with alien plant biomass and is fire-resistant, bulletproof, strong, quick to build and cheaper than other options considered to date,” said Swartz.

“If we use the product ” we can save R20m.”


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