The City of Cape Town, the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA), and the Western Cape Government have signed a memorandum of agreement which will see the formation of a dedicated enforcement unit dedicated to ensuring the safety and security of Metrorail commuters and infrastructure.
The memorandum of agreement follows on from the commitment made by the City’s Transport and Urban Development Authority at the rail summit convened in Woodstock earlier this year.
The cost to establish and operate the unit for a period of 12 months is approximately R47.9 million and will be jointly funded by the TDA, the Western Cape Government and PRASA. It is foreseen that the unit will be operational within the next two to three months.
Technology and crime intelligence
“The unit will consist of at least a hundred members and will focus on commuter safety as well as vandalism and the theft of crucial Metrorail infrastructure and assets,” explains the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, Councillor Brett Herron.
“The unit’s members will rely on technology and crime intelligence, and will support the South African Police Service to identify those who are involved in the illicit metals theft industry,” he adds.
The City will be responsible for the appointment and training of the law enforcement officers and the Metrorail Western Cape region will designate 50 members of the current Protection Services Unit to be trained in peace officer, traffic warden, and tactical street survival skills. They will form part of this task team.
Socio-economic and environmental benefits
From a Western Cape Government point of view, the socio-economic and environmental benefit of a well-functioning rail service cannot be overstated, notes Donald Grant, Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works and convener of the Rail Management Task Team.
“A functioning, safe and secure rail network has the potential to connect in a way that is inclusive, efficient, and competitive, providing access to opportunities to the City’s population.”