to help revive the Prasa Rail Enforcement Unit (REU), which operated successfully as a three-way government partnership between October 2018 and July 2020.
The Unit was an effective deterrent against vandalism - it conducted inspections at hot spot areas and scrapyards; recovered stolen cables and goods, made arrests for among others, possession of stolen goods, drugs, assault and malicious damage to property.
The City believes the revival of the Unit would be a meaningful intervention that has previously been shown to work and will have a positive impact on safeguarding the network.
We are engaging the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) at the moment about this,' said Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis.
The REU was launched by the then National Minister
of Transport, Blade Nzimande in October 2018 at a cost of R48 million.
It delivered an immediate improvement in the safety of Metrorail commuters and rail infrastructure.
National government, the Western Cape government and the City of Cape Town each contributed a third to the funding of this Unit, and provided an additional 100 City Law Enforcement officers to the existing security personnel in an effort to help support the security challenges faced by Metrorail.
However, the REU ceased to operate in July 2020 and we are hopeful that Prasa will rejoin what was an effective partnership at curbing vandalism.
Over the years, the rail network has experienced decline because of rampant vandalism by organised syndicates.
The sharpest increase in vandalism was seen during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Safety and Security directorate met with Prasa and a preliminary agreement was reached to reinstate the Rail Enforcement Unit (REU) along with several other critical interventions to ensure that the safety of commuters and rail infrastructure was achieved.
The proposal is to sign a new Memorandum of Agreement, which would guide the apportionment of costs between the City of Cape Town, the Western Cape Provincial Government and Prasa to deliver on the reinstatement of the REU as rapidly as possible.
The REU would be supported by drones and the Eye-in-the-Sky digital surveillance and evidence management, with enhanced information management and investigative support, as well as improved revenue protection mechanisms to ensure that safe and effective rail commuter transport can be reinstated as quickly as possible and protected against further vandalism,' said Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.
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