Gauteng Metrorail concerned over cable theft, vandalism amid train service disruptions

The Metrorail in Gauteng says it is experiencing difficulties in providing a "reliable" train service for its commuters in the province, due to vandalism and theft at its stations.

Gauteng Metrorail spokesperson Lillian Mofokeng said the railway operator was forced to disburse technicians to multiples areas after experiencing service disruptions.

This comes in light of the delay or cancellation of trains running between Pretoria CBD and Pienaarspoort due to damage of its station overhead wires that even diesel locomotives could not run with the low-hanging wires.

Mofokeng said ongoing theft at Gauteng train stations was of great concern.

"Management is concerned about the ongoing theft of cables and infrastructure components which make it impossible for Metrorail to provide reliable train services for millions of commuters," she said.

She emphasised that theft and vandalism had affected the return of a normal train service in the province and said that only three corridors were running at the moment.

"Pienaarspoort to Pretoria, Tembisa to Elandsfontein and Soweto to Johannesburg is the only three corridors running in the entire province using diesel locomotives due to loss of electrical cables."

Mofokeng noted that the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) was having difficulty to effectively secure the vast open the network and its 218 stations.

"The rise of vandalism and theft of critical infrastructure components, along with the evident growth in the illicit trading of copper and steel on the black market, means Prasa must refocus its efforts towards providing more security manpower.

"The unfortunate part is that the vandalism and theft will directly affect the majority of communities and commuters who depend on Metrorail."

In 2019, Prasa recorded loses of approximately R364 million due to vandalism as a result of train burning, vandalism of power stations and the theft of electrical cables in the Western Cape and Gauteng.

Mofokeng has since urged the public to take a stand against cable theft and vandalism after a man was allegedly caught red-handed stealing more than R800,000's worth of Metrorail cables on Monday in Hercules, Pretoria West.

"Report such criminals to the nearest police station or Metrorail Protection Services on 011 013 0055/57."

This article first appeared on Rekord and was republished with permission.

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