Metrorail crash: Who patrols the railway lines?

The train collision that took place in Elandsfontein in Ekurhuleni yesterday has claimed one life and left over 100 people injured. Initial reports suggest that cable theft may be to blame for the collision. The DA is concerned about the extent to which railway lines are policed to prevent vandalism such as cable theft.

I will submit questions to the MEC for Community Safety in Gauteng, Sizakele Nksoi-Malabane, in the Gauteng Legislature to determine the extent to which our railway lines are being patrolled by the South African Police Service (SAPS).

South Africans who must commute by train have no choice but to place their lives in danger to get to their jobs or look for work. It is an injustice that they must face grave danger on a daily basis because they cannot afford to use safer modes of transport.

The Metrorail service is highly vulnerable to criminal activity as the railway lines are open and must therefore be patrolled. The DA is concerned about whether the SAPS and Metrorail have a memorandum of understanding in terms of who is responsible for what aspects commuter safety and security of rail stock.

Aside from the ghastly risk that cable theft poses in terms of commuter safety, it further results in chronic train delays which make it very difficult for people to get to their jobs or look for work. Effective railway policing will go a long way in preventing this debilitating vandalism.

We offer our condolences to the family of the train driver whose life was lost during the collision. The DA will continue to monitor the incident as we are committed to commuter safety as well as to the reliability of trains.