Rail Enforcement Source: Google Images

Eight suspects will appear in court this week on various rail-related crimes, following the Rail Enforcement Unit (REU)’s clampdown on scrapyards, bucket shops and hot spots last week.

The unit had focused mainly on curtailing metal theft in the rail environment when it made the arrests in the Woodstock and Claremont-Rondebosch area.

Seven of the arrests were for malicious damage to property, attempted robbery, theft and possession of stolen property.

A total of 29 items the unit confiscated in 121 inspections of the scrapyards, bucket shops and hotspots, included 13m of copper cable, a saw-blade and saw, a knife, seven units of liquor, two overalls and four bags.

The unit issued eight Section 56 notices to appear in court, as well as 47 Section 341 notices during the clampdown.

Launched in last year’s Transport Month (October) by Minister of Transport Blade Nzimande, the unit has made several strides in creating a safer rail system for Cape commuters.

Metrorail Western Cape Regional manager Richard Walker said the Province and City collaboration was a positive step towards restoring the public’s faith in rail.

“We have seen how crime is displaced from one area to another as soon as we clamp down. The areas where the REU’s arrests were made this past week are known for anti-social behaviour, a source of concern to both residents and businesses,” he said.

Walker said Metrorail remained open to joint initiatives and would engage the Chamber of Commerce and residents’ associations with a view to join the fight against crime.

Transport mayco member Felicity Purchase said: “I’m eager to see more commuters returning to rail. The REU efforts to curtail metal theft will, over time, resonate in a more stable and reliable rail service which will ensure that this mode of transport becomes the first choice for those who are travelling to and from work.

“A shift from road-based transport to rail will assist to alleviate the congestion on Cape Town’s roads during the peak-hour periods. This will have a big influence on our residents’ quality of life, because the less time they spend on travelling, the more time they will have with their loved ones.”

Transport and Public Works MEC and RMTT chairperson Donald Grant said: “I believe the work being done by the REU will go a long way towards discouraging would-be criminals from stealing property and damaging Metrorail infrastructure.

“It is important that commuters’ confidence in rail is immediately restored, and that safety within the rail network remains top of mind,” he said.

The public could assist by reporting crime and vandalism, as this forms part of the intelligence that drives deployment and operations.

Illicit and suspicious activities may be reported to contact numbers including: Metrorail Protection Services hotline (0214494336/5056), RRPU Cape Town platform no 1 (021443 4325), Saps Crime Stop (086010111) and Crime Line SMS 32211).