It is becoming clear that “vandals” have gained the upper hand and Metrorail is losing the battle to run a good service for commuters, says the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
“How is it possible for vandals to defeat the best efforts of the railway police, the S A Police service and the private security firms employed to protect Metrorail property year after year?” asked Ms Janine Myburgh, President of the Chamber.
A new approach and a new energy was needed because traditional policing was proving to be a failure.
There was much more to the problem than vandalism,” said Ms Myburgh. “Vandals get bored after a while and find something else to do.”
“We know that copper theft plays a role and that there are crime syndicates involved, but that does not explain the burning of coaches. There is no money to be made from arson, so there must be another reason.”
Ms Myburgh said what was required was innovative thinking. “The old methods of trying to prevent theft and damage are no longer working so we need a new approach. The world has changed. Thieves are being warned by cell phone. They clearly have a better intelligence network than Metrorail or the police. It’s time to catch up.”
She said the attacks amounted to the sabotage of a service vital to the economy of the City. “It should be treated as a priority crime. We need a war room to bring all our crime fighting resources together to tackle the problem,” she said.
“We need to face up to the reality and Metrorail must stop talking about vandalism. They are kidding themselves. It is a much bigger problem. To call it vandalism trivialises the crime.”
Members of the Chamber reported that traffic was much heavier than usual as people took to their private cars.
Earlier this year a survey of members by the Chamber found that about 85% of firms said staff were demotivated and productivity was affected and 90% said that the resulting traffic congestion was costing them time and money.”
The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry