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Work of CT's rail unit delayed

Rail Enforcement Unit was supposed to begin its work on Thursday afternoon during the peak hours, but officers have still not been given permission to operate on Prasa infrastructure.

Rail enforcement officers at the Cape Town train station. The deployment of the City of Cape Town’s new Rail Enforcement Unit has again been delayed. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - There’s been yet another delay in the deployment of City of Cape Town’s new Rail Enforcement Unit tasked with cleaning up the troubled central line.

The unit is a joint initiative between the City of Cape Town, provincial government and the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa).

It was supposed to begin its work on Thursday afternoon during the peak hours, but officers have still not been given permission to operate on Prasa infrastructure.

Members of the new rail unit lined up were ready to hit the ground running but were told at the last minute that they cannot begin their duties.

The City’s JP Smith said: “Prasa wants to wait until the national minister has done a formal launch. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait till then. But in the meantime, nothing stops them from carrying on with their orientation training.”

The new recruits seem undeterred by the setback, they say they’re excited to begin.

Officer Morne Smit says they’ve undergone firearm training and street survival training.

“We also have family members who are part of these commuters, and it’s time for us to stand up. I’m in the law enforcement... it’s time to counter this.”

This team is seen as a first step to cleaning up the vital central line, which has become known for incidents of violence and crime, as well as vandalism.

WATCH: Cape commuters will have to wait a little longer for rail police

At the same time, commuters are hopeful that the new Rail Enforcement Unit will change the way the central line runs.

This Cape Town train commuter said: “I hope it will change... hope, with a capital ‘H’ because the trains are overpopulated, especially in the mornings.”

Another commuter added: “It’s good because we have problems with trains. Most of the time the trains are late.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)

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