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CT rail enforcement unit loses members as future uncertain

The unit was launched in October and was funded by Prasa, the City of Cape Town and the provincial government.

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: Cindy Archillies/EWN

CAPE TOWN – The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) said no decision had been made on the future of Cape Town's rail enforcement unit.

The unit was launched in October and was funded by Prasa, the City of Cape Town and the provincial government.

Last week, the City stated it was ready to continue funding the unit, but Prasa said it was a 12-month project and its impact must still be assessed.

In October, 100 officers were deployed on stations and trains to make rail transport in Cape Town safer.

At the time the city was dealing with widespread train fires and there was speculation of arson.

Now, the City of Cape Town said the unit was depleting because members were unsure whether their contracts would be renewed. The unit is down to 82 members.

Mayco member JP Smith said Prasa did not confirm whether it would continue to fund the project.

“A longer-term sustainability will depend on Prasa renewing that agreement.”

The rail agency has confirmed to Eyewitness News it is difficult to commit to a timeline as yet.

NOT CLEAR WHEN MKHWEBANE WILL RELEASE REPORT

Meanwhile, it’s still not clear when the Public Protector's investigation into the state of Metrorail in the Western Cape will be concluded.

The provincial standing committee on transport and public works requested advocate Busisiwe Mkhwebane's office to look into the causes behind problems impacting Metrorail.

These issues included attacks on infrastructure, constant delays and train fires.

Committee chairperson Daylin Mitchell said he would contact the Public Protector's office.

“We cannot prolong this any longer. We owe it to the residents of the Western Cape to get to the bottom of this, to ensure that rail and passenger rail is up and running and that Metrorail is accountable for the service they’re supposed to be delivering.”

The Public Protector's office told EWN the probe was ongoing and "far from complete".

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