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Untu warns vandalism will endanger commuters and cripple train service

The union says since the termination of private security services last month, infrastructure is being vandalised and staff have to constantly remove objects placed on rail lines.

A protester holds a placard outside the Prasa offices in Cape Town on 17 April 2019. Picture: Kaylynn Palm/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG – The United National Transport Union (Untu) says the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) is not keeping its promise to protect commuters, employees and assets.

The union says vandalism of infrastructure is reaching crisis proportions and threatening the jobs of 14,000 employees.

Untu says Prasa terminated private security contracts that employed 3,100 personnel around the country with no back-up plan.

The union says since the termination of private security services last month, infrastructure is being vandalised and staff have to constantly remove objects placed on rail lines.

Spokesperson Sonja Carstens said, “Because of this rapid attack on the Prasa infrastructure, we can’t see that the service will still exist in the next year. Prasa has 14,000 employees, of whom we represent the majority. Where will they find jobs?”

She says the union is worried for the safety and job security of its members and commuters.

“Remember the passenger train is the cheapest form of transport that we’ve got in our country. If the majority of workers aren’t able to use trains, because it is not a reliable mode of transport, then it is damaging the economy.”

The union says it appreciates that irregular contracts had to be terminated - but hasn't kept its promise to deploy police as promised earlier this week.