A Prasa test train. Picture: THE TIMES
A Prasa test train. Picture: THE TIMES

The embattled Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) has suspended its head of security and two other security officers in the Western Cape, following the torching of two trains worth an estimated R33m.

The agency has instituted an  investigation into the security lapse that resulted in the burning of the two trains over the Easter weekend.

“The suspension of Mr Ernest Hendricks and the other two officers is not meant to pass judgment or put blame and them, but is solely meant to allow the investigation to be carried out by an independent body,” said Prasa CEO, Nkosinathi Sishi.

Prasa, which is responsible for delivering passenger rail services, has been hit by a spate of arson attacks on its trains in recent years, depleting its fleet and leaving many Cape Town commuters reliant on rail transport stranded. Rail is the backbone of Cape Town’s public transport system.

Prasa has also been engulfed in allegations of corruption and mismanagement.

The agency also announced on Friday that Iliso, the company that provides security services at the Cape Town train station has been served with a notice of intention to suspend it. The company has been given five days to give reasons why its services should not be suspended.

Sishi said the agency remains focused on improving security.  “This is the commitment we have made and any lapse of security that compromises the safety and security of our rail system and that of commuters will not be tolerated, and people found to have compromised security will be held accountable,” said Sishi.

“The actions we are taking against these employees and Iliso should give a clear and direct message.”

phakathib@businesslive.co.za