The Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry shares Cape Town councillor Brett Herron’s concern that the suburban rail system is close to collapse, but taking responsibility for the vast undertaking will be a huge challenge for the city. At the same time, it is clear that Metrorail desperately needs help to avert the further deterioration of the service.
The first thing to do is stop the destruction of the infrastructure. The city with its Copperheads, metro police and investigation unit should be in a position to offer immediate assistance. Metrorail should welcome this support. The city would not be involved in the actual running of the service, but this would be a good starting point for a more constructive relationship between the city and Metrorail.
The main problem at this stage is metal theft, vandalism and arson. The leaked internal memo on the need to improve Metrorail security services showed that even Metrorail realises that it is not up to the job. The ugly graffiti on the trains proves that they are not well guarded. The painting should be easy to detect and stop. Metal theft and vandalism will be more difficult, but it can and should be done.
The city should also be in a position to offer training to Metrorail security staff. We should focus on helping Metrorail and leave the grandiose plans for monorails for another day.
Janine MyburghPresident, Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry