Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula talks to journalists after inspecting burned trains, 15 December 2020, at the Prasa Braamfontein refurbishment depot in the Joburg CBD. Picture: ALAISTER RUSSELL / THE SUNDAY TIMES
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula talks to journalists after inspecting burned trains, 15 December 2020, at the Prasa Braamfontein refurbishment depot in the Joburg CBD. Picture: ALAISTER RUSSELL / THE SUNDAY TIMES

The shortage of specialised investigative units in policing sectors is having a negative effect in serious crime in Gauteng. This week we witnessed another incident which, if properly investigated, could have yielded positive results.

Four suspects arrested in connection with the trains that were burnt at the Braamfontein train yard appeared in the Johannesburg Magistrate’s court. But they were released because of lack of evidence. This shows no proper investigation was done to determine exactly who was behind the attacks. Beside the police being tasked with investigating incidents like these, the Passenger Rail Agency of SA must do more to ensure that their rolling stock is properly safeguarded.

Burning of trains, vandalism and cable theft are becoming the norm in Gauteng, and it has a crippling effect on the local economy. Many of our residents cannot afford private transport and  depend on public transport like Metrorail, which is most affordable. When trains are burnt, commuters are forced to make other arrangements, which they can ill afford.

It is high time that security is beefed up at all railway stations and train yards in the province so that vandalism, cable theft and burning of trains are stopped before they happen.

Fred Nel, MPL
DA Gauteng shadow roads and transport MEC

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