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R100m to beef up train security

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By SAPA

Johannesburg -

Prasa has allocated R100 million to beef up security for Metrorail employees and commuters following the murder of a train driver at Christmas, the parastatal said on Friday.

“There was an allocation of R100m to complement the current security measures, with the introduction of technological security systems such as CCTV surveillance... (and a) radio communication system, fit for purpose patrol vehicles,” said Metrorail spokeswoman Lillian Mofokeng.

The additional budget follows the murder of train driver JP du Plessis, who was found stabbed to death in a stationary train outside Hercules station in Pretoria on December 25 last year.

Management of Passenger Rail Agency of SA, the parent company of Metrorail and United Transport Trade Union, SA Railway and Harbour Workers Union (Utatu-Sarhwu), met on Thursday to discuss measures to be taken to improve the safety of Metrorail employees and commuters.

They agreed that while crime had been reduced by 37 percent between October 2011 and October 2012, there were further interventions required to improve security, Mofokeng said.

An agreement was reached which included the introduction of mobile armed guards in identified hotspot areas, visible policing by the SAPS Railway police and joint operations with Prasa, Mofokeng said.

Helicopter services would be contracted to enable rapid response to emergency situations.

“The horrific passing of JP Du Plessis has galvanised us to find solutions in our fight against crime... and we hope that these interventions will go a long way in ensuring a safe environment for both our employees and commuters,” said Prasa CEO Lucky Montana.

Utatu-Sarhwu expressed its full support of the interventions and agreed with Prasa that the measures would be reviewed after three months to assess the impact. - Sapa

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