Prasa CCTV cameras 'just for show'

File picture: Independent Newspapers
Cape Town – CCTV cameras at Passenger Rail Agency SA (Prasa) properties across the province have not been operational since 2015.

This is according to Rapid Rail Police Unit head Bonginkosi Solucotho, who did a presentation on rail policing and its challenges before the provincial community safety standing committee.

Solucotho said Prasa wasn’t prioritizing the need for CCTV cameras to be operational.

“I engaged with Metrorail regional manager Richard Walker but CCTV cameras here in Cape Town have been off since 2015. We have been raising this issue but their reply is that there is a contractual issue in which we can’t intervene.

“The answer is that a contract is being tendered. Most of the issues raised have been raised with Prasa but it is not listening to us,” he said.

According to Solucotho, there are bi-monthly meetings where police and Prasa security discuss policing. He said some of the challenges expressed by the police have not been attended to for years.

“We have a relationship with Prasa security; we meet and address our issues, but there is also contracted security hired by Prasa who don’t have supervision, so we can’t meet with them," said Solucotho.

He added there were 575 members in his unit, 473 of those were operational while the remainder was support staff.

He said there was no memorandum of understanding signed with Prasa due to the changes in the executive, but there was one with Transnet.

In the rail stats it was indicated that contact crime in the rail environment had decreased in the province, from 1 539 to 1 385 while other serious crimes reported had increased from 1610 to 1676.

Cable theft has been on an escalating trend from 292 in the 2015/16 financial year to 478 in the following year and is now at 711.

Arrests for contact crimes also fell from 194 in 2016/17 to 139. Seven firearms and 11 vehicles were confiscated in the rail environment.

Solucotho said train delays were a challenge in policing.

He said Prasa made little or no communication to commuters with train cancellations and delays which infuriated commuters. Shortening of train sets was also an issue because trains were overcrowded which was a risk for policing.

United National Transport Union general secretary Steve Harris said it was possible that there was a delay in the cameras due to changes in company’s group chief executive.

“You can understand delays but you would expect that this issue was attended to. Cameras are a key issue and should have been dealt with from day one,” he said.

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Cape Argus

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