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R1.2b to fix central line

A staggering R1.2 billion has been set aside to restore the required infrastructure along Metrorail’s central line.

This is according to the railway services spokesperson, Riana Scott.

She tells TygerBurger the timeframe to do so was adjusted post lockdown to the end of next year.

Vandalism on the central line, which runs along Bonteheuwel and Netreg, has been a growing concern for Metrorail.

Earlier this year, hotspots for cable theft were identified that include Bonteheuwel, Netreg and Nyanga train stations.

“Significant portions of the electrical infrastructure (overhead lines, mass poles, sub-stations), tracks and some stations have been either vandalised beyond repair or completely removed by vandals. In addition illegal electrical connections ingress onto the rail reserve, sewerage is disposed of onto tracks by informal settlements along portions of the route, sporadic gang turf wars and frequent service delivery protests make it impossible to restore services without major intervention.

“Cable theft and vandalism is not static and harvesting of infrastructure has moved to other areas especially during lockdown. The northern line suffered a lot of damage with stations and offices broken into and anything with second hand value stolen,” Scott explains.

Despite the central service being suspended, all the infrastructure remains live, says Scott.

“Communities adjacent to railway lines are advised to be particularly vigilant. Traction energy is significantly more potent than domestic energy and tampering with it can lead to severe injury or death.”

Ward 50 councillor and chair for the City of Cape Town’s transport portfolio committee, Angus McKenzie, estimates that the central line should be carrying around one million commuters. 

“The line has been left to be completely vandalised. Vandals have moved on from stealing underground cables, to overhead cables, to train tracks and now the overhead pylons.

“Our current rail infrastructure has been servicing Cape Town for many years.

The fact that well into democracy 26 years on, this network developed deep within apartheid has now collapsed rather than actually being made better by the dawn of a new South Africa.

“The people of Bonteheuwel and surrounds no longer have a rail network they can depend on, they no longer have a cost effective way to move around and neither can this service ensure economic growth for them. This is an injustice, this is painful and this speaks to the bigger problem corruption has brought to this country,” says McKenzie.

The public can assist law enforcement by reporting crime and/or suspicious acts. 

Rewards of up to R25 000 are payable for information leading to successful conviction. 

  • Call 0860 10111 or SMS 32211.
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