The United National Transport Union (UNTU) demands that the prosecutors of the National Prosecution Authority (NPA) must appeal to the Court to impose the harsh sentences prescribed by the Criminal Matters Amendment Act, 2015 on cable thieves after cable theft contributed to the two Metrorail trains colliding near the Elandsfontein station earlier today.
A commuter in one of the trains was killed and more than 50 commuters were injured.
John Pereira, Acting General Secretary of UNTU, says: “The Union has learned that the trains had to operate via authority numbers when they collided. The signals they were supposed to be working on, was not working due to cable theft.”
One of the trains were on its route to Johannesburg from Pretoria, and the second empty train left the Elandsfontein yard to Tembisa. Although investigations to determine exactly what went wrong is still underway, there is no doubt that this tragic incident could have been prevented if the cables was not stolen and the signals were working like they were supposed to.
The Criminal Matters Amendment Act reads that any person who unlawfully and intentionally tampers with, damages or destroys essential infrastructure or conspires with or assists another person to do so and who knows or ought reasonably to have known or suspected that it is essential infrastructure, is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a period of imprisonment not exceeding 30 years.
“Cable thieves must realise that they are not only crippling the economy, but they are also gambling with the lives of thousands of commuters who uses the trains to travel to and from work and the lives of the employees from Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa,” says Pereira.
According to Pereira there has been a sharp increase in train collisions and derailments this past year. In most of the incidents, vandalism on the railway network played a large role.
For more information contact John Pereira on 079 501 6883.
Issued on behalf of UNTU by Sonja Carstens, Media and Liaison Officer. For UNTU Press Statements phone 082 463 6806 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.