The South African Police Services (SAPS) has failed all South Africans, but especially those working for and using the services of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa), in all its Constitutional obligations towards inhabitants of this country and their property.

Steve Harris, General Secretary of the United National Transport Union (UNTU), says according to section 205 (3) of the Constitution, the SAPS must prevent, combat and investigate crime, maintain public order, protect and secure inhabitants and their property and uphold and enforce the law.

“Over the past year, UNTU saw the opposite happening at Prasa. This Union has repeatedly called on the SAPS to actively become involved in combating violent crime on trains and at railway stations of Prasa. Nothing was done,” says Harris.

 According to him the SAPS makes a mockery of the following words on its official website: “Railway safety is crucial for the protection of life. Your Passport to Train Safety provides guidelines to develop a culture of railway safety. 

This comes after a Prasa Protection Official in Gauteng, Joseph Koena, died after he suffered fatal injuries. He was stoned to death by protestors at the Nancefield station in Soweto. His colleague is fighting for his life.

Harris says UNTU was on the forefront of the fight to amend the Criminal Matters Amendment Act to impose harsher sentences on criminals who tamper and/or damage the railway Network. 

The 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.

“The problem is that the SAPS either does not have the will or simply is incapable of catching these criminals. The SAPS ignore the Constitution and believes that they can simply force its Constitutional obligation on Prasa,” says Harris.

 UNTU wrote to Lieutenant-General Lesetja Mothiba, the Acting National Police Commissioner, about the situation at Prasa on 7 June. The Union is still awaiting a response from Mothiba.

For more information phone Harris on 082 566 5516.

Issued on behalf of UNTU by Sonja Carstens, Media and Liaison Officer. For UNTU Press Statements phone 082 463 6806 or e-mail

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