The United National Transport Union (UNTU) would like to thank the Kliptown Community Members who’s tip off to the South African Police Service (SAPS) resulted in two cable thieves being caught red handed while vandalizing the infrastructure of the  Passenger Rail Agency of  South Africa (Prasa).

The individuals who report these crimes are the  unsung heroes in our society. They did the right  thing to report the criminals and to set an example for others to follow. They could have so easily decided not to bother to make the call, but to rather turn a blind eye.

UNTU is so grateful to them, with that single phone call they not only saved the jobs of our members, but they saved the jobs of millions of other poor commuters who is dependent on the passenger trains of Metrorail, a division of Prasa, to travel to and from work every day,” says Steve Harris, General Secretary of UNTU.  Cable theft is costing the South African economy between R5 billion to R7 billion per year.

UNTU believes that our passenger rail system will only be saved if all South Africans, from our communities, organised labour, municipalities, provincial governments, SAPS, Railway Safety Regulator (RSR), various Government departments to President Cyril Ramaphosa work together.

At the end of the day Prasa belong to each and every South African because it is a state-owned enterprise funded with taxpayer’s money,” says Harris.

The Union also appeals to communities not to support the business buying stolen metal and cables from the thieves.

The two suspects from Zimbabwe who were arrested will appear in court tomorrow, 24 April 2020. UNTU wants the SAPS and the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to ensure that they are prosecuted in terms of the Criminal Matters Amendment Act which allows for imprisonment up to 30 years for those who vandalise state infrastructure.

UNTU is appealing to communities in townships in the Western Cape to follow the example set by Kliptown residents.

This week UNTU members working for Prasa Protection Services where robbed with weapons, of their personal belongings while they were travelling back home.

These employees have been declared essential services in terms of the National Disaster Management Act and must work to continue protecting Government’s assets. They have always been targeted by criminals, but during the lockdown they are more exposed than ever before. UNTU appeal to our communities to also protect them,” says Harris.

Issued on behalf of UNTU by Sonja Carstens, Deputy-General Secretary: Media, Liaison and Communication. For UNTU press releases phone Sonja on 082 463 6806 or e-mail sonja@untu.co.za.

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