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Cape Town’s Rail Enforcement Unit (REU) launched two years ago to tackle crime in and around Cape Town’s rail network, have made 238 arrests within their 1st year.

IOL reported: “The Rail Enforcement Unit (REU) arrested 238 suspects on a range of charges including assault, armed robbery, possession of drugs and stolen property, malicious damage to property and theft. This after 29 767 stop-and-searches were conducted on trains, platforms and at stations across Cape Town between October 2018 to October last year’’.

According to IOL’s report, Metrorail acting regional manager, Raymond Maseko, said commuter safety on trains and stations, eradicating the debilitating impact of metal theft on service industries are a key priority. There were 2471 inspections of hotspot areas and scrapyards, and dangerous weapons and equipment used for vandalizing and stealing rail infrastructure, including hacksaws, spades, cutters, knives, screwdrivers, hammers, crowbars, blades and scissors, were confiscated.

TimesLive reported that the Western Cape government and Passenger Rail Agency of SA (PRASA) said on 13 February that 55 people were charged under the Criminal Matters Amendment Act for damaging essential infrastructure.

“The harsh reality is that it will take time and more resources to deal with those who are vandalizing and destroying our rail network while we are working hard to stabilize the service,” said Felicity Purchase, Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for transport.

According to IOL, the Criminal Matters Amendment Act provides for stricter bail conditions and harsher sentences, including up to 30 years’ imprisonment for those caught and convicted of destruction of essential infrastructure.