Two PRASA stations closed indefinitely after mass vandalism
17 January 2020
The Passenger Railway Agency of South Africa (PRASA) released footage of two Gauteng train stations that have been closed, with services suspended due to vandalism in December 2019.
The stations are Booysens in Johannesburg and Knights station in Kaalfontein.
In a statement, the agency said an unprecedented spike in mass vandalism, theft of electrical wires, lack of electrical lines and the destruction of infrastructure have resulted in a majority of sections across regional railway services being closed down.
It had suffered severe disruption in commuter services as a result.
PRASA said it had implemented various interventions to reduce the delay and cancellation of services.
Diesel locomotives will be taken to areas with no overhead power to run trains.
The rail agency had also focused security in high-crime hot spots and expedited all procurement contracts for spares and other critical services.
'Unpredictable operational pattern'
"A functional electrical line is critical in delivering a reliable service. As it stands now, our electrical lines are being vandalised and stolen, creating an unpredictable operational pattern for both ourselves as the service providers and customers," Zwelakhe Mayaba, Acting PRASA Rail CEO said.
"The enormity of the task to rebuild substations and related support infrastructure cannot be underestimated, there simply are no quick fixes," Mayaba added.
He extended his apology to all stakeholders and customers for the current situation and explained the frustrating circumstances the SOE finds itself operating under.
"The environment we operate in is marred by ongoing vandalism," he said.
"Vast amounts of money have been spent on repairing the infrastructure, only to have thieves return, armed to the teeth in most cases, to harvest our infrastructure. Our current interventions will only succeed if there is a change in the public's perception that PRASA assets are critical to the functioning of passenger rail service," he said.