After two months of seeking alternative transport, Mamelodi train commuters will be able to use the Metrorail services again on May 19.
The train service between Pienaarspoort and Pretoria came to a halt in March after new trains were vandalised by criminals in Mamelodi, while a female train driver was stripped naked in an attack.
After a meeting with stakeholders such as transport unions, the community policing forum, political parties, the City of Tshwane and Gauteng department of roads and transport, a “social impact” agreement was signed to commit to protecting the public transport service.
Gauteng roads and transport MEC Ismail Vadi said they had joined hands to teach criminals a lesson.
“A decision was taken that drivers can’t be at risk and the new trains can’t be damaged any further,” he said. “When criminals damage a train, stone it, try to rape a woman, there is no advanced notice to anyone.
“They don’t give a damn about commuters and the pains and suffering caused to people. Either we are in charge, or the criminals are in charge. I think we have to draw that line now.
“Our message is simple: our people come first.”
On March 13, 10 employees, including a female train driver at the Eerste Fabrieke station, were attacked. Six new trains were vandalised, causing damage amounting to R6.5 million.
Prasa suspended all operations on the Mamelodi Corridor the following day to protect employees, assets and commuters. The railway service did not provide alternative transport for the stranded commuters and instead offered a full refund to ticket holders. Affected staff were still undergoing trauma counselling and were expected to resume work as soon as possible, Prasa acting group chief executive officer Lindikhaya Zide said. “It is a fact that assaults of staff, vandalism and theft of railway infrastructure contributes negatively to a reliable train service that we strive to achieve.” Tshwane MMC of transport Sheila Lynn Senkubuge warned criminals they would be punished for their actions as the city would not tolerate damage to public property.