A man believed to have been stealing cables on Cape Town’s railway line between Nyanga and Philippi on Friday has been electrocuted, police have said.
The man – whose identity is yet to be established – “was electrocuted while lying on the crossbar frame busy cutting overhead cables of the railway line”, said Western Cape police spokesperson Siyabonga Malo.
“He was found still hanging on the crossbar at the Philippi railway service,” said Malo.
Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott confirmed that the body had been found, saying they were still waiting for a full report from law enforcement officials.
Police have opened an inquest docket.
Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has previously talked tough on vandalism of trains and theft of cables.
In July, he said the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) would be employing new security companies, with performance-based contractual arrangements. The new agreements would include a heavy emphasis on reducing the vandalism and theft that is “bedevilling our infrastructure”.
Mbalula said: “A strong technology rollout is underway, in the form of CCTV, and other surveillance equipment. These are aimed to act as force multipliers to assist in areas where physical security cannot reach.”
The minister also launched the so-called “War Room” in August – a tool to track the progress of the entire plan to modernise and improve South Africa’s railways.
The War Room, housed in Prasa’s offices, will be the “game-changer”, Mbalula said.
“The War Room is a physical space that will enable those deployed to the War Room to make rapid decisions based on the information they gather from the operations on the ground, on an hour by hour basis.”
The War Room will track service recovery, safety management, the modernisation programme as well as organisational and operation progress, he said at the time.