The murder of a Metrorail train driver nearly brought the service to a standstill after colleagues downed tools over safety concerns yesterday.
Piet Botha was shot dead at a Cape Flats station during a suspected robbery.
The 46-year-old driver from Malmesbury was waiting for a train at Netreg station when he was killed at 12.40pm.
The resultant protest caused train delays of up to two hours yesterday evening, leaving thousands of commuters stranded and seeking alternative transport to get home.
Metrorail management and trade unions were locked in talks yesterday to bash out a joint solution to ensure the safety of employees.
Regional Manager Richard Walker said: “We apologise for not being able to offer a full service at the moment but it is crucial that we reassure Metrorail employees that they can work in safety.
“The driver’s co-workers are understandably shocked and traumatised about their colleagues untimely death at the hand of criminals.”
It’s believed Piet, who was on duty at the time, got off a train before he was shot in his leg and stomach by two unidentified men.
The Daily Voice could not reach the United National Transport Union (UNTU) for comment last night.
SATAWU said it supported the striking workers protest for safety, and would meet with shopstewards this morning
A witness tells the Daily Voice as a second driver passed the scene, he burst into tears when he saw his colleague’s lifeless body on the platform.
Police were alerted to the incident by a security guard.
Police spokesperson Captain Frederick van Wyk says no arrests have been made yet and a case of murder has been opened for investigation.
Walker urged the police to ensure that the killers are brought to book: “Netreg is an acknowledged gang-infested area and it is our unenviable task to operate trains in this volatile environment.”
Four people have died in incidents on Flats lines recently.
On Friday, three men were hit by a train between Netreg and Heideveld Station.
The unidentified men aged, between 27 and 32, attempted to cross tracks and ignored the driver’s warning sirens when they were killed.
Last Thursday, Susan Smith, 70, from Bokmakierie, lost all her limbs and died after being hit by a train at Athlone Station.