IN MEMORY: Train adorned with a picture of Piet Botha at Netreg station

The United National Transport Union (UNTU) has called for a Cape Flats railway line to be better policed, or shut down.

And if SAPS was serious about fighting the drastic increase in violent crime at railway stations across the country, it would re-establish the railway police as it existed before it was incorporated into the regular police in 1986, the union said in a statement.

UNTU general secretary Steve Harris said: “[That is] the only way the SAPS will prevent more people dying at our railway stations. We need dedicated railway police who are permanently stationed at the stations and on the trains and who will priorities the combating of any crime committed.”

Last week, two UNTU shop stewards were attacked and robbed in separate incidents at the Salt River railway station.

On Monday, an armed security guard was shot in the head and robbed of his gun while patrolling the railway line near Tambo Village.

And two weeks ago train driver Piet Botha was killed while waiting for a train at the Netreg station.

Harris said Prasa should close down unsafe lines if it could not police it.

“Mr Brian Davids, full-time UNTU executive council member, has warned the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) that the central line between Cape Town and Khayelitsha on the Cape Flats is getting increasingly dangerous to use and should be closed if Prasa is unable to properly secure it.”

Harris said Transnet group CEO Siyabonga Gama and the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa), to which UNTU was affiliated, supported his call.

They would seek a meeting with the ministers of public enterprises, transport, finance, and police, to discuss the re-establishment of the railway police, Harris said.