The United National Transport Union (UNTU) welcomes the fact that the South African Police Service (SAPS) finally had a wake-up-call and decided to implement proactive plans to combat crime on railway stations and on trains.
The SAPS announced yesterday that it would launch the Rapid Rail Safety Awareness Campaign tomorrow in support of the Safer Festive Season operation.
According to a statement from the SAPS the awareness campaign forms part of the back to basics approach by the Police.
It is aimed at sensitizing and raising awareness amongst rail commuters regarding crimes that are prevalent in the rail environment and furthermore to ensure a safe and secure festive season period.
The campaign promises to ensure optimal police visibility in the rail environment through the deployment of police officials in line with the expectations and needs of the commuters and stakeholders.
This comes two weeks after UNTU called on Government to intervene to help the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA) to fight vandalism and crime on trains.
Steve Harris, General Secretary of UNTU, says although the SAPS have not yet established a task team to focus on the severe deterioration of railway safety, the union believes that the Rapid Rail Safety Awareness Campaign is a step in the right direction.
On Friday UNTU and the Federation of Union of South Africa (FEDUSA) called on Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to urgently intervene to protect a crucial national asset: passenger rail transport.
The unions asked Ramaphosa to convene and chair a task team consisting of the highest leadership levels of Government, represented by the Ministers of Finance, Transport, Police, Small Business, FEDUSA, UNTU, and PRASA management to urgently address railway safety.
FEDUSA and UNTU are awaiting a response from the Deputy-President.