Goodwood residents are expressing concern about the vandalism happening on the area’s railway and frustration at the lack of commitment to fixing the issues.
News24 reported the words of Abraham Smith, a resident of Protea Street in Goodwood, who says the vandalism is taking place on his doorstep.
“Every other night you can hear the thieves busy, they are even stealing the hooks that keep the railway together. What if a train derails?”
The signal robots are missing from the railways, meaning the drivers have to communicate via radio. Smith expresses his concern, raising the point of “what if one gives misinterpretation? It would be chaotic.”
Also read: Vandalism and theft affects Metrorail in the Western Cape
Smith has been talking to Metrorail about the ongoing vandalism, but after his requests were ignored, he took action on his own. Smith has been planting cacti along the tracks for the past ten years.
The cactuses were used both as an uplifting aspect of the area and also because the fence that is supposed to safeguard the area has been lowered and is therefore ineffective.
Smith explains his choice of cacti, saying that they are tough to remove once planted and also require no water.
The plant project is maintained by residents, with Smith saying that they have no other support structure.
“Over the years we have also put in some tyres, which we painted. It is all community-driven.”
JP Smith, Mayco member for safety and security, clarifies that the safety and maintenance of rail infrastructure is the responsibility of the owner.
In this case, the owner is Prasa (Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa).
“The City of Cape Town conducts as many patrols as resources allow, but unfortunately, due to the demands on its services, it cannot have staff remain static at any one particular point for an indefinite amount of time,” JP Smith explains.
“There have been several comments by various national government representatives in recent months, around potential restrictions on the scrap metal trade,” he continues.
JP Smith clarified that the City welcomes efforts to address the vandalism issues, but that these need to be expedited.
“It is imperative that such efforts be effective and that whatever regulations are imposed, or legislative changes made, be enforced with vigour by the criminal justice system,” he says.
“In the interim, the City, through its enforcement agencies, and the Metal Theft Unit (MTU) in particular, continues to do everything possible within its mandate to address theft and vandalising of infrastructure.”
Residents have mixed responses to changes along Buitengracht Street
Picture: Jo Sekepane / News24