Rail staff abusive

D Swartz, Kraaifontein

I am a concerned citizen of a supposedly democratic South Africa an everyday commuter of Metrorail.

On Tuesday January 17, while travelling on the 3508 from Wellington to Cape Town, on my way to work, and arriving at 7.10am at Tygerberg station, on the northern line, I witnessed a horrific scene of violence against an innocent commuter which was unnecessary and inhumane.

People without valid tickets were taken to a holding room, where I witnessed a scene from the previous apartheid era: they were searched for money against their will and Metrorail / Prasa (Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa) officials instructed them to hold out their hands and make aeroplane movements.

When one of them refused, an official grabbed him and choked him until he almost passed out. I had forgotten my ticket at home, but fortunately had some money to pay a R40 fine.

I pleaded that this gentleman be freed, but the officials bluntly said no and that they were not finished with him. I then carried on to work, but images of this person being abused and mishandled like a dog were still at the back of my mind. The disturbing event will never leave me.

Riana Scott, Metrorail spokesperson, responds:

Our employees are very aware that their behaviour is under public scrutiny and that they will be subjected to Prasa’s disciplinary code should transgressions be proven.

Strong corrective action will be taken against any Metrorail employee found guilty of misconduct.

In light of this, we encourage the public to immediately report non-conforming employee behaviour to ctcomplaints@metrorail.co.za, citing all relevant details, ie: date, time, station, description of individuals/incident and contact details of any eyewitnesses, all of which will assist in applying successful disciplinary action.

It would greatly assist if

D Swartz could provide a contact number to the northern area customer operations manager (lndzuzo@metrorail.co.za) to obtain a statement and arrange for the identification of the individuals involved. This is required to comply with Prasa’s disciplinary processes.The incident has also been elevated to the senior customer services manager to ensure that the process follows its due course.

Our regional manager, Richard Walker, reiterates that customers should be treated with courtesy at all times and that any deviation from this practice is unacceptable. Individuals have been dismissed and others severely disciplined and Metrorail will not hesitate to do so again should the circumstances warrant it.