TRANSPORT: The Real Threat At Metrorail
Recent Western Cape Business News
THE Cape Chamber of Commerce was in favour of more flexi-time for companies but this would not solve Metrorail’s biggest problem – the organised theft of copper from coaches and signal systems.
“It is the copper theft that is sabotaging the train service. This is the urgent problem and we believe that all possible resources should be applied to catch the criminals and the people who deal in and export stolen copper,” said Mr Michael Bagraim, President of the Chamber.
He said Metrorail needed help in fighting the copper theft problem and he planned to call a summit meeting of all the victims, the scrap metal dealers and law enforcement agencies to mount a concerted campaign against the copper thieves and the dealers in stolen goods.
“We have a major problem that is costing the country R5 billion a year and sabotaging the productive economy. How are we going to create jobs when industry is being undermined by crime?” he asked.
Transnet, Eskom, Telkom, the municipalities and even householders who have had their copper pipes and brass taps ripped out of their homes were all affected. “We are dealing with criminal attacks on the infrastructure of the country,” he said.
The Chamber would do everything it could to promote flexi-time and staggered working hours “but we must not allow this long-term strategy to distract us from the real and urgent issue of criminal actions.”
Mr Bagraim said there was a two-hour spread in starting times in commerce and industry and many companies had already introduced flexi-time but more could be done.
“It is not something that business can do on its own. The working hours of the Civil Service, the Provincial and Local Government offices and other institutions are also involved. In particular we need to look at the starting times of schools because families often have to plan around these fixed times. We also need to look at social factors such as parents who have different jobs in different areas and have to work different hours.
“Another grave concern is safety on the trains when they operate outside the present peak hours,” Mr Bagraim said. “Flexi-time will help and we will help to promote it but it is not the big problem,” he said.
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