MEDIA STATEMENT: #UniteBehind seeks urgent court intervention in the matter between PRASA and private security companies.
As widely reported in the media, PRASA recently dismissed the private security companies that provide almost 1,000 guards in Cape Town, and 2,000 more nationally, without new contracts or guards in place to take over their duties. The security companies have been operating on irregular contracts without due regard for performance, but this rash move only serves to leave our rail system vulnerable to further attack and degradation.
In a commuter rail service that is already a nightmare for commuters, this move will make things worse. On Tuesday November 19, #UniteBehind will be asking the Western Cape High Court for urgent intervention to make submissions as a friend of the court. The matter will be heard on Tuesday at 10am.
#UniteBehind believes that poor governance, maladministration and corruption lies at the heart of the collapse of service at PRASA.
In a closely linked matter, #UniteBehind is currently engaged in court proceedings in the Western Cape High Court to gain access to security contracts entered into between PRASA and security companies, as well as other documentation related to the provision of commuter safety. #UniteBehind has been engaged with PRASA for over two years on issues related to the state of security on trains and the state of corruption and mismanagement within PRASA. We have been asking PRASA for a commuter-centred safety plan, which they have consistently failed to produce.
#UniteBehind seeks to make submissions as Amicus Curiae in the following respects:
1. The contracts be extended until new guards are in place. We know these contracts have been unlawfully extended for about 10 years. However, like in the case of the grants (CPS), the unlawful contract must continue until an alternative is finalised;
2. The tender for new companies must be completed in one month;
3. A safety and security plan must be placed before the Court at the same time with a focus on protecting the vulnerable, particularly women, children and people with disabilities. In this, we would ask that the Court would supervise this order.
#UniteBehind is a coalition of people’s movements joined by legal, policy and research organisations working for a just and equal society where the people share in the country’s wealth and our environment is protected for future generations.