News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Tuesday March 26th 2019

Metrorail guard stabbed by commuters travelling without tickets

An attempt by a newly-hired Metrorail security guard to prevent passengers who had not bought tickets from exiting the Nolungile train station in Khayelitsha, resulted in him being stabbed.

Following an illegal strike which started in November last year by security guards employed by private companies contracted by Metrorail – and its subsequent employment of new guards – security on trains and on platforms has been lacking.

In response, commuters have refused to buy tickets for their journeys as tickets are not being checked at station exits.

As a result, a security guard who did attempt to prevent people from exiting Nolungile station on Wednesday without tickets, was stabbed by commuters.

The stabbing follows an incident exactly a week earlier at Nolungile where three commuters were injured, two seriously, after guards and police forced them back across the train line as a train was pulling away from the platform.

The commuters had been trying to cross the line to escape the ad-hoc enforcement of ticket purchases at the station.

Eye-witness to Wednesday’s stabbing, Nobeko Mbali, 23, said there was a hole in the concrete slab fencing surrounding the station which commuters used to leave the station without being checked for a ticket.

Mbali said on Wednesday a security guard was standing in front of the break in the fence, preventing people from getting out.

“One guy went straight to the guards, others followed. He grabbed him and stabbed him, they all ran (out the fence) and other commuter’s came running.”

She said she didn’t think the guard was hurt too badly.

But a commuter, who would only give his name as Asakhe, said, guards’ lives were in danger.

He said guards who had been dismissed as a result of the strike were attacking the newly appointed guards and that they were also being attacked by commuters.

However, Asakhe said he didn’t see the need to buy a train ticket as most of the time there were no guards around, or even if they were, they turned a blind eye as commuters rushed through the turnstiles.

Commuter Mthuthuzeli Mnengi said occasionally guards patrolled the carriages and checked tickets. He said people found without tickets were beaten by the guards.

Questions sent to Metrorail had not been answered at the time of going to press. – Nombulelo Damba

Tags: Asakhe, metrorail, Mthuthuzeli Mnengi, Nobeko Mbali, Nolungile train station

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