Prasa to recruit over 3,000 security staffers to prevent vandalism, theft

The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has announced the start of a recruitment process to employ 3,100 security guards to protect its rail infrastructure and other assets targeted by vandalism and theft, pinching millions out of the state-owned entity.

Prasa spokesperson Makhosini Mgwitywa said beefing up security and the decision to insource came after the termination of security contracts which the offices of the public protector and auditor-general found to have been irregular.

The recruitment includes stationary guards, train guards, operation monitoring controllers and armed response guards.

He said this move was to ensure a protection service for the organisation’s assets, commuters as well as employees.

“The new recruits will also focus on general crime prevention which, once rooted out, will most likely see a significant decrease in the vandalism of Prasa’s properties and theft of assets,” he said.

“The new recruits will add to the already existing protection officials, who in recent weeks, have arrested 185 suspects and recovered sizeable amounts of stolen cables and other Prasa assets.

“The agency has had its fair share of theft and vandalism on infrastructure as has other state-owned entities.”

Prasa administrator Bongisizwe Mpondo believed insourcing of the security services was a better option in securing the agency’s infrastructure while creating much-needed jobs.

“Employing our own security personnel will give us greater control of the protection of our network and assets. We have a responsibility to do all we can to protect the public infrastructure as acts of vandalism and theft become worse,” he said.

“Our intention is to give preference to qualifying individuals who reside in communities near our rail network.

“As the economy sheds jobs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, Prasa as a state-owned company has a responsibility to ensure that where it makes business sense, it must provide employment to citizens. It’s the proverbial killing of two birds with one stone.”

Magitywa said that Mpondo’s plan to in-source security personnel was in line with transport minister Fikile Mbalula’s mandate in the turn around the strategy of Prasa.

Meanwhile, the entity has also come under the spotlight at the state of capture investigations at the Zondo commission of inquiry probing allegations of corruption and misuse of state funds, following statements by testifiers.

This article first appeared on Rekord East and was republished with permission.

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