Transport minister Fikile Mbalula says the damage to rail infrastructure which will cost billions of rands to repair, was as a result of a decision taken to remove security companies from various sites.
Mbalula has conceded that there was no contingency plan put in place following that resolution.
He made the comments on Monday, during his site visit to the Kliptown train station in Soweto.
He visited several other stations that have been awfully vandelised and have become havens for drug users.
Some of these stations including Mayfair have had their cables and parts of the train tracks stolen.
The association of private security owners of South Africa (Tapsosa) says they warned Mbalula and the public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan against the decision to boot out security companies early last year.
The association’s spokesperson Sindisiwe Changuion says they wrote to the departments and the respective portfolio committees to try and block that process, which they deemed unlawful.
“As the private security owners of South africa, we cautioned the department of transport and public enterprises in the early part of lockdown last year, that Prasa and Transnet had embarked on a processing of removing security companies from their sites.”
She says government has now lost billions of rands from that questionable decision.
“Government has lost billions of rands from the damage of rail infrastructure as pointed out by minister Mbalula this morning, which could have been easily avoided.
Mbalula said part of the reason why some of the security contracts were terminated, was because service providers were appointed without following due course.
However, Tapsosa has dismissed that, saying their members had been awarded those projects on merit.
Changuion says the process of removing them from site was unlawful and questioned the motive.
“The process of dismissing our members was illegal and the departments in question did very little to intervene.”
“It was mainly our members who were guarding these rail infrastructure and it’s shocking that the decision to move us out coincided with an orchestrated attack from the bargaining council and its founding members who have been trying push us out of business as black owned security companies.”
The damage to rail infrastructure has been estimated to be in excess jof R2 billion.