Metrorail Salt River administrator stabbed

Metrorail employee Vernon Brynard was mugged on Monday.

A Metrorail employee was stabbed by seven muggers as he waited to catch a train to work in Salt River on Monday morning, according to his union.

The attack on Vernon Brynard, 56, a senior administrator with 38 years’ service, happened at the Tygerberg train station, and he was stabbed in his left arm, said United National Transport Union (UNTU) spokeswoman Sonja Carstens.

It was the third time in four years Mr Brynard had been stabbed and robbed near the railway, she said.

Mr Brynard was waiting on the platform at 4am on Monday when the seven men overpowered him.

He told Untu’s general secretary, Steve Harris, that the muggers had taken his train ticket, his identification card and his car keys. They had taken him to his car but it hadn’t started after the alarm went off.

In 2017, according to Untu, a mugger overpowered Mr Brynard from behind and struck him with a gun near the Koeberg depot and in 2015 a group of men robbed him of his cellphone at Kraaifontein station.

The union also said Mr Brynard had complained that there were no Metrorail security guards, SAPS railway police or Rail Enforcement Unit officers nearby when he was attacked.

Ms Carstens said Mr Brynard had received ten stitches in his left arm and was recovering at home.

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA) acting general secretary, Riefdah Ajam, said the “continuous attacks” on its members demonstrated the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa’s “ignorance and total lack of responsibility,” as an employer.

Metrorail spokesperson, Riana Scott, said Mr Brynard was a valuable employee and they were concerned about his welfare.

“He has been assured on previous occasions that he need not endanger himself unnecessarily by reporting for duty at such an early hour. His office hours are 7.30am until 4pm, and while his enthusiasm to work is much appreciated, it should not be at personal safety expense,” she said.

Ms Ajam said the attack on Mr Brynard made a mockery of the recent claims by Western Cape Metrorail Head Richard Walker that Cape Town’s Rail Enforcement Unit, a joint operation between the City of Cape Town and Prasa, had sharply reduced railway crime since its launch late last year.