Open railway gate means open season for crooks

Rubbish is strewn across the railway line and surrounds on the other side of the gate.

An open gate at the top of Stegman Road in Newlands, which leads onto the railway line, is being used by criminals targeting homes in the area, say residents.

“The community are extremely frustrated due to it being such an easy matter to solve,” says ward councillor Ian Iversen.

Residents had locked the gate in the past, but Metrorail had broken the lock, he said.

Houses and cars were being broken into by criminals who were using the gate to get in and out of the neighbourhood, and they could slip through the gate to reach a bus-and-taxi interchange to flee, Mr Iversen said.

Meanwhile Nazeem Jamie, chairman of the nearby Al Jaamia Mosque complained that a group of nine homeless people in the vicinity of the nearby railway station had swelled to 20 and they were the source of a lot of litter.

“The body corporates opposite the mosque have also put up cameras at the mosque through their own expense to watch the area surrounding the mosque and gate for criminal behaviours,” Mr Jamie said.

Claremont ward councillor Ian Iversen inspected the Stegman Road Metrorail gate and railway line. Residents in the area say criminals are using the unlocked gate to get in and out of their neighbourhood.

Metrorail spokeswoman Riana Scott said their fencing was more of a demarcation than a boundary.

“Fencing at best is a small deterrent to desperate intruders. The gate is also used by different teams working in the rail reserve.”

Mrs Scott said under the National Disaster Management Act, law enforcement couldn’t move people illegally occupying land or confiscate their tents, bedding and other belongings.

“Joint law enforcement operations were conducted pre-lockdown on a rotational basis to move vagrants to appropriate facilities. These joint operations were however short term solutions and only served temporary displaced individuals,” she said.