Premium Journalist
2 minute read
3 Oct 2017
3:41 pm

Train driver stabbed in Durban while trying to protect commuters


He says the attackers stabbed him in his left hand with a knife.

Commuters hang on to the outside of an overcrowded Metrorail passenger train near Orlando in Soweto, 17 November 2014, along the Vereeniging line. Joburg commuters were left stranded as thousands of drivers belonging to the United Taxi Front (UTF) declared a one-day strike against e-tolling and calling for permits to be reinstated. Picture: Michel Bega

A train driver was stabbed twice in his left hand after trying to protect four female commuters of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa).

The United National Transport Union (Untu) on Tuesday said one of their members, Francois Gouws, was attacked by robbers while waiting at a red signal between Durban and Berea Station.

Gouws noticed commuters being attacked and ran to assist them. “The robbers stabbed me in my left hand twice with a knife. I am in terrible pain,” Gouws said to the general secretary of Untu, Steve Harris.

After the attack, Gouws was taken to the St. Augustine’s Hospital, where doctors said they feared some of his nerves might have been damaged.

“I am very traumatised. We always know it is dangerous and these incidents happen, but nothing can prepare you for the feeling you get when it happens to you,” Gouws said.

This attack comes after Metrorail reportedly told Times Live that steps were being taken to secure their railway tracks against illegal entry by constructing a wall that will cost R68 million.

“This wall will go up in areas where vandalism is at the highest, like the Netreg-Station in the Western Cape,” Untu stated that this is also where one of their train drivers, Piet Botha, was shot and killed in July last year.

An application was filed by Untu in March this year in the Western Cape High Court for a court order to compel Prasa to act in accordance with their constitutional duty, which is to protect its employees and commuters.

“Prasa is opposing the application, saying they are doing all that they can to protect commuters and employees, but can only do so much. Prasa is passing the buck to the South African Police Service (SAPS) who has a Constitutional duty to prevent crime and to protect the public,” the union stated.

The union said the application had not yet been heard.