Transnet charged by Hilton CPF

On Monday, the CPF opened a police case against Transnet for failing to comply with municipal bylaws and control the growth of invasive aliens on the railway property it owns, which runs right through the centre of Hilton and beyond, passing close to some smaller residential areas. The waist-high grass, weeds and invasive aliens, and the abandoned wagons and buildings, have become a refuge for brazen criminals who have been targeting the area relentlessly.

The latest four incidents happened within a stone’s throw of the railway track, long a contentious issue because of the appalling condition of the property and its easy access to nearby homes.
Pam Passmor, a Hilton resident and vice-chair of the town’s CPF, said: “We have spoken to Transnet in the past about cleaning up their property, and clearing the vegetation, without success. All four break-ins last weekend happened on properties that were close to the railway track. One of the homes had been burgled just a fortnight before that . . . The police helped us to open a case, and we are hoping for a response from Transnet.”

Transnet is being charged for failing to adhere to chapter 1, section 6A of the UMDM environmental health bylaws, and under Chapter 2 of the SA Constitution, which features the Bill of Rights and which declares all South Africans have the right to safety… (Everyone has the right to freedom and security of the person … to be free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources; not to be tortured in any way; and not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way.”

Passmor said the CPF was working closely with Hilton’s SAPS. “They have been doing regular blue light patrols but will adopt a new modus operandi, because the criminals spot them and just hide until they’ve passed. Now, the police will go under cover of darkness, and watch and listen. They will keep an ear open for Hadedahs, which cry when startled, barking dogs, voices, people walking, breaking glass . . . They’ve made arrests in the past, but it’s not like a syndicate operating. It’s different criminals, with a convenient place to hide and wait – the Transnet property – and who can be in and out of your house in four minutes and then disappear.”

She added that last week the CPF sent a letter to uMngeni municipality asked for help to pressure Transnet into clearing its property.

“We are hoping for a court order to force Transnet to clear their property.
If they don’t respond, and if we get no assistance from uMngeni municipality, then we will approach the Department of Agriculture, who take a dim view of this kind of rampant and unchecked growth of alien vegetation, and who might be able to take some action as well.”

Peta Lee

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