“Why fix it if ain’t broke”: Nature and extent of crime in the railway environment in South Africa





Crime, railway environment, commuters, policing


This article explores the nature and extent of crime in the railway environment in South Africa. Crimes against Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa, Transnet Freight Rail, Gautrain, and commuters are prevalent and the victims are being exposed to serious damage emanating from criminal activities. The challenges and implications for individuals and businesses, rich or poor consumers are recurrent themes in this study. A qualitative research approach was adopted to follow a non-probability purposive sample comprising 25 participants from the South African Police Service Rapid Rail Police Units. The data were collected through semi-structured interviews from research participants deployed in the Division: Visible Policing. The findings highlighted that the most prevalent crimes are cable theft, robberies and malicious property damage. The targeted trains are the Metro trains that operate locally, as they transport many commuters because it is the affordable mode of public transport in South Africa. The perpetrators also target this mode of transport because the train stations have an open system where perpetrators can easily access the entrance, therefore some do not even buy tickets and board the trains illegally. It is understood that Gautrain has a closed system and the security is advanced and watertight because of extra security measures such as the closed-circuit television cameras. Based on the findings, effective implementation of policies to improve safety is essential. Critical dialogues between all relevant.


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Author Biographies

Cynthia Madzivhandila, South African Police Service

Dr Madzivhandila is an academic professional who holds qualifications in Doctor of philosophy in Criminal Justice from University of South Africa, M-Tech Policing University of South Africa, Honors in Psychology University of South Africa, B-Tech in Policing Tshwane university of Technology, Bachelor of Arts in education from University of Venda and National Diploma in Policing Tshwane university of Technology. She is currently working at the South African Police Service and holds a rank of Colonel, Division Forensic and Detective Service as the Provincial Commander for Investigative Psychology Unit Gauteng. Further to that, she is the part time Supervisor for Masters and Doctoral Students, Marker of undergraduate students at the University of South Africa in the College of Law, School of Criminal Justice.

Lesiba L. Motsepe, University of South Africa

Dr Lesiba Motsepe is currently a Senior lecturer in the Department of Police Practice. Before joining this department, he served in the South African Police Service (SAPS) for twelve years where he worked as a criminal investigator at Bramley and thereafter moved to Johannesburg Central Fraud Unit in 2004 until 2010. He also served in the military at Engineer Formation. His fields of academic interests are Criminal Investigations, Corporate Fraud Investigations and Policing caseload management. He is a member of Criminological and Victimological Society of South Africa.



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How to Cite

Madzivhandila, C. ., Mofokeng, J., & Motsepe, L. L. (2022). “Why fix it if ain’t broke”: Nature and extent of crime in the railway environment in South Africa. International Journal of Research in Business and Social Science (2147- 4478), 11(4), 375–383. https://doi.org/10.20525/ijrbs.v11i4.1772



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