NEWS
20/02/2018 12:55 SAST | Updated 20/02/2018 12:55 SAST

Mother Lays Criminal Charges Against Prasa After Son’s Death

"I'm angry because the train doors were open."

Gallo Images / Beeld / Thapelo Maphakela
One of Prasa's new trains on the track during testing.

The Rail Commuters Action Group (RCAG) on Monday laid criminal charges against the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) at Muizenberg police station, GroundUp has reported.

The charges relate to the death of 19-year-old Keeno Abib on January 13, 2018, between False Bay and Lakeside train stations. An eyewitness said Keeno jumped out of a moving train to evade robbers.

"I'm angry because the train doors were open," said his mother, Shamese Abib, 36, from Steenberg.

"Even if the doors were closed, there were robbers, so his life was still in danger."

"This is not just a statistic. This is not just a case number; it's a person – it's a mother and her son," said Leslie van Minnen, chairperson of the RCAG.

Van Minnen said criminal charges were being laid against all the relevant organs of state involved with transport, the CEOs and the senior managers at Prasa.

"We cannot allow those in authority to constantly get away with this. There has to be accountability and responsibility."

Abib said that the ticket officers don't check tickets, and there is no access control.

Van Minnen said the safety situation on Metrorail's trains has been persisting for years and is not improving.

"This is my breaking point after 17 years. Now we have to do something constructive."

'Keeno panicked, and he jumped'

Clinton Dyers, 20, from Muizenberg, was a good friend of Keeno and was with him when he jumped. He got off at the next station and ran back to where Keeno lay. He was dead – his death caused by "blunt trauma", according to the ambulance report.

Dyers said that he and Keeno had tried earlier unsuccessfully to close the door. He said Keeno was standing at the door, keeping children away from danger, when the men approached him.

He said two men approached Keeno.

"When that guy approached him, the other guy also stood up and gestured towards his hip [indicating he had a weapon]," said Dyers. "I would say Keeno panicked, and he jumped."

Abib said Keeno matriculated last year from Heathfield High School and applied to study civil engineering at False Bay College.

He is survived by two younger brothers, 11 and 14.

Abib said that although she does not use the trains anymore, her 14-year-old son still uses them to get to school.

"He has to, because other methods are too expensive, and he also chooses to be with his friends. All of them take the train."

According to Lieutenant-colonel Maggie Rossouw, the acting station commander at Muizenberg police station, charges have been filed and an investigation will start immediately.

Riana Scott, spokesperson for Metrorail, said Metrorail had not yet been formally notified of the charges, but would fully cooperate with the police investigation.