Durban – A Metrorail train driver has been hailed as a hero after he was stabbed while rescuing four female passengers from armed robbers on Tuesday morning.
Francois Gouws, 54, was stabbed twice in his left hand by several armed robbers who made their way onto the train between the Durban and Berea stations in KwaZulu-Natal.
He acted swiftly when he realised that commuters were under attack by several robbers who had taken advantage of the opportunity to board the train when it stopped at a red signal.
Gouws, who is in a Durban hospital, told a representative of his United National Transport Union (UNTU) that he was in “terrible pain”.
“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 told a union representative.
‘Prasa has to protect employees, commuters’
Sonja Carstens of UNTU said that this incident could be avoided if there was more security provided. She said robbers frequently jump onto trains and rob passengers, reported News24.
Carstens said Metrorail intended to build a wall worth R68m, but that this would not stop criminals.
“They will break down that wall. What we need is something similar to what Bombela has done where they have concrete fences and security patrolling. When [Gouws] was attacked, there was no security in sight,” she said, adding that the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) has to protect its employees and commuters.
Carstens said in a statement that UNTU had initiated legal action against PRASA, who in turn have said that the responsibility to protect workers lies with the police.
Carstens said that Gouws was still in hospital undergoing X-ray examinations to determine if doctors will need to operate on his left hand, as there is a fear that some of his nerves might have been damaged. News24