Cape Town – Last Friday six Metrorail coaches were destroyed after being set alight at the Mbekweni, Firgrove and Cape Town stations in what is alleged to be arson attacks. Services are expected to be delayed by 60 minutes on the affected lines due to fewer coaches available.
Mayco member for safety and security JP Smith said that a rail enforcement unit will be established by the middle of the month. As from today, it is expected that about 100 officers will be deployed to monitor train stations for any potential threats.
Regional manager for Metrorail Richard Walker estimated the damage at approximately R100 million. Walker’s fear is that it is losing coaches faster than it is able to replace it, especially as they were mostly motor coaches that are needed to make up a set.
Mayco member for transport and urban development Brett Herron raised his concerns about the losses in coaches, as the system is already operating at a fraction of the capacity it needs to cater for. Herron feels that the attacks were purposefully done to damage the infrastructure. A reward of R25 000 has been put out to anyone who has information about the attacks.
Chairperson for the Transport Portfolio Committee Dikeledi Magadzi reported that they will be meeting with the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa to discuss the strategies that will be used to deal with the crisis.