The prototype of a planned new fleet for Metrorail, which President Cyril Ramaphosa recently attended the launch of, was not damaged during a blaze on Sunday at Cape Town train station.
The blue and white prototypes of trains, expected to replace the ageing sets, stood undamaged near the entrance to the station where two trains went up in flames.
Fire services spokesperson Jermaine Carelse said a total of 8 carriages were destroyed – four carriages on platform 13 and another four on platform 14.
He explained that three fire engines, a water tanker and a rescue vehicle were sent to the station just before 16:00 to contain the fire.
There were no injuries reported and the cause of the fire is not known yet.
Carelse said an investigation into possible arson will be left up to the SA Police Services and the Passenger Rail Services of SA.
The ANC in the Western Cape described the incident as “sabotage” and urged the police to swiftly arrest those responsible.
“These trains belong to the nation of South Africa. Setting them on fire is a crime against the people. There is nothing to justify such a crime,” said ANC Western Cape secretary Faiez Jacobs in a statement.
“The perpetrators should be charged, brought to court, convicted and given the maximum prison sentences that can be imposed for these crimes. A clear message must be sent out that our nation will not allow sabotage to go unpunished.”
Huge palls of black smoke spread throughout the city centre, carried by strong winds with the smell of burnt plastic and rubber permeating in the air.
Two Metrorail trains caught fire on Easter Sunday just before 4pm at the Cape Town Railway Station destroying ten carriages and two motor coaches amounting to R36 million.
Cape Town Transport and Safety MEC Donald Grant speaks to CapeTalk’s Africa Melane about the state of the investigation.
He confirms there is CCTV footage of suspects.
We have some video footage of a person with another person on the scene at the time who were then apprehended by security, and who then ran away.
Donald Grant, Transport and Safety MEC, Western Cape Provincial Administration, says this is now a police matter and Saps are looking for the suspects.
After a long period of train attacks, prior to the incident, he says the province had had six months incident-free. it had built up 57 functional train sets towards the target of 60.
“We have to find out who these people were.”
While it is now a police matter, Grant says he intends taking it further with the transport minister.
“I intend to escalate it further with Minister Nzimande who I am seeing later this week.”
A billion rands worth of public transport assets has been lost since October 2015.
“Until we get to the root cause we will continue to throw public money at the situation.”
Source; Cape Talk