From the news desk

Metrorail offers reward for info on ‘orchestrated sabotage’ of trains

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Metrorail Western Cape on Monday offered a R100 000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the people behind the torching of 25 of its carriages and a station this year.

“Investigations and intelligence point to orchestrated sabotage within the Western Cape rail network, causing millions of rand in damage,” Metrorail said in a statement.

This follows the torching of another six coaches on Sunday at Cape Town station.

The company said that over the past year it had lost the equivalent of four full train sets, and the Mbekweni station building was set on fire in April.

Regional manager Richard Walker said: “We will guarantee full anonymity of the source, but the information must be sufficient to secure a conviction.

“Setting fire to railway infrastructure is inexcusable sabotage. Every incident further reduces Metrorail’s ability to offer its users a reliable, safe and convenient service. The harder we work to modernise the rail industry, the more these incidents undermine the train users and public confidence in the Western Cape train service,” he said.

“Employers are exasperated with their work force arriving late or not at all; leading to unnecessary disciplinary sanctions and in some cases even job losses.

“In the Western Cape, the overwhelming bulk of public transport users travel by train and any loss of capacity to transport them impacts negatively on the productivity of industry and on the economic well-being of the province.”

He said he hoped the new Criminal Matters Amendment Act would be a deterrent, with its stricter bail conditions and harsher sentences.

The Western Cape operated 698 trains every weekday, 360 trains on Saturdays and 225 trains on Sundays.

The loss of the six at the weekend meant that they had a limited ability to replace sets which had mechanical problems. News24

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