Transport Minister Dipuo Peters on Monday condemned the burning of 19 Metrorail train coaches at the Salt River depot in Cape Town. The coaches were set alight on Sunday afternoon, forcing Metrorail technicians to work through the night to get replacements. According to Peters, the arson caused the loss of five train trips, inconveniencing 9000 commuters.
“The Western Cape rolling stock team is currently preparing unaffected coaches, and out of the burnt sets two trains will be prepared for the commuters.”
The loss would cost the Passenger Rail Agency of SA millions of rands, she said. The alleged arsonist was caught on site with gloves, goggles, a lighter, and three laptop computers allegedly stolen from the depot.
Police said the 29-year old man would appear in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday on a charge of malicious damage to property.
Western Cape transport MEC Donald Grant said courts had to send a message that criminal acts against the state would not be tolerated.
“My department continues to work closely with Metrorail on a number of issues relating to their service, and has provided funding to support their efforts in addressing security issues at some of their stations though our scramblers and high mast lighting project,” he said. SAPA