Attacks on CT trains cost Metrorail R93m

The latest incident occurred at the weekend when a train was set alight near Paarl.

FILE: Five carriages caught alight at Retreat station on Thursday 27 July 2018. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Metrorail has put the cost of damages caused by train fires in Cape Town over the past several months at R93 million.

The latest incident occurred at the weekend when a train was set alight near Paarl.

At least five carriages were gutted and no arrests have been made yet.

There have been least eight train fires in the Western Cape since January.

According to Metrorail, arson is to blame for the latest incident.

The train was stationed between Dal Josafat and Huguenot after experiencing technical problems on Friday night; it was then set alight.

The estimated damages are around R19 million.

“Since the beginning of 2018, Metrorail has suffered a loss of more than R93 million due to train fires,” says Metrorail spokesperson Zinho Mihi.

Western Cape Premier Helen Zille announced earlier in September that officers will be deployed to the city’s new Rail Enforcement Unit as of October in a bid to ensure commuter and staff safety.

Seventy-one officers will be deployed to the central line.

At the same time, the United National Transport Union (Untu) is threatening to strike if the safety of their members is not guaranteed.

This comes after a group of people tried to set fire to a railway station in Umlazi, Durban, on Friday.

Untu says its members were also threatened.

Deputy general secretary at Untu Sonja Carstens says: “We can’t send our members to work when their safety can't be guaranteed. We’ve demanded that they are escorted by armed guards.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)