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Mkhwebane handed damning new info on dire state of Metrorail

In August, the committee asked Busisiwe Mkhwebane's office to intervene and probe issues like arson attacks on trains and unreliable services.

FILE: A Metrorail train on fire in Firgrove, Cape Town. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN - Damning new information presented on the dire state of Metrorail's security infrastructure now sits with the Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.

On Friday morning, a follow-up meeting was held with the Public Protector's office after the Western Cape standing committee on transport was briefed by the South African Police Service this week.

In August, the committee asked Busisiwe Mkhwebane's office to intervene and probe issues like arson attacks on trains and unreliable services.

Committee chairperson Nceba Hinana said: “It is poor management from Prasa, there are mismanagement and a lack of doing what it’s supposed to be done to provide quality service to the commuters.”

‘TRAIN FIRES NOT COINCIDENCE’

At the same time, city officials say Friday's train fires come as no coincidence and must have been orchestrated.

Three train stations have been affected by fires on Friday afternoon in Mbekweni in Paarl, Firgrove near Somerset West and in Cape Town.

Trains from Cape Town to Strand were delayed due to the Firgrove fire, while trains to Wellington and Kraaifontein have been affected by the Mbekweni blaze.

The frustrated commuters at the Cape Town Station say they have had enough of delays.

One commuter said: “I’d rather try the bus on Monday.”

“In the past few weeks, it’s taken about an hour to an hour and a half [to get a bus] which we didn’t budget for,” another one added.

The city's JP Smith was on scene and assessed the damage.

“The timing is just too coincidental for three fires within three hours. No person can get from Wellington to Firgrove to here. So, it’s a group of people because no three fires are going to occur randomly like that.”

Smith says 100 dedicated officers will from Monday be deployed to various train stations.

Metrorail's Zino Mihi said: “There was one trailer that was reported to be on fire and an ambulance was dispatched to the station because there were commuters on board."

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