Caught on CCTV: Suspect arrested for R33m train inferno in Cape Town

23 April 2019 - 07:33 By TimesLIVE
Metrorail trains. File photo.
Metrorail trains. File photo.
Image: Gallo Images/Rapport/Roger Sedres

Police have confirmed the arrest of a suspect in connection with a fire at a Cape Town station that destroyed two train sets worth an estimated R33m.

Western Cape Transport MEC Donald Grant confirmed earlier that CCTV cameras had captured images of two people at the scene of the blaze on Sunday.

“Investigations into the circumstances of a malicious damage to property case where several train carriages were extensively damaged during a fire at Cape Town railway station [on Sunday] led to the arrest of a suspect,” said police spokesperson Lt-Col Andrè Traut.

“A 30-year-old resident of Khayelitsha was detained by police after he was apprehended by Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa officials. Surveillance footage was used to identify the suspect, who is scheduled to make a court appearance in the Cape Town magistrates’ court once he has been charged. The possibility of more arrests is not ruled out,” he added.

Transport minister Blade Nzimande condemned the incident, calling on law enforcement authorities to “urgently investigate and arrest perpetrators of this unfortunate, senseless and well-orchestrated destruction of property through acts of criminality and sabotage of Metrorail".

“It is now undeniable that there is a sinister force at work trying to destroy our rail system,” he said.

Commuters are feeling the knock-on effect of the blaze, which means there are fewer passenger trains running in the city. The fire also resulted in the closure of two stations in Cape Town.

Since 2015, 214 train carriages have been set alight in SA in apparent arson attacks. Many of these incidents happened in Cape Town. But who is responsible? What is their motivation? And how has Prasa responded? We try to find out who is turning Cape Town’s railways into a fiery hell.


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