A total of 18 train carriages were gutted by yesterday morning’s train fires, and the damages are estimated to come to R61-million. As evidence of accelerants was found when the Passenger Rail Agency (Prasa), the train fires have now been labelled an arson attack.

Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula paid a visit to the Cape Town Railway Station yesterday after the damage was assessed, and revealed that CCTV caught footage of four perpetrators who are behind the incident.

He has declined to elaborate on the identities of the suspects.

“We are under no illusion that the recent cancellation of security contracts by Prasa is a contributing element to the heightened lawlessness,” Mbalula said to IOL. “Some of these acts of criminality are staged in order to force Prasa’s hand to continue with an arrangement that was not only found irregular by the auditor-general and the public protector, but one that has exposed Prasa to inside jobs.”

According to the Minister, the suspects must be charged with not only arson, but economic sabotage.

“Police must do their job to find them working with Prasa security and so on. Anyone who did this trash here has been positively identified and will be found,” he said. “When we catch these ones, we want to say to them they must bring their bosses. This lawlessness must end.”

Mbalula said authorities must intensify their efforts in protecting rail infrastructure.

“Our intention is to upgrade and ensure that we deal with security issues,” he said.

Picture: Supplied/City of Cape Town

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