NEWS & ANALYSIS

Another train burning at Cape Town station - Brett Herron

Brett Herron says that over the past three years more than 140 carriages have been lost to arson

Another train burning at Cape Town station

I have been alerted that a train carriage was extensively damaged during a fire at Platform 2 at Cape Town station shortly after 14:00 this afternoon, 28 September 2018. The train was stationary at the time of the fire.

This is the third reported fire of a carriage today.

The cause of the fire is still being investigated. I am extremely concerned about this incident as our urban rail system is already operating at a fraction of the capacity it needs to service commuter demand. Over the past three years we have lost more than 140 carriages to arson.

I call on the South African Police Service to investigate this incident as a matter of urgency. Our commuter rail system is under relentless attack, and it is our most vulnerable citizens who are the worst affected by the declining rail service. This has a huge impact on our local economy and also affects other Capetonians.

I have said before that there appears to be a well-orchestrated and sinister force at work to destroy our very fragile but essential rail service. A total collapse of our Metrorail service is a prospect too ghastly to contemplate.

The City and the Western Cape Provincial Government have stepped forward to assist with the establishment of a dedicated rail enforcement unit. We did so because Metrorail commuters are our residents and their livelihoods depend on a safe, functional, and efficient rail service.

I once again call on the National Minister of Transport, Mr Blade Nzimande, to take immediate action to arrest this situation. I want to know whether the minister has considered taking a declaration of disaster or emergency to cabinet?

All spheres of government must work together in securing our common future and well-being.

Statement issued by Councillor Brett Herron, Mayoral Committee Member for Transport and Urban Development, City of Cape Town, 28 September 2018