Arrest of suspect linked to Cape Town train arson welcomed – Dan Plato

Mayor says limited success of arrests have sent the wrong message to would-be perpetrators

Mayor Plato welcomes arrest of suspect linked to Cape Town train arson

23 April 2019 

I welcome the arrest of a suspect linked to the fire that set eight Metrorail carriages alight yesterday, 22 April 2019.

Despite the many incidents of railway arson over the past two years authorities have had very limited success in arresting those responsible for the crippling attacks on the backbone of our public transport system. It has sent the wrong message to would-be perpetrators being that there are no consequences for the destruction of the rail network.

I hope that the law will take its course and that the appropriate punishment will be meted out.

If there are more suspects linked to this act, we hope they are caught and prosecuted as a matter of urgency. Incidents of arson and destruction of public infrastructure in general are serious criminal acts and have a substantial negative impact on our economy.

More than 40 carriages have been burnt in 10 incidents of arson attacks since 2017. This has severely impacted the state of public transport in Cape Town.

Cape Town Central Station has been the target of eight separate arson incidents alone since July 2018.

Those responsible for the management of our rail network must also account to the Cape Town public for the ongoing inaction to protect this essential infrastructure.

We welcome the arrest of the suspect and hope that it will be the first step towards a successful prosecution so that it will set an example to those who destroy trains. The selfish and senseless destruction of public transport infrastructure takes away the only means of transport for thousands of residents.

The City’s enforcement agencies will support and work closely with other security services to bring those responsible to book,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.

As mentioned, I will be inviting the Western Cape Police Commissioner, Lieutenant-General Khombinkosi Jula, as well as the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa and Metrorail management teams to a meeting to provide me with an urgent update on this critical matter and to see where we can increasingly work together to make our rail transport safe. Cape Town’s commuters and public in general need to know that we will still have trains left by the end of the year.

Issued by Greg Wagner, Spokesperson to the Executive Mayor Dan Plato, 23 April 2019