South Africa: Train Arson - Residents Urged to Have Say in Western Cape Police Ombudsman's Probe

Western Cape residents have until Thursday to have their say on how effectively the South African Police Service is dealing with train arson.

The provincial police ombudsman Major General Johan Brand was leading the investigation into the alleged inability of the police in the Cape Peninsula to prevent, combat, investigate and make arrests in cases of damage to rail infrastructure.

In the latest incident, firefighters rushed to extinguish a passenger train that was on fire between the Kentemade and Century City stations on Saturday evening.

Metrorail spokesperson Riana Scott said on Tuesday that arson was suspected.

Three MetroPlus carriages and a motor coach were damaged in the blaze, but it was not yet clear how much repairs or replacements would cost.

Earlier this month, News24 asked newly appointed provincial police commissioner Lieutenant General Yolisa Matakata to comment on the train arson and what her strategy was for dealing with it.

In response, she said: "I have not yet been appraised of what has happened in terms of investigations in that regard, but I have been following the criticism in the province in terms of us being able to contain or arrest people that have been involved in the burning of trains."

Matakata said she would look at the progress of current investigations and what needed to be done, while also tackling visibility and working with other stakeholders, such as on-site security companies.

"It's important that we find a way of how do we collaborate in addressing the problem," she said.

Western Cape Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz said on Tuesday that railway infrastructure was "on the verge of collapse".

"This is a deliberate attack on our railway infrastructure, and on the livelihoods and wellbeing of our people. Solutions must be found which ensure that perpetrators are successfully arrested and convicted by SAPS," he said.

Source: News24

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