MetroRail train arson suspect arrested


23 April 2019


A man, suspected to have been one of the people identified in the CCTV footage taken at Cape Town station, where Metrorail train coaches were gutted by fire, has been arrested.


At the time of the incident, which happened on Sunday afternoon, PRASA reported that 12 coaches, comprising of 2 motor coaches and 10 plain trailers, were destroyed by fire and that the damage was estimated to be R33m.

Initial investigations pointed to arson as the cause of the train fire.


A day after the incident, Minister of Transport, Dr. Blade Nzimande issued a statement condemning the burning of the two trains and called upon law enforcement agencies to conduct a full investigation behind what he called sinister forces who are determined to undermine the effort of the ruling party in transforming rail passenger travel.


The man, who has been arrested, was spotted at Platform 19 yesterday at Cape Town station and fitted the identikit one of the suspect shown through CCTV footages the time of the incident. He was apprehended by PRASA Security and handed over to Cape Town Central SAPS investigators.


Commenting on the arrest of the suspect, the Group CEO, Dr. Nkosinathi Sishi, said: “As PRASA we welcome the swift action by the law enforcement agencies that has led to the arrest of this individual. We truly hope that his arrest will lead us to the actual forces that are behind what has been a sustained attack and destruction of the country’s assets, particularly the only mode of transport that is affordable to the majority of our people”.

Dr. Sishi said the sinister forces are not going to deter PRASA from its programme of rolling out a dignified service that will ensure that rail returns to its former glory and re-attains its position as a mode of choice for the daily commuters.


Dr Sishi further stated that the burning of the 12 coaches happens at the time when the Western Cape has increased its available train sets from 39 trains in December 2018 to 56 trains with a further increase to 60 trains sets by mid-April 2019. In addition, he said the Western Cape has recently received two new trail trains as part of the next phase of new train deployments along with a R 9.1 billion capital funding allocation to fund the Western Cape’s rail infrastructure upgrades.


Further details will be provided as more information is obtained from the law enforcement authorities.


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